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New Zealand's NBL will return next month with '18in18' campaign

Photo from: canterburywildcats.com

AUCKLAND (New Zealand) - Oceania basketball is starting to spring back to life with the scheduled opener of the SAL’s National Basketball League (NBL) "18IN18" next month in Auckland, New Zealand following the slated Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) also in November.

Basketball New Zealand announced the development in cooperation with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland Council, and NBL led by General Manager Justin Nelson.

The upcoming tournament will play 18 straight days featuring 18 straight games including regular-season games and playoffs among six NBL teams at the Pullman Arena in south Auckland.

Elite women squads Etco Auckland Dream, Capital Swish, Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats, Platinum Homes Harbour Breeze, Firebrand Otago Gold Rush and Waikato Wizards are the participating clubs slugging it out for the prestigious SAL’s NBL 18IN18 starting 19 November to 6 December.

All games will be broadcasted live on Sky Sport.

“We’re delighted to be staging another premium basketball event in Auckland. Not only is Auckland home to a fantastic basketball community but, when it comes to staging events and welcoming people into their city, Auckland does it so exceptionally well. That was evident at the recent Sal’s NBL Showdown earlier this year,” said Nelson.

“We can’t wait to call Pulman Arena our home for the event, it’s an outstanding facility for players and supporters. It is a sporting hub for the community and we very much want to enjoy our time in and around the south Auckland community.”

The Auckland hosting of Sal’s NBL 18IN18 is the third major tournament in the bustling city after the 2020 NBL Showdown and the  2019 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in West Auckland that featured Sky Sport Tall Ferns, China, South Korea, and the Philippines.

But more than basketball, this big event is being seen as a major boost to the tourism and economy of the region amid the grappling effects of the pandemic.

“There is a real appetite for live sporting content and this competition will provide Aucklanders the chance to watch the country’s best in action," added ATEED Head of Major Events Richard Clarke.

“Basketball is a great spectacle from the stands and on television, and we’re delighted that south Auckland will be the hub for the season. Not only will it showcase one of our best sporting venues, but also our region as a top destination for events."

Earlier this month, Basketball Australia also announced that it’s 2020 Chemist Warehouse Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) will push through as planned in the north Queensland, making a strong signal that Oceania basketball could be back to good, old days sooner than later.