The FIBA World Cup will be Asia-bound come 2019, with China or the Philippines favourites to host the tournament.
We find out in June who succeeds Spain as hosts.
And ultimately, it’s the right move by FIBA as the focus of the federation’s flagship as been centred on Europe for long enough now.
For us Europeans, it’s been fun but it’s time that someone else shared the joy and excitement that world basketball brings.
But on the flip side, fans in the Americas, the middle-east but especially the Oceanian continent are quietly muttering to themselves with glum faces: “Oh well, maybe next time.”
The call to stage the World Cup in Asia, four years from now is still a decent choice, with the popularity of the sport at an all-time high and the Philippines being commended for their flawless hosting of the 2013 FIBA Asian Championship, but while the far east gets to revel in the world spotlight again, countries like Australia and New Zealand get dismissed again.
And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the two aforementioned nations will get a look in for 2023, either.
“Looking ahead to future editions of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, it was confirmed that the 2019 event will be played in Asia with China and the Philippines as the two candidates left in the race to host it,” FIBA’s press release said.
“FIBA’s Central Board will make this final decision at its meeting in June. Meanwhile, Germany, Turkey and Qatar are the three bidding to stage the competition in 2023, with a decision on the host expected in 2016. The Evaluation Commission is expected to visit the bidding countries once the 2015 continental championships have concluded.”
Since 2002, FIBA’s world senior events have been staged across three continents. Three times in the Americas, four in Asia (final rounds of the world championships for women was staged on the Asian side of Istanbul) and Europe has seen FIBA’s world events seven times since 2002.
|World Championship Women||2002||China||Asia|
|World Championship Women||2006||Brazil||Americas|
|World Championship Women||2010||Czech Rep||Europe|
|World Championship Women||2014||Turkey||Europe/Asia|
The Oceanian continent last had the worlds best on their doorstep back at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. A near 15-year wait.
So what could be the reasons behind Australia and New Zealand’s reluctance, or maybe FIBA’s unwillingness to bring the World Cup over to the southern hemisphere?
Time Difference: New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of the majority of Europe (13 hours in Great Britain, 10 hours in Russia) and as the majority of FIBA’s audience reportedly resides on the continent of Europe, the television figures could suffer.
Other notables are that New Zealand is 5 hours ahead of the two favoured hosts Philippines, and China. And there is a massive 17 hour difference between New Zealand and the East Coast of the United States (18 hours, central).
Australia is two hours behind New Zealand.
Facilities: Australia has fantastic basketball facilities and more than suitable arenas with many Australian NBL games seeing attendances of 6-13,000.
If New Zealand were to host the FIBA World Cup or even the World Cup for Women, they would benefit from co-hosting with the Aussies. Only the Vector Arena in Auckland (home of the NBL champions, New Zealand Breakers) and the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch look to be of standard to host games in the World Cup, even though the 4,400-seat North Shore Events Arena hosted a selection of games at the U19 World Championships in 2009.
Yep, New Zealand has hosted a world tournament at junior level.
Drop in attendances? : The majority of nations in the World Cup both for men and women would emanate from Europe. FIBA might be thinking of the fans best interests as plane costs to Australia and New Zealand are expensive.
Especially if they are staying for the full two weeks, it takes about three or four days to recover from the jetlag of the flight over.
You would like to think that FIBA will consider Australia and New Zealand one day if the two nations put a bid in, both did bid for hosting rights in 2010 but withdrew at the last moment.
One day, both nations will hopefully showcase what they are capable of to the basketball world, but for now, the basketball fans will be watching the Tall Blacks and Boomers at funny hours for yet another few years, at least.