Child minding services and dedicated work and study places for all players will be fully accessible when the WNBL moves all teams in to Queensland hubs for the 2020 season.
Townsville, Cairns and Mackay will host the entire 56-game regular season, plus finals, from November 12.
Basketball Australia will relocate all eight teams north to contest the season, which will be packed in to a condensed 6-week format with the grand final scheduled for Sunday, December 20.
To cater to the needs of all players BA has organised a raft of in-hub access including:
– VIP access to medical practitioners and resources
– Access to leading independent welfare support
– Dedicated space for study and or work commitments
– Child minding services for players who are primary carers
– Support from BA High Performance Unit including national team doctor plus strength and conditioning staff
Athletes, coaches, officials and other required personnel associated from areas identified as ‘hot spots’, including Victoria, will be parachuted in to Brisbane this month and undertake the 14-day quarantine period before relocating to North Queensland.
During the quarantine period, teams and referees will have controlled access to training facilities at Nissan Arena in Brisbane.
Opals superstar Liz Cambage recently confirmed her return to the WNBL after signing with the Southside Flyers, and will be part of the hub.
Each team will contest 14 games as part of a 56-game regular season.
There will also be a four-game finals series, including two semi finals and a grand final.
Mackay Basketball Stadium will hold eight games, Cairns Pop-Up Arena will showcase 20 games, with a combined 32 games to be played at Townsville Stadium and Townsville Entertainment Centre, including the entire final series.
Queensland has already hosted hubs for the AFL and Super Netball seasons in 2020.
Aussie basketball legend Lauren Jackson, now the BA Head of Women in Basketball, said it was important to get the 2020 season away as a crucial development season ahead of the 2021 Olympics.
“The passion and commitment of all involved in the league and their unwavering love of Australian basketball are the core reasons why players, coaches, officials and club staff will be making significant sacrifices to ensure the 2020 WNBL season is contested,” Jackson said.
“The WNBL is one of the world’s best elite basketball leagues and we have such depth in talent within Australian women’s basketball.
“The 2020 season plays a pivotal role in preparing the Australian Opals for two important global tournaments and I want to thank all parties for the selfless and big picture approach in wanting to ensure the season went ahead.”
Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter said everyone connected with the league was excited and grateful to have the backing of the Queensland Government.
“The support from the Queensland Government ensures we are able to deliver the season in 2020, providing a stage for Australia’s best established and emerging talent to contest the 41st edition of Australia’s longest-running elite women’s sporting competition,” Rechter said.
“On behalf of Basketball Australia, the WNBL clubs, players, coaches, officials, members, and fans, I would like to thank Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Kate Jones for their visionary support of women’s basketball in Australia.
“We all agreed it was critical to deliver the season and ensure the league puts a much-needed smile on the face of our fans and members, maintains the growth of women’s basketball throughout Australia, and continues to inspire future generations of players, coaches and officials.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says hosting the 2020 WNBL season is a big win for the state.
“Major events are an important part of my Government’s strategy to continue rebuilding and growing our economy and to support local jobs,” Palaszczuk said.
“The tourism and events sectors throughout our state have done it tough this year.
“Major sporting events pump millions of dollars into local businesses. Securing the WNBL is a great win for the whole of North Queensland and a dream come true for basketball fans in the region.”
The confirmation of the WNBL season tip-off signals the commencement of an exciting three years for Australian women’s basketball that includes the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and in 2022, Australia hosting the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
The 2020 WNBL season fixture, broadcast details and ticketing information will be announced later this month.