WNBL team the Bendigo Spirit has confirmed it will play two games at the Mildura Sporting Precinct (MSP) in coming months, adding to the blockbuster calendar of events at the precinct this year.
The Spirit will play a pre-season exhibition hit out against the Sunraysia Petroleum CBL Heat Men on 8 October, followed by a game against Adelaide Lightning for WNBL premiership points two months later, on 10 December.
Bendigo Spirit will also host a number of community events in the lead up to the 10 December game.
Councillor for Recreation and Events Mark Eckel said the two games would further cement the MSP’s position as one of regional Australia’s premier sporting precincts.
“There aren’t too many regional centres in Australia that could boast visits by two national sporting codes and an international rock act in the space of a few weeks, but this is what the Mildura Sporting Precinct is delivering for our region,” Cr Eckel said.
He said the two visits by the Bendigo Spirit would not only generate excitement within the thriving local basketball community, but showcase the MSP to a national audience via live television coverage.
“For our community, and particularly local basketballers, getting to watch the very biggest names in their sport play live in their own town, as well as meeting the players while they’re here, is something they’ll remember for a long time,” Cr Eckel said.
“From a marketing perspective, having the 10 December game live-streamed nationally will show what our region, and our precinct, has to offer in terms of successfully hosting national-calibre sporting events.
“This will build on the live Channel 7 television coverage of the AFLW game in October.”
Bendigo Spirit Head Coach Kennedy Kereama said he and his team were looking forward to bringing WNBL-standard basketball to the Mildura region.
“A large contingent of our playing group are regional Victorian players so getting out is a huge focus for us from that standpoint,” Mr Kereama said.
“It’s also an important component in growing the brand and being able to take the wonderful sport of basketball at this level to other parts of regional Victoria. The players really enjoy taking the sport elsewhere and growing the brand of basketball.
“I’ve been to Mildura before, it’s a great town and the players are looking forward to getting out in the community, making connections, meeting as many different people as we can and expanding our member base within regional Victoria.”
Mildura Basketball Association Director of Participation and Development Mahaela Jackson said the Bendigo Spirit’s upcoming visits represented a great opportunity for the entire basketball community.
“It’s fantastic to have the Bendigo Spirit coming to Mildura. It’s not only a great opportunity for our local basketballers to see a team of this calibre in action, but also our coaches, officials, and administrators to see national level operations and game delivery,” Ms Jackson said.
“An event such as this is also a great opportunity to promote our great sport and build our brand throughout our region and beyond.
“We look forward to working with the Bendigo Spirit over the coming weeks to see what activities can be available for Mildura Basketball and surrounding Association members throughout the team’s visits to our region.”
Cr Eckel said close to 1,000 spectators are expected to take in the clash between Bendigo Spirit and Adelaide Lightning in December. Details on tickets, including corporate packages, will be available closer to the date.