NBL New Year's bonanza a success

NBL New Year's bonanza a success

The NBL's four-game bonanza on New Year's Eve has been adjudged a resounding success by the public, with all four teams that hosted games on 31 December recording season-high crowd attendance figures.

The NBL first introduced New Year’s Eve games as a regular feature of the fixture back in 1998.  This season for the first time in NBL history every team in the league played a game on New Year’s Eve, with over seventeen thousand fans flocking to help their team welcome in 2010. 

The Wollongong ‘ahm’ Hawks attracted a season-high 4,088 fans to their New Year’s Eve clash with the ‘Hood Sweeney’ Adelaide 36ers.  It was also the largest ever New Year’s Eve crowd for the Hawks, surpassing the previous best of 3,620 set against the South Dragons on 31 December 2006.

The ‘Skytrans’ Cairns Taipans also recorded their highest attendance of the season thus far on New Year’s Eve, with 4,369 fans flocking to the Cairns Convention Centre to see their match against Melbourne.  That equated to a 13% increase on the size of the crowd the Taipans attracted to their New Year’s Eve game last season (3,853). 

The Townsville ‘McDonald’s’ Crocodiles drew a season-high 4,684 members of the ‘Croc Nation’ to ‘The Swamp’ for their New Year’s Eve celebrations while the Gold Coast Blaze also recorded a season-best crowd of 3,872 for their game against the New Zealand Breakers on the same night.  The Blaze’s crowd was a huge 73% increase in attendance over their New Year’s Eve game last season (2,233) while the Crocs’ crowd was also up on their previous December 31 game (4,644).

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Larry Sengstock said the strong attendance figures for all four games clearly showed the NBL had established New Year’s Eve games as a popular part of the league’s calendar.

“New Year’s Eve NBL games were introduced as a ground-breaking part of the Australian sporting calendar over a decade ago and their growing popularity with our fans has established them as a firm part of our plans for the future,” said Sengstock.  “The crowds that packed our arenas to see our teams in action on December 31 this season were fantastic and all of our teams were thrilled with the response they received from the public.

“It’s vital to the healthy of any major league to establish traditional fixtures around major in-season holidays.  Cricket has the Boxing Day test, football has the ANZAC Day clash, and basketball has firmly established New Year’s Eve as a date for NBL fans to circle on their calendars.  December 31 games will continue to be an important part of the NBL in the future.”

By Marc Howard for Basketball Australia