The popular Burger King Quest 3X3 Basketball Tour heads to Christchurch this weekend, and has already claimed the number one spot for the most pre-registrations in the FIBA endorsed event.
Christchurch is now on target to hold the biggest Burger King 3X3 Quest Tour event for New Zealand so far.
Event Director David Huxford says registrations have been steadily flowing in and he believes the event will surpass the Tour's participation record.
"First thing Thursday morning we had 43 registrations, which is the most pre-registrations ever. Considering there's still two more days to register and that it's not unusual for upwards of 10 teams to show up last minute on the morning of the competition, it looks like this weekend will be a record breaker. It's likely to be the biggest Quest Tour event in New Zealand in three years, snatching the title from Auckland with their 2014 record of 45 teams.
"Cantabrian's love their basketball and the region produces great talent every year through the Canterbury Basketball Association and the Mainland Eagle Academy. This is the third time we've taken the Tour to Christchurch and it's grown every year.
"The Canterbury Rams will also be there to support the teams at the competition, which will be held at Hagley Park Netball Courts. The Rams' players will be there to sign autographs and watch some games ahead of their NBL season. It's going to be a busy day with lots on and we're really looking forward to it," says Huxford.
The 3X3 format is known as the informal street version of basketball that fits well with the outdoors and local facilities. Huxford says participants don't need to have club or school affiliations. Instead anyone can get together and make up a team for the day.
"The great thing about the Tour is that all you need is a few friends who are keen. It's easy to sign up and get involved. It's open to all players, men and women, with Under 14s, Under 16s, Under 18s and an Open Grade.
"The atmosphere is really welcoming too. We will provide the court, the basketball, the officials, some great music and a competition that caters for all abilities. And this year, Basketball NZ has made it available free of charge," says Huxford.
Building on two successful Tours over previous summers, the Burger King 3X3 Quest Tour has already been hosted by seven other locations this summer. A further seven are planned up and down the country before returning to Auckland's Aotea Square for the Grand Final World Tour Qualifier on 2 April.
Huxford says there is huge potential for 3X3 in New Zealand as the game is growing rapidly abroad.
"There is a professional 3X3 world circuit, known as the World Tour. The Burger King 3X3 Quest Tour is New Zealand's selection platform to send a team to the World Tour Masters in Asia.
"Each winning team in the open men's category from the regional events will have the opportunity to vie for the title at the World Tour Qualifier final in Auckland on 2 April 2016. The winner of that Final will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the 2016 World Tour Masters in Beijing," says Huxford.