This weekend Nine will air the Oceania Basketball Championships live and free.
Hosted by basketball commentator John Casey, the broadcast will feature expert commentary by Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze, Opals’ world championship winner and Olympic silver medallist Jenni Screen, former Boomers’ captain Shane Heal and current Utah Jazz player, Joe Ingles.
In a double-header of basketball action, the opening leg of the two-game series will see 2012 London Olympic bronze medallists, the Jayco Australian Opals, face off against the New Zealand Tall Ferns, followed by the Australian Boomers playing New Zealand’s Tall Blacks.
It will be the first time in 15 years that Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena hosts basketball of this calibre, which will feature four of Australia’s current NBA players who have made themselves available for the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championships.
The imposing Boomers lineup will include current NBA champion Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dante Exum (Utah Jazz) and Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls), playing alongside Australia’s best from the European leagues and the NBL.
The Jayco Opals are one of Australia’s most successful national teams, and they will field a strong squad to take on the Tall Ferns in the first match of the evening.
The second leg of the FIBA Oceania Championships will be played in New Zealand on August 17-18. The two-match series is decided by games won, or, if tied, by the aggregate of total points – so every basket counts in this battle for the spot on offer at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Steve Crawley, Nine Network’s Head of Sport, said: “The Nine Network is thrilled to be working with Basketball Australia and Nine Live in bringing basketball back to prime-time, free-to-air television. “As we’ve seen in the NBA recently, Aussie players are some of the best in the world, so it will be great to showcase their incredible talent and skills right here on Wide World of Sports.”
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Australian sports fans to see the very best basketball talent in action, live on home soil.
Basketball Australia CEO, Anthony Moore, is delighted to partner with the Nine Network on this broadcast. “Australian basketball fans should be excited to have our sport back where it belongs: live, free and in prime time,” he said. “The Olympic Games remains a great prize, played on the biggest stage there is, and these games in Melbourne are an important first step towards Rio for our Boomers and Opals.
“This night of basketball is set to be an event that will long be remembered. I congratulate our partners in the Nine Network, Nine Live, the Victorian Government and its Victorian Major Events Company on their outstanding commitment to Australian basketball.”
Saturday, August 15, from 6.30pm on Channel Nine.