Bendigo, Melbourne and Southside Flyers will head to Queensland to battle it out for the WNBL title.
Basketball Australia today announced that through an innovative partnership with the Queensland Government, the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season will be contested entirely in a North Queensland hub later this year.
The Queensland Government’s support along with that of the Cairns Regional Council, Mackay Regional Council and the City of Townsville, will see Cairns, Mackay and Townsville host a revised season structure from November 12.
Each team will contest 14 games as part of a 56-game regular season fixture, plus a four game final series (2 x semi-finals, preliminary final and grand final).
The revised season model will see all eight WNBL teams relocate to North Queensland to contest the 2020 season, which will be played over a condensed six-week format with the Grand Final scheduled for Sunday 20 December.
“Major events are an important part of my Government’s strategy to continue rebuilding and growing our economy and to support local jobs,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “The tourism and events sectors throughout our state have done it tough this year.
“Major sporting events pump millions of dollars into local businesses.
“Securing the WNBL is a great win for the whole of North Queensland and a dream come true for basketball fans in the region.”
This announcement means the WNBL season will tip-off as originally planned, which signals the commencement of an exciting three-year period for Australian women’s basketball that includes the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 and hosting the FIBA 2022 Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter AM said that everyone connected with the league was excited and grateful to have the backing of the Queensland Government.
“The support from the Queensland Government ensures we are able to deliver the season in 2020, providing a stage for Australia’s best established and emerging talent to contest the 41st edition of Australia’s longest-running elite women’s sporting competition, the Chemist Warehouse WNBL,” Rechter said.
“On behalf of Basketball Australia, the WNBL clubs, players, coaches, officials, members and fans, I would like to thank Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Kate Jones for their visionary support of women’s basketball in Australia.
“Basketball Australia has been working in partnership with the eight club owners via their participation and collaboration on the WNBL Commission since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We all agreed it was critical to deliver the season and ensure the league puts a much-needed smile on the face of our fans and members, maintains the growth of women’s basketball throughout Australia, and continues to inspire future generations of players, coaches and officials.
“All of this as basketball finds itself on the doorstep of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics where the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals are eyeing glory again and, just twelve months later, the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup will be hosted by Sydney.”
Mackay Basketball Stadium will hold eight games, Cairns Pop-Up Arena will showcase 20 games, with a combined 32 games to be played at Townville Stadium and Townsville Entertainment Centre, including the entire final series.
Athletes, coaches, officials and other required personnel associated with the league from areas identified as ‘hotspots’ will this month arrive in Brisbane and undertake the 14-day quarantine period before relocating to North Queensland. During the quarantine period, teams and referees will have controlled access to training facilities at Nissan Arena in Brisbane.
Basketball Australia Head of Women in Basketball Lauren Jackson AO paid tribute to league stakeholders, including Club General Managers for their hands-on involvement in working groups over recent months, as all parties sought solutions to deliver the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season against the challenges presented by COVID-19.
“The passion and commitment of all involved in the league and their unwavering love of Australian basketball are the core reasons why players, coaches, officials and club staff will be making significant sacrifices to ensure the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season is contested.
“The WNBL is one of the world’s best elite basketball leagues and we have such depth in talent within Australian women’s basketball,” Jackson said. “The 2020 season plays a pivotal role in preparing the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals for two important global tournaments and I want to thank all parties for the selfless and big picture approach in wanting to ensure the season went ahead.”
The 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season fixture, broadcast details and ticketing information will be announced later this month.