Melbourne United look set to relocate its home games to regional Victoria if the club can‘t use John Cain Arena due to a clash with the Australian Open tennis.
Less than a month out from the start of the NBL season, United still doesn’t have a venue for early home games.
Melbourne remains hopeful of using John Cain Arena, formerly known as Melbourne Arena, for the first five rounds of the season from January 10 but are awaiting official confirmation around scheduling with the Australian Open tennis.
The world’s first tennis major starts on February 8, but the tournament could require early access to venues like John Cain Arena to fulfil quarantine obligations.
This would prompt United to take its home games to a basketball heartland like regional Victoria.
Melbourne United look set to relocate games to regional Victoria. Picture: AAP Image/Scott Barbour.Source:AAP
It comes as Melbourne’s cross-town rivals, the South East Melbourne Phoenix, will play their first two home games at the State Basketball Centre against the Hawks and Brisbane.
The Phoenix welcome the Hawks on January 14 at 7.30pm in their home opener, while the second home game is also at the State Basketball Centre against the Bullets on January 24 with tip off at 5pm.
The location of the team‘s third home game on February 3 against the Hawks is still to be confirmed.
Phoenix CEO Tommy Greer is grateful that his side can make their State Basketball Centre their home.
“We’re excited to be rewarding our members and fans with a game in the Heartland to open our assault on the NBL21 title,” Greer said.
“What better way to celebrate the return of basketball than by playing our first home game in front of the best fans in Australia in the Heartland at the State Basketball Centre.”
The NBL has announced the times for the first 39 games of the 2020-21 season.
The season will tip off on Sunday, January 10 with the Throwdown between United and the Phoenix at 5pm AEDT.
The blockbuster opening round will feature a rematch of last year’s NBL Grand Final as the reigning champions Perth Wildcats take on the Sydney Kings at RAC Arena on Friday, January 15.
The NBL has released the first five rounds of what will be a rolling schedule for the season.
A total of 39 games will be played over the first 37 days of the season in front of fans across Australia.
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