BALLARAT's newest indoor stadium has locked in five state level junior basketball championships for the next three years.
This certainty, without the need to tender for the tournaments each year, will allow greater flexibility for Basketball Ballarat to make a play for more major events at Ballarat Sports and Events Centre.
Basketball Ballarat, which manages the centre, is already in talks with National Basketball League club Melbourne United and Women's National Basketball League club Bendigo Spirit for game time. Both clubs have long been strong supporters of the BSEC project.
Negotiations are also under way with Netball Victoria and Basketball Australia for a series of exhibition games, camps and regional, state and national championships in the next three years.
Basketball Ballarat chief executive officer Peter Eddy said securing the tournaments was great validation for community support the investment from City of Ballarat and state and federal governments in the stadium redevelopment.
It's one thing for us to say we can host major events in the stadium but another to have the various bodies working with us.
"We know the stadium's going to be great for community use and that's going to happen. We're really excited we're going to have the marriage of major events and community courts," Mr Eddy said.
"Once it's acknowledged we're back able to host major events in Ballarat, we're hoping to work with others and look to hosting other major indoor sports."
BSEC is on schedule for an early July completion. Final fit-outs are underway. Showcourt rings were installed on Monday.
The $24 million stadium will play host to the Australian under-14 club championships from September 30.
Basketball Victoria has this week confirmed the under-16 and 18 country divisions three and four championships will be played at the BSEC and nearby Minerdome from 2020-22. This adds to under-14 country championships next year and under-12s in 2022.
The game's state body has made a move to lock in tournaments at major regional hubs, including Bendigo and Traralgon in a bid to help build tournaments and ease access for players and families.
Six new indoor courts will allow greater flexibility and more centralised play for hosting major tournaments, like Basketball Ballarat's annual Queen's Birthday tournament that is set to host more than 250 teams for the upcoming long weekend.
City of Ballarat deputy mayor Jim Rinaldi said the latest tournament additions proved investment in the facility was already generating a significant return for Ballarat.
"Ballarat Sports Events Centre is not only a terrific community facility for a range of local indoors sports, it also enables our city to attract a range of events that will have a significant impact on our local economy," Cr Rinaldi said.
"...Hundreds of players and their families, support staff and officials from across Victoria will converge on Ballarat. That means hundreds of thousands of dollars driven into our accommodation, hospitality, and retail sectors."
WHAT'S IN THE NEW STADIUM?
- Stage one works on BSEC, under Nicholson Construction, are on track for an early July completion.
- The $24 million development will add six indoor courts, including a 3000-seat showcourt, to the existing two-court site.
- This stadium will become the training base for Ballarat's Miners and Rush basketball programs, including the NBL1 teams, which have long been forced to train in school gyms due to limited court space.
- Miners and Rush will move their NBL1 home games to the stadium next year, choosing to play out this season at the Minerdome.
- A further $5.2 million stage two development will add four three-on-three (street ball) courts., strength and conditioning centre and new skin for the existing building.
- Space for regional hub bases for major indoor sporting bodies.
Patience for annual Queen's Birthday junior tournament
Basketball Ballarat is preparing to host 254 teams for its annual three-day junior tournament at the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
The tournament has a waiting list in some division, despite some clubs opting to play elsewhere the past few years due to increasing pressure for court space.
Basketball Ballarat events manager Mark Valentine was confident having the BSEC in action next year would help reinstate Ballarat as the place to play for the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
Mr Valentine said six new courts at the stadium would help to improve the tournament quality and experience with more players under one roof.
This year's event will be played on 19 courts across nine venues, including a number of one and two-court spaces.
More than 3000 juniors from across the state are set to play in the tournament which injects an estimated $1.5 million into the Ballarat economy each year.
Events manager Mark Valentine said he felt an obligation to build on the success of past events for Ballarat.
"It's hard to imagine any other event delivering so many bed nights into the city in the middle of June not only this year but for the past 47 yearsm" Mr Valentine said.
South Australian club Woodville and South Gippsland club Foster have entered the 48th annual tournament for the first time.
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