he scene is set for Sunraysia’s historic first ever WNBL game next month when the Mildura Sporting Precinct (MSP) hosts the Bendigo Spirit and Adelaide Lightning on 10 December.
Tickets are now on sale for the landmark game, which is expected to draw about 1,000 spectators to the precinct.
Councillor for Recreation and Events Mark Eckel said the history-making event, which would be televised live on 9Now, was a unique opportunity for local basketball fans to see the sport’s elite players in action without leaving the district.
“Next month’s WNBL game really shows the benefits of having a facility like this in our own town,” Cr Eckel said.
“On one hand, it’s hosting about 7,500 patrons on a weekly basis for local sport and community events, but then shifts up a gear to host major events like the upcoming game between Bendigo Spirit and Adelaide Lighting, which is really going to be a sporting spectacle for our region.
“Importantly, the fact it’s on the WNBL calendar and televised live nationally tells the rest of the country we have a venue ready and waiting to host events of this calibre, which is great promotion for our region.”
Cr Eckel said it would also be powerful promotion for what is already a very strong local basketball following in our region.
“We already have a very active and growing local basketball scene, but being able to see the sport’s elite players in action, and meet and talk to them, will add further inspiration and encourage even more locals to take up this burgeoning sport,” he said.
Bendigo Spirit General Manager David Ingham said his team were primed for a return to the Mildura Sporting Precinct.
“Our players and coaching staff look forward to returning to Mildura and playing in the wonderful Mildura Sporting Precinct Stadium,” Mr Ingham said.
“After our pre-season game in Mildura, our players have an excellent feel for the stadium, and we hope to take advantage of our knowledge of this new facility.
“Our players and coaching staff really enjoyed our visit to Mildura in October and are looking forward to putting on some great entertainment for the Mildura community.”
Mildura Basketball Association General Manager Natasha Smallwood said the event would be a great way to inspire players, particularly the numerous new players who have joined the sport since moving to the MSP this year.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the entire local basketball community to see first-hand the calibre of play and professionalism at our sport’s elite level,” Ms Smallwood said.
“And for those new to basketball, I can’t think of a better introduction to showcase the professionalism, athleticism and sheer entertainment our sport is capable of.
“Our girl’s program has grown immensely this year and it is a great opportunity for them to see what may be possible.
“With 1,000 seated spectators on the showcourt next month, this will provide a look into the very near future of what we can expect once we finalise our seating requirements for Mildura Heat games at the precinct.”
Cr Eckel said next month’s WNBL game would cap off what has been a string of successful major events at the precinct in the past six weeks, most recently hosting the hugely successful Kings of Leon performance, which attracted more than 10,000 people, and the AFWL game between Richmond and GWS Giants.
“As we mark roughly 12 months since the first stage of the Mildura Sporting Precinct opened, I think it’s safe to say it’s more than delivered everything it promised in terms of fostering growth in local sports and participation, as well as attracting and host major events,” he said.
Tickets are available now at https://bit.ly/SpiritVLightning or can be purchased at the gate on the night unless sold-out beforehand. Spectators are encouraged to buy tickets early to avoid missing out.
Gates open at 6.30pm ahead of the start of play at 7.30pm.
Tickets are $26.50 for adults and $16.50 for concession card holders and those 18 and under.
VIP packages are also available for $150, providing a cocktail-style experience including a food and drinks package along with guest speakers.