Basketball Geelong reveals new $1.65m stadium

5 April 2017

BASKETBALL Geelong has moved to grow participation numbers in the region after acquiring a new venue in Belmont to become the home of basketball.

The association’s members will help cover the $1.65m bill — if they switch their banking to AWA Alliance Bank.

Basketball Geelong has acquired a fixed lease to the former Crows Rd warehouse, which will house six new courts by next season to help alleviate the chokehold on the sport’s growth.

“The key part for us is increasing the number of courts available to domestic basketball, so we set ourselves the task of finding a commercial property that would be suitable to fit some courts into,” Basketball Geelong CEO Dean Anglin said.

“From our point of view, we’re trying to consolidate what we do a little bit. The six courts at Crows Rd won’t be big enough for us on their own — we’ll still need external fac­ilities — but instead of using six or seven venues on a weeknight, we can break that down to two or three.”

The league has casual leases at Corio Leisuretime, Try Boys Stadium, Geelong Grammar, Geelong College and Christian College — among others — to host nightly domestic basketball, and has a fixed lease with The Arena in North Geelong.

Anglin said he expected the use of The Arena to decrease from next season, but the venue would still host Geelong Supercats games.

“At this stage we’re continuing at The Arena,” Anglin said. “We’ll need more courts than just the six at Crows Rd, so we’re working through that with council to try and make sure the combination of the two venues works for us.

“All things going to plan, we’ll be at The Arena and Crows Rd as our primary venues (next season).”

Seating has not been factored into the Crows Rd site, with the emphasis placed on fitting as many courts as possible into the building.

Basketball Geelong will have year-round access to the Belmont stadium, allowing the league to host external events.

“The big thing for us is it really does give the ability for our competitions to grow,” Anglin said. “We’ve been turning away teams and running double byes in some our competitions for a couple of years now because we just can’t get enough facilities on a Monday and Tuesday night.

“This facility with another six courts being injected into Geelong really does change that for us. The additional benefit to that is Basketball Geelong control the food and beverage in the facility, so we’ll have the ability to run external events and generate an income from them.”

That flexibility was something the four-court The Arena didn’t offer.

“The challenge we face with The Arena was that external events cut into our ability to access the courts,” Anglin said.

“The key for us is making sure we have a facility that we can access 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day. We can build programs for schools, we can build basketball programs that are not related to our domestic basketball competition.”

Basketball Geelong members can help the league pay off the $1.65 million loan, which will be used to fit out the site .

“We’ve got a partnership with AWA Alliance Bank, that allows for Basketball Geelong members to generate a return on investment for the club that goes towards the repayment of that loan,” he said.

“That’s simply through them moving their banking across to AWA, and then a shared profit arrangement with the bank that we’ve been able to enter into. We see that partnership as a game changer; this project wouldn’t have been possible without the alliance we’ve built with AWA.”

City of Geelong’s director of community life Linda Quinn said the City was “currently undertaking an analysis of the impact of potential games being removed from the Arena.”