The Melbourne Boomers continue to look for new ways to connect and engage with fans as they take aim at setting a new WNBL attendance record at the State Basketball Centre when they host cross-town rivals, the ladder-leading Dandenong Rangers, in their Australia Day eve clash.
On January 25 the State Basketball Centre will also play host to the first CLB3X3 event to be held in Melbourne in 2017 as part of their Aussie Summer Series that will cater for all ages, with the final set to be played at half time of the WNBL blockbuster. With age groups ranging from U13 through to over 30s and all abilities, each participant will be provided with a ticket to the Boomers versus Rangers contest.
The initiative follows the outstanding success of the Melbourne Derby last season where the Boomers attracted a crowd of 2,490 people. With the venue set now also set to be flooded with CLB3X3 participants in addition to being supported by Basketball Victoria, Boomers General Manager Justin Nelson is forecasting an even larger crowd this time around.
“I think we hit the mark last season and have discovered a night that can truly belong to the WNBL during a busy Summer sports calendar,” said Nelson, adding, “We want this to be the biggest game each year in the WNBL, a celebration of women’s basketball and a great way for people to come together and show their support.”
Starting from 9am, the FIBA endorsed CLB3X3 tournament enables all players and teams to earn points through the FIBA 3X3 app that will see them officially ranked both nationally and on a global scale. Australia's current top-ranked players entering the New Year are Julian Pesava (men) and Melbourne Boomers player Kelly Bowen (women). CLB3X3 has been a resounding success, with events held in Canberra, Darwin and Geelong, with the shorter version of the sport taking a grip across the country.
Participants at the CLB3X3 Geelong event | Credit: CLB3X3
CLB3X3 General Manager Matt Hollard was excited to be able to link with the Boomers to deliver an exciting event for Melbourne basketball players and fans.
"This is an opportunity for players of all ages and abilities to get a chance to play 3X3 basketball," shared Hollard. "It is fast and exciting. Every player will get access to the big WNBL clash which we are proud to be able to help support."
Children aged 17 years and under that are unable to take part in the CLB3X3 event can also gain free entry to the WNBL game if they wear their club's colours as part of an initiative with Basketball Victoria that started last year. With all the activity planned for the day, Nelson is hoping that the event can become the marquee event on the WNBL schedule.
"Last year's first Australia Day Eve clash proved that the Melbourne basketball community not only love watching the WNBL, but they want a big marquee event on the annual calendar," explained Nelson.
"Melbourne Boomers has been very strong on this concept from the start - we want to make it the biggest game on the WNBL schedule, we want to get the biggest crowd of the season, we want to show people that the support for girls and women in basketball is as strong as ever. Our focus now is on making it a day-long event, bringing the basketball community together for a day of fun that culminates in the biggest rivalry in women's basketball. A true Melbourne rivalry. Not even the NBL can do that at the moment."
With Nelson's vision in mind, the event on Australia Day Eve is also another positive step towards clawing back the media exposure the league once was afforded. He also hopes that it will help facilitate additional corporate support not only the Boomers, but the league as well in order for it to be able to flourish.
"If we can get 3000 people, it will make people sit up and take notice," added Nelson. "If the basketball community out there wants more corporate dollars and more media attention, step up and lead the way. If we want the WNBL back on television, you need to show the networks that there's a lot of support for the league."
"Right now there are plenty of people asking about corporate support and television coverage for the WNBL, and I get it because our league should absolutely be getting a slice of the pie. Basketball has a massive participation base in Australia, it is a true family sport and our elite-level athletes across junior and senior levels are some of the best in the world. Basketball is big in Australia. However, my theory is you have to put on a great show and bring in the crowds. You can’t ignore numbers.”
“We are in the entertainment industry. Build the product, bring in marquee games, grow crowds and show the television networks they are missing out on something that the public wants and is connected to. I know the WNBL belongs on television, but we need big crowds and passionate supporters to prove it.”
“If we get three thousand people to Wednesday night’s game you can’t ignore that. If the basketball fans out there want the WNBL back on television, come and prove it, show the networks that we can fill stadiums. I know Melbourne and Dandenong will put on a great show on Wednesday night, but we need all the basketball fans out there to come and show us how much they love the game.”
"This game really is about connecting the grassroots with the elite and Basketball Victoria is a great supporter of helping us achieve that. It’s an open invitation to the kids – grab your teammates, make it a fun night out and make sure you wear you colours."
Nelson also made it clear that it would also not just be the big crowd that will enjoy the atmosphere and sense of occasion either.
“Our players who played in last year’s game still talk about it, just the noise and atmosphere, it really was a fantastic spectacle.”
With the addition of the CLB3X3 event, the day has certainly become a key date in the basketball calendar for all Melbourne-based fans, to not only watch some of Australia's best female basketballers do battle on court, but to also participate and get involved themselves.
"This event is turning much more that just a viewing spectacle with the WNBL game," Hollard explained. "Fans can actually get involved in what is becoming a huge event. They will have a chance to play some basketball with their mates, and then watch a blockbuster WNBL game between two great sides."
Understanding that the game will be sold out, fans will also be able to watch the game streamed live online. For details, check the Melbourne Boomers social media accounts closer to the date.
Register and Book Now
To register for the CLB3X3 event, go to 3x3planet.com, search your location as "Melbourne" find "CLB3X3 Melbourne", create a profile (if you haven't already got one) and register your team for our first CLB3X3 Melbourne Competition of 2017.
As the WNBL game is expected to be a sell-out, Adults accompanying children (who have free entry) should pre-purchase a ticket online in advance via TryBooking to avoid disappointment.