Both countries were scheduled to contest four Group C (Australia, Guam, Hong Kong and New Zealand) games as part of a 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifying stage in the Philippines during the forthcoming February international window.
The location of Group C games was changed from the Philippines by the FIBA Regional Office Asia earlier this month. Basketball Australia, Basketball New Zealand, FIBA, the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council have work together to deliver New Zealand’s Group C home game against their trans-Tasman rival, Australia in Far North Queensland.
Upon announcing this game in Cairns, Basketball Australia Executive General Manager – Basketball, Paul Maley said: “We are delighted to be bringing this crucial FIBA Asia Cup qualifier game to Cairns in Far North Queensland on Saturday week.
“This pandemic continues to throw up significant challenges to sports contesting important international competitions and we can’t thank the Queensland Government, Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Cairns Regional Council enough for their ongoing support of basketball and for hosting this international at the fantastic Pop-Up Arena.
“Irrespective of the sport and the talent on display, there is always something special about a contest featuring Australia and New Zealand, which fans attending the game on February 20 will experience first-hand.”
Due to quarantine periods when entering Australia and the NBL Cup’s bubble protocols, this FIBA Asia Cup qualifier in Cairns will feature athletes who are currently based in Australia and/or attached to leagues outside of the NBL.
Member for Cairns and Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy said the February 20 game would be the latest in a series of elite sport played over recent months in Cairns.
“This is a major basketball event for Cairns,” Mr Healy said.
“We know events like the Boomers versus New Zealand not only bring great teams and spectators to Cairns, they also support jobs and keep local cash registers running.
“Over the last year, Cairns has hosted AFL Premiership games, WNBL matches, Suncorp Super Netball games and now the Boomers and New Zealand.
“This is another great destination event with potential to attract Australia’s basketball community to Cairns for a great game and an even better tropical holiday.”
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said: “To have an Australia and New Zealand basketball Asia Cup qualifier in Cairns is an incredible coup and provides a welcome and necessary boost for our city.
“These are the events that the State Government must continue to work hard to secure for our city, and we welcome the opportunity to host this qualifier against our trans-Tasman neighbours.
“The impact of the pandemic on our city and particularly businesses reliant on tourism has been substantial.
“With the ongoing closure of international borders securing high quality events will be more important than ever before. We need events that bring focus to our city and encourage people to visit our region, which is crucial.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said Cairns had a solid reputation for hosting national sporting events.
“We look forward to welcoming the Australian and New Zealand teams and invite them to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest during their visit.”
Australia are the defending FIBA Asia Cup champions. The top two teams in each group contesting the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers group stage will secure their spot to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup scheduled for August. The qualification to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup will secure the Boomers a place in the qualifying phase for the 2023 FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup – so a lot is on the line when New Zealand and Australia meet in Cairns on February 20.
Ticket On Sale Details
New Zealand vs Australia
2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifier, 6.30pm local tip off
Tickets will go on general public on sale at 12.00pm local time on Friday 12 February from taipans.com.
Ticket prices (excluding ticketing and transaction fees)
Family (2A/2C or 1A/3C): $40.00
Child & Student/Concession: $10.00