Friday, 9 October 2009

More on AUS Tournament in Sydney

Note that the Brier (Canadian Men's Curling championship) will be played at the Halifax Metro Center during the week that the AUS tournament usually takes place so the facility will be unavailable. This is an excellent way to expose a wonderful part of Canada to big time Canadian basketball and having 5,000+ in a nice facility for 3 consecutive days should be a showcase for CIS basketball, showing potential corporate partners how popular our product can be.

AUS hoops championship headed to Sydney: Men’s tourney to be held at Centre 200

The Atlantic university men’s basketball championship has found a temporary new home in Cape Breton.

In a news conference Thursday morning in Sydney, Atlantic University Sport announced the 2010 Subway Final 6 tournament will play out March 12-14 at Centre 200, marking the first time since 1981 that the event has been staged outside Halifax.

"It was probably the worst-kept secret in Sydney for a few months," Phil Currie, the executive director of AUS, said with a laugh in a cellphone interview Thursday afternoon as he was driving back to Halifax.

"A lot of people were aware of the fact that we were coming even before we announced it."

Halifax has hosted the Final 6 for the past 28 years, with 24 of those events held at the Metro Centre. But with the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier, the Canadian men’s curling championship, coming to the Metro Centre on March 6-14, Currie said the AUS decided to look at other markets for this season’s hoops extravaganza.

On the four previous occasions when scheduling conflicts forced the Final 6 out of the Metro Centre, it was moved across town to the Halifax Forum. But in 2003, the last time the Brier came to Halifax and bumped the basketball finals to the Forum, attendance took a significant hit, Currie said.

He said Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John, N.B., were also considered when the AUS decided to transplant the Final 6 for the year.

That involved "going out and looking at the markets and seeing what would make sense for us: what would be the best for the event, what would have the least impact on the event from a negative perspective and the most impact from a positive perspective," said Currie, who’s also chairman of the men’s championship tournament.

"With all those things taken into consideration, Sydney had all the attributes that we thought would work for that particular event. . . . The numbers fit in reference to what our average attendance has been."

The standard turnout for the tournament has been 15,510, with 42 per cent of those spectators coming from outside the immediate region, said an AUS release Thursday. There are 5,500 seats available at Centre 200.

Currie said the tournament will pump an estimated $2 million to $4 million into the Sydney-area economy and will cap off a three-week stretch in which the city will roll out the welcome mat for the AUS women’s basketball finals, then the East Coast Music Awards and finally the Final 6.

"We are looking forward to an exciting couple of weeks of basketball this winter in Sydney," said John Ryan, athletics director at Cape Breton University, which will stage the women’s tournament on Feb. 26-28.

Currie said moving the tournament from its traditional base does present some challenges.

"The big challenge is getting the floor to Sydney. We don’t have a floor up there (at Centre 200), so the Metro Centre is working with us on that piece. And going into a new market, is it going to be well-received, all those kind of things.

"In our preliminary works, we’ve discovered that they’re just chomping at the bit in Sydney to get this up there and I think that that’s going to ring true for the ticket buyers too. . . . The early indication is that it’s going to be very well supported in all levels."

Chris Cochrane of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald opines on the subject:


News that the 2010 Atlantic University Sport men’s Final 6 basketball championship — forced out of its usual Metro Centre home because of scheduling conflicts — will be held in Sydney should be regarded as a positive.

Sure, it will be a disappointment for the large Halifax-based fan contingent that has loyally supported the tournament for so long. But it’s also a benefit to the AUS to have the event moved occasionally to include university centres other than Halifax in hosting honours.

Given that the Final 6 profits are so crucial to the AUS bottom line, it wouldn’t be a surprise if tournament organizers successfully work for a sellout at Centre 200.


Harold said...

While I agree that Sydney deserves a shot at the AUS finals I hope that there will be some control over the boorish Capers fans. The lack of the CBU control over their unruly behaviour resulted in an embarrassment to the basketball community compounded by an AUS decision to penalize Coach Konchalski while taking no action against CBU for their lack or control. The Caper fans have shown that they cannot watch a BB game and enjoy a libation at the same time without losing all sense of fan decorum.

Anonymous said...

Playing at the Centre 200 would be a lot different than a game at the CB campus.
I'm sure the tournament organizers are well aware of the Cape Breton fans reputation, particularly when it comes to meetings with X.
Hopefully, the appropriate security measures will be taken.
Even so, if I were among the X contingent, I would feel a little bit uneasy spending a couple of days in Sydney with my double blue colours.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that "it’s also a benefit to the AUS to have the event moved occasionally" yet the Halifax media when apeshit when the CIS dared to move "their" tournament to another city.

Hypocrisy, n'est ce pas?