STANKOVIC CUP & OCEANIA SERIES
The success of the Tall Blacks at the Stankovic Cup overnight has many basketball fans already thinking of next month’s FIBA Oceania Championship series against Australia to qualify for the London Olympics.The three-game series will be played in Australia with a combined doubleheader format. The Tall Fern women face the Opals and the Tall Blacks take on the Boomers at the same venues on the same nights – September 7 in Melbourne, September 9 in Brisbane and September 11 in Sydney.
And while FIBA Oceania and Basketball New Zealand both hoped to bring one of those games across the Tasman, a shortage of suitable TV crews due to the Rugby World Cup has ruled that out.
“Venue and accommodation were secured but FIBA requires these events to be covered by live television,” said BBNZ chief executive Tim Hamilton.
“It’s obviously disappointing for at least one of the games not to be played in New Zealand, but the inability to secure television coverage was an insurmountable challenge.
“We’re committed to working with FIBA Oceania and Basketball Australia to ensure an ongoing future home-and-away series, which we hope to be in a position to announce before the end of 2011,” said Hamilton.
FIBA Oceania Secretary General Steve Smith said there was a desire to repeat the successful formula of the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship, which saw both teams playing games in front of their home crowds in a home-and-away series.
Basketball Australia and Basketball New Zealand want to expand the series to three games and to initiate an annual Trans-Tasman event.
“Unfortunately for Basketball New Zealand, the Rugby World Cup locked up all the TV production resources available, which meant no live television coverage could be obtained,” said Smith. “Despite the very best efforts of Basketball New Zealand, we were not able to resolve this problem and, as a result, FIBA Oceania has decided to revert to a formula that prevailed in the region before the 2009 home-and-away experiment.”
Both Basketball Australia and Basketball New Zealand see great competition and promotional value in staging games between their national teams on a home-and-away basis every year.
The regular trans-Tasman clash is a formula that has proven successful in other sports, and all parties believe that friendly rivalry between the Aussies and the Kiwis needs to be exploited in basketball.
FIBA Oceania’s 2011 basketball championships will directly qualify one men’s and one women’s team for the London Olympics, and the second-placed team will be entitled to contest FIBA’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to be played in 2012 at locations and dates yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, BBNZ couldn’t be happier with the Tall Blacks win in the Stankovic Cup, which was televised live on Sky TV. The victory saw the Tall Blacks win three games in a row, a positive start to their campaign to take on Australia next month.
“The Tall Blacks achieving victory at a tournament of this calibre is outstanding and great preparation as they build towards the Olympic qualifying series against Australia,” said Hamilton. “The win rates highly among the successes of the Tall Blacks over the last decade and should be celebrated by the sporting community.”
The US$30,000 prizemoney from the Stankovic Cup is shared between the team and BBNZ.
The team now travels to Italy for a training camp 11-18 August followed by a four-nation tournament in Macedonia and another in Turkey before a training camp in Auckland 1-4 September and then the Oceania qualifying series in Australia, 7-11 September.