The Kings, who will return to the NBL after a two-year absence, will face long-time rivals the Melbourne Tigers on the road in a classic Sydney-Melbourne confrontation on Opening Night at the State Netball Hockey Centre (AKA ‘The Cage’).
Ironically, the last time the Kings played a game in the NBL they went up against the Tigers before a capacity crowd of 10,244 people at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in a deciding Game Five of the 2008 NBL Grand Final series.
The Kings will play in front of their home fans at ‘The Kingdome’ (the Sydney Entertainment Centre) for the first time since that match back on 14 March 2008 when they return to Sydney on Saturday 16 October to host the New Zealand Breakers in their home opener. That will see the Kings end a 927-day absence from the competition.
In other Round One matches:
- Last season’s surprise packets and runners-up the Wollongong Hawks will host the Gold Coast Blaze on Opening Night at the WIN Entertainment Centre;
- The Cairns Taipans will visit their archrivals the Townsville Crocodiles on Saturday 16 October at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre (‘The Swamp’)’
- Reigning champions the Perth Wildcats will begin their quest for a repeat on the road against traditional rivals the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday 17 October at The Dome.
The Wildcats will unfurl their 2010 Championship banner for the first time in Round Three at their home opener on Friday 29 October. Fittingly, the Wildcats’ opponent that night at Challenge Stadium (‘The Jungle’) will be the team they beat to win the title, the Wollongong Hawks, making the game the first Grand Final rematch of the season.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock said the schedule was a marked improvement on recent years and should have fans looking forward to the new season’s tip-off on October 15.
“We feel this is the best schedule we’ve had in many years, and the fans will directly benefit from the work we’ve done to get it right, “said Sengstock. “We’ve liaised closely with all nine clubs to maximize our opportunities to have themed rounds and regular marquee match-ups.
“Our focus this year is very much on having games on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” Sengstock added. “That’s great for families and is right in line with the feedback we have been receiving from fans. We also have managed to increase the average time between games, which mean our athletes will be fresher. That should have a positive impact on the standard of play that fans see.”
The schedule, which features nine teams each playing 28 games (14 home, 14 away), will run over 25 rounds with the regular season concluding on Saturday2 April.
The 2011 Finals will once again see the top four teams qualify for the post-season, with one playing four and two playing three in best-of-three Semi Finals. The Grand Final will once again be a best-of-three.
The 2010/11 NBL season will be seen nationally on Network Ten’s digital sports channel ONE after Basketball Australia recently signed a new five-year deal to show games through to the end of the 2014/15 NBL season.