The 2020-21 Hungry Jack’s NBL Season will tip off on Friday January 15 with a blockbuster double header to open the league’s 43rd season.
Last season’s finalists the Cairns Taipans will meet the new look Hawks led by recently returned master coach Brian Goorjian. This will be followed by reigning champions the Perth Wildcats taking on Melbourne United as they begin their campaign for a third consecutive title.
The NBL today announced a revised schedule for the first two rounds of the season. The opening round of games will be as follows:
Friday January 15
Cairns Taipans v The Hawks, Cairns Pop-Up Arena, 7.30pm Perth Wildcats v Melbourne United, RAC Arena, 9.30pm
Saturday January 16
Adelaide 36ers v South East Melbourne Phoenix, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, 5.30pm
Brisbane Bullets v Sydney Kings, Nissan Arena, 8pm
Sunday January 17
Cairns Taipans v The Hawks, Cairns Pop-Up Arena, 3pm
Perth Wildcats v SKY Sport New Zealand Breakers, RAC Arena, 5pm
All times are AEDT and games will be broadcast live on SBS VICELAND, ESPN and SKY Sport. The full schedule for the first two rounds can be viewed here.
NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman said: “I want to thank all of our clubs, players, officials and our fans for their patience and understanding as we have prepared for the season. We’ve always said this will be a season like no other and to expect the unexpected.
“We can also expect world class basketball, fierce rivalries and great entertainment in what will be the 43rd consecutive season of one of Australia’s favourite and longest running national sporting leagues.
“Last season was a record breaking season for the NBL and cemented our position as one of the best leagues in the world outside of the NBA. We know everyone can’t wait for the new season to start and we look forward to seeing as many fans as possible live at venues over the coming months.”
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said: “We always knew we would have to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 and the travel restrictions that would be imposed by our various State Governments from time to time. This is why we proceeded on the basis of a rolling schedule, which will hopefully minimise the inconvenience for our teams and our fans.
“The changes we have made to the schedule ensure the season can get underway in a timely manner and that we can still play enough games prior to the beginning of the NBL Melbourne Hub and be confident of still being able to complete the season in June.
“We will wait and see how things progress around the country over the coming weeks before we finalise the schedule for the following three rounds leading into the NBL Cup in the Melbourne NBL Hub.
“These changes will give of our Australian based clubs the best opportunity to each play 14 home games across the season and be part of the NBL Cup in Melbourne starting on February 20, the biggest event we have ever staged with all nine teams playing 36 games across four weeks.
“We are also very hopeful of the New Zealand Breakers being able to play some home games in front of their fans in New Zealand later in the season.
“The New Zealand Breakers and South East Melbourne Phoenix are currently based in Hobart, the Sydney Kings and the Hawks are in Albury and Melbourne United is in Cairns. This ensures they can train and travel relatively freely and minimise any risk of further disruptions to the season schedule.
“We will continue to work closely with the clubs and be guided by the advice of the relevant health authorities and the safety of our players, staff, officials and the fans will be our number one priority.”