OPINION

Marvel Stadium game a step forward for Australian basketball despite fans' seating fury

COUNTRY LADS: Regional Victorian exports (from front) Nathan Sobey (Warrnambool), Matthew Dellavedova (Maryborough) and Mitch Creek (Horsham) run out on Marvel Stadium to play for Australia. Picture: AAP
COUNTRY LADS: Regional Victorian exports (from front) Nathan Sobey (Warrnambool), Matthew Dellavedova (Maryborough) and Mitch Creek (Horsham) run out on Marvel Stadium to play for Australia. Picture: AAP

THERE were 51,218 fans at Marvel Stadium for what was billed as the biggest basketball show in Australian history but not all left happy.

Some of those who forked out hundreds of dollars for courtside seats at the venue, purpose built for Australian Rules football, were left angry and disappointed.

The white plastic chairs, which surrounded the elevated court, were on one level, making it difficult for people to see the Boomers' much-hyped clash with Team USA.

When you pay upwards for $500 for a ticket you expect to have a clear, unhindered view at a minimum.

In hindsight, those people would've been better off buying tickets in the stands.

Sitting in the media box, on level two and far from the court, I could see the play well, rarely looking at the TV screen in front of me.

It was always going to be a difficult task to ensure spectators had a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a venue not designed for basketball.

Would the fans' reports have been as scathing if the seats were cheaper? Probably not.

The seating fiasco has dampened what was otherwise a momentous day for Australian basketball.

TIP OFF: Australia and Team USA played a basketball game at Marvel Stadium, which was purpose-built for Australian Rules football, on Thursday night. Picture: AAP

TIP OFF: Australia and Team USA played a basketball game at Marvel Stadium, which was purpose-built for Australian Rules football, on Thursday night. Picture: AAP

The sport is enjoying a renaissance here after a down period following the halcyon days of the 1990s.

The level of interest in the Boomers' series against the powerful Americans has helped take the sport to a new audience.

It was a coup to get Team USA, under the tutelage of NBA-calibre coach Gregg Popovich, on Australian shores ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China.

Our own NBA talents, including Joe Ingles and Patty Mills, have thrown their support behind the Boomers' cause and our national competition, the NBL, is reaching a wider audience courtesy of TV exposure and highly-talented imports, such as teenage sensations RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball.

Let's hope Thursday night's seating uproar doesn't turn fans away because soon they will have the best seat in the house - watching from the comfort of their lounge rooms as the Boomers vie for their first medal at an international competition.

This story Fans furious over seating but there's plenty to like first appeared on The Standard.