Not only will 2020 mark the arrival of basketball's 3X3 as an Olympic sport, but it will also see the introduction of the inaugural 3X3 National Cup for New Zealand’s NBL teams.
Riding the wave of success that has seen the shortened version of the game take off across the country, and worldwide, the NBL will break for one week during the 2020 season with all teams set to descend on ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill for the two-night 3X3 event.
Known as the 3X3 National Cup, all seven NBL teams will attend the May 28/29 event, along with the Otago Nuggets and Franklin Bulls who are also set to join in the fun.
The event will feature two night sessions with SKY Sports set to broadcast all the action.
ILT Stadium Southland General Manager, Nigel Skelt said “ we are thrilled to continue our association with NZ Basketball in this exciting new competition, without doubt the opportunity of hosting a destination event for Invercargill is a major draw card and I am sure we will get fantastic support from our fanatical basketball fans.”
A part of ILT Stadium Southland’s plethora of big events during 2020, the home of the NBL’s Southland Sharks will be converted into a 3X3 festival with music and family entertainment set to bring plenty of extra fun and excitement.
“We’re really excited about the whole concept of 3X3 adding another piece of silverware to the league, especially with the game set to enter the Olympics literally weeks after we hold the inaugural 3X3 National Cup at ILT Stadium Southland,” said NBL GM, Justin Nelson.
“It’s such a different form of the game, it’s fast and physical and makes for a lot of fun either in person at the game or sitting back at home watching on television. We’ll have a bit of fun with it and add some extra things.”
A couple of those extras will be the Nuggets and Bulls, two teams slated for entry into the NBL in season 2021. The chance to play in the 3X3 National Cup will be the first time fans get to see the Nuggets and Bulls colours on court amongst the nation’s best.
There is a chance a tenth team will be added in the form of either one of New Zealand’s national 3X3 teams, an NBL select team, a visiting international team or maybe a past NBL players team.
And while the NBL’s regular season is partnered by Sal’s Authentic New York Pizza, Nelson says the naming rights for the league’s newest competition is up for grabs.
“Now’s the time to jump on board, basketball is breaking new ground across New Zealand with record numbers, and lots of that action is happening in 3X3,” said Nelson.
“Given basketball’s massive playing numbers at school level and the successful return of the NBL to SKY Sports during 2019, not to mention the outstanding recent performances by the Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns on the global stage, the value our game presents is rising very quickly and some very astute corporates are jumping on board at the right time.
“ILT Stadium Southland will host this annual event for the next three years and SKY Sports is right behind it, so it presents as the perfect commercial opportunity for a partner looking for a fun, fast, popular and competitive form of basketball. Get in early!”