John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Basketball boom brings request for more courts

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Teams are being turned away from playing basketball because the growth in the sport has exceeded the space available to play games.

The predicament facing Tauranga City Basketball Association was put to city councillors by general manager Mark Rogers. There were more than 3500 players in Tauranga, with tournaments run by the association boosting the accommodation sector by 25,000 bed nights a year. An offer was received last week to hold a New Zealand Breakers pre-season game at the ASB Stadium in September.

"The facilities are world-class. People come in and are amazed by the quality of the facility, so thanks to the council," Mr Rogers said.

However, with a 17 per cent growth in players this year, he urged the council to plan for future indoor basketball facilities. His submission to the council's 2016-17 Annual Plan also urged the council to expand the number of outdoor basketball courts, particularly to service the increasingly popular three-on-three version of the traditional full-court five-on-five game.

"Three-on-three is becoming huge, the numbers are going through the roof," he said.

The international governing body for basketball has launched three-on-three as the official summer outdoor version of the sport. It needs only half a court for a game.

Mr Rogers asked the council to develop community-based outdoor three-on-three basketball courts. The association was keen to partner with the council to develop a programme for communities such as Merivale, Papamoa, Welcome Bay and Hairini.

"The programme would help develop connections with local communities and add healthy activities for families and youth."

The association has offered to help install basketball hoops on council netball courts, saying it would provide a cheaper option than building basketball facilities from scratch.

Mr Rogers understood the council was waiting for the completion of the Spaces and Places Review by Sport Bay of Plenty. This would help decisions on where, when and what new facilities were needed.

The association's submission said there was currently no provision for new indoor sporting facilities.

Tauranga City Basketball Association winter competition 2015:

* 138 primary school teams

* 51 intermediate school teams

* 64 college teams

* 50 adult teams

- Bay of Plenty Times

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