Weeks of lobbying to host the Women’s National Basketball League grand final were rewarded for the Bendigo Bank Spirit yesterday.
Basketball Australia (BA)announced the Spirit would be allowed to host the season decider at Bendigo Stadium if it wins tomorrow’s second semi-final against Dandenong.
It emerged last month that BA had concerns Bendigo Stadium could not hold the minimum 3000 fans for the marquee match.
Spirit officials scrambled to arrange to hire 1200 temporary seats and guaranteed BA the minimum number could be met without compromising safety.
After a nervous wait, the Spirit received the good news.
“It’s really satisfying to get to this point and have Basketball Australia make that decision,” Bendigo Spirit chairman Jeremi Moule said.
BA chief executive Kristina Keneally said the Spirit had done everything it needed to prove it could host the match.
“We understand fans have been eagerly awaiting this announcement, which comes on the eve of the biggest game in the history of the club,” Ms Keneally said
“We have worked closely with the Bendigo Spirit to ensure the venue is capable of hosting the showpiece event of Australian women’s basketball and deliver the best experience for our fans.”
The Spirit still needs help funding $60,000 for the temporary stands.
Pledges of $25,000 from Bendigo Stadium and $10,000 from the City of Greater Bendigo covered a big chunk of the bill. Federal Liberal Party candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley has offered $2000, along with pledges from Bendigo Community Telco and $1000 from Jimmy Possum.
“We’re hoping businesses will pledge $1000 at a time or something like that,” Mr Moule said.
“It does two things for us – it offsets any risk in terms of how many people might come and it helps to realise a financial return, which helps the club’s stability in the immediate future.”
To support the Spirit contact Mr Moule on 0419 8384 201 or Jess Lee on 0427 997 675.