NATIONAL Basketball League powerhouses Melbourne United and Sydney Kings will bring their star-studded rosters to Bendigo this month.
Bendigo Stadium will host a preseason clash between the long-time rivals on Thursday, August 30, which will serve as the debut of Kings recruit and former NBA star Andrew Bogut.
The game will be played a fortnight before the stadium hosts the Australian Boomers’ world cup qualifier against Kazakhstan on September 17.
Bendigo Stadium manager of sport Ben Harvey said Kings coach Andrew Gaze had confirmed that Bogut would play in the preseason opener.
Harvey said the game was a significant opportunity for regional basketball.
“To have these two teams here and the likes of Chris Goulding, Andrew Bogut and Andrew Gaze in Bendigo is huge,” Harvey said.
“This is massive for regional basketball to have access to this kind of game and we are really excited to be bringing it to Bendigo.”
The deal was brokered between United, the Victorian government and the stadium to bring the game to Bendigo.
Harvey said the government, which tipped in $5 million to the stadium’s redevelopment, had been critical in pushing for Bendigo to host the match.
Bendigo will see competition in coming years for similar events, once a new multipurpose stadium is built in Ballarat.
The game day operations will be overseen by BSL, while Kings and United players will spend the day prior to the game in Bendigo with several community events expected to be held.
Harvey said the match could potentially serve as a trial event for the stadium to host matches for championship points in the future.
United moves several home games each year while Hisense Arena is unavailable due to the Australian Open tennis.
Tickets for the match on Thursday, August 30 are available through www.melbourneutd.com.au