Basketball Australia should have a shot at hosting the World Cup




September 11, 2014

The 17th FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain is headed towards the business end with the semi-finals and final about to be played. Sadly, the Australian Boomers have already been knocked out in the round of 16 stage.

With that in mind, let’s focus on future basketball world cups. The next one will be held in five years time. In a strategic move by the game’s governing body – FIBA – it will be held in 2019 to avoid clashing with the FIFA World Cup.

Submissions have already been accepted to host the 2019 tournament. The Philippines have officially confirmed their bid, while other potential bids include Russia, Puerto Rico, Brazil and a joint bid of Germany and France.

Australia, at this stage, is not bidding. In some ways, Basketball Australia should consider it. We have never hosted the FIBA World Cup but did host the women’s version in 1994.

Australia also has pedigree on the court. Currently ranked ninth in world, we’ve produced NBA players like Luc Longley and Patty Mills, who have both won NBA titles. And Australia have produced numerous players who have enjoyed success in Europe.

As far as staging the event is concerned, Australia is definitely capable. In the current tournament being staged in Spain, there are six venues used in six cities to cater for 24 teams and 76 matches over 16 days.

1. Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid – 13,700 capacity
2. Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona – 15,700
3. Palacio Municipal de Deportes de Granada,Granada – 9,000
4. Bizkaia Arena, Barakaldo – 16,200
5. Palacio Municipal de Deportes San Pablo, Seville – 7,200
6. Gran Canaria Arena, Las Palmas – 9,700

In 2019, the tournament will expand to 32 teams. Yet despite the expansion, Australia does have the venues to host it. Here are the possible sites.

1. Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – 14,820
2. Perth Arena, Perth – 14,846
3. Allphones Arena, Sydney – 17,500
4. Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide – 9,300
5. Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane – 11,000

6. Hisense Arena, Melbourne – 10,500
7. Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne – 7,300
8. Adelaide Arena, Adelaide – 8,000
9. Gold Coast Convention Centre, Gold Coast – 5,269
10. Cairns Convention Centre, Cairns – 5,345
11. Townsville Entertainment Centre, Townsville – 5,247
12. Win Entertainment Centre, Wollongong – 5,673
13. Newcastle Entertainment Centre,Newcastle – 4,658
14. AIS Arena, Canberra – 5,050

The top five would be close to certainties, but other venues, particularly from regional areas, could also be included. There may be possible minor upgrades, but it would be nowhere near the scale of building that was required in FFA’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

The other good consideration is with basketball been an indoor sport, Basketball Australia wouldn’t have to worry about any clashes of conflict with the major football codes in regards to stadium availability.

However, would the Australian government, in conjunction with Basketball Australia, bid to host the FIBA Basketball World Cup in the future? The federal government was burnt during the FIFA bid, but I do think they have a better chance of landing the basketball equivalent.

Sure, there will always be questions raised about having a basketball World Cup in Australia. Time differences back to America and Europe would be far from ideal. Also will Australians be interested in the event? In the Spanish World Cup, there was hardly any publicity attached to the tournament and the Boomers until the Boomers “tanked” the match against Angola.

Having said all of that, it would be fantastic to see 32 teams full of NBA talent plying their trade and showing their wares in Australia. The basketball World Cup could provide a huge benefit to the game domestically.

Will Basketball Australia step up to the free throw line to have a shot.


The Roar