NBL, WNBL to hold HoopsFest weekend round in Perth

NBL, WNBL to hold HoopsFest weekend round in Perth

HoopsFest, basketball’s response to the NRL’s Magic Round and Gather Round in the AFL, will debut in Perth in September.

The basketball festival will coincide with round one of the NBL season and feature 13 games across the country’s premier men’s and women’s leagues.

The WNBL will play out an eight-game tournament as a precursor to the season’s official tip-off later in the spring, while all 10 NBL teams will play one game each.

The round will be held from September 19-22 – during the AFL finals series in Australian rules-mad Perth – and has only been confirmed for 2024.

“HoopsFest is the first of its kind and is set to be the biggest and best weekend in the sport’s history, and we are thrilled to bring it to life for the first time in Perth,” NBL chief executive David Stevenson said in a statement on Friday.

The NBL season will begin a week early to accommodate the extra game added to the fixture for each team.

Sides will play 29 regular-season games, meaning they will retain the full complement of 14 home games in 2024/25.

The weekend’s five NBL games will be shared across RAC Arena – Perth Wildcats’ regular home court – and the 4500-capacity HBF Stadium across town.

Perth Lynx will move to RAC Arena for their two HoopsFest games but all their other WNBL games will be played at their regular home court, Bendat Basketball Centre.

Reigning champions Tasmania JackJumpers will meet Melbourne United in a championship-series rematch for the first men’s game of the event on September 19.

The weekend will also feature Brian Goorjian’s first regular-season game back in charge of the Sydney Kings, who meet the Adelaide 36ers in the last fixture of the weekend.

The WNBL’s newest franchise, Geelong United, will make their debut as part of HoopsFest, having been confirmed to replace the Melbourne Boomers for the upcoming season.

The weekend is also set to feature 40 men’s and women’s teams in the under-18 club championships, and fan events including an exhibition showcasing basketball footwear.

Aside from the Big Bash League, the NBL had been the last major men’s sporting league in Australia without a showpiece event that features all games over a weekend played in one area.

The NRL pioneered the concept locally with Magic Round, held in Brisbane since 2019.

The AFL has since brought Gather Round to South Australia, with the A-Leagues and Super Rugby hosting Unite Round and Super Round in Sydney and Melbourne, respectively.