The New Zealand Warriors have taken NRL games out of Auckland and the day may come when the Breakers shift ANBL games out of the big smoke.
Should that happen Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena could be a hosting venue if Hawke's Bay basketball fans support the SkyCity Breakers' pre-season fixture against the star-studded Brisbane Bullets on September 15.
"A regular-season ANBL Breakers match hasn't been discussed yet. But we would be open to this opportunity if the fans want it and the fans will show us in September if they do. If they get behind the Bullets game I'm sure we would be in with a good shot," arena general manager Dan Rodden said yesterday after the three-game pre-season tour by the Breakers was confirmed.
"We are rapt to secure the Breakers to Hawke's Bay. With the community engagement programme including a game, it will mean everyone in the community can get to experience the Breakers," Rodden said.
"Some fans may remember the Breakers played an internal game here in 2009 but the September game will be the first time they will take on another ANBL team in the Bay. There is a strong basketball base in Hawke's Bay and these people want to see good basketball."
In addition to the Taradale fixture the Breakers will take on the Bullets in Tauranga on September 13 and in Invercargill on September 17. The Breakers will be coached by former Hawks player and coach Paul Henare and one of his assistants will be his former Hawks team-mate Judd Flavell.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for basketball fans in the Bay to watch New Zealand's best players take on some of the best from Aussie," said Keith Price, chairman of the Indigo Hawks national basketball league franchise.
"This is a great positive for the code here and we intend to feed off it as we look ahead to 2017," he added.
The Bullets have assembled a championship-contending roster under the coaching of former Breakers mentor Andrej Lemanis, who will return to club coaching after his Australian national team commitments at the Rio Olympic Games.
Breakers general manager Dillon Boucher, another former Breakers team-mate of Henare, said the September series will give fans plenty to enjoy, as well as meet the needs of both teams in the lead up to what promises to be one of the best seasons yet.
"We are delighted to be taking our show on the road and to be visiting Tauranga, Napier and Invercargill. All three regions have shown a real commitment to showcase the game of basketball and I know will put on great shows for the fans in those cities.
"Brisbane might be newly returned to the competition, but they are already being talked about as being among the favourites with the roster they have assembled. With Andrej in the driving seat, you know they are going to be a well-prepared, well-drilled and professional team in all respects.
"And, of course, we are delighted with our own roster, we have been able to attract a great group of players and with two more still to sign to the fulltime roster including an import player, we are anticipating an exciting season under new coach Paul Henare."
As well as Lemanis, the Bullets will feature former Breakers player Reuben Te Rangi and include Breakers club legend CJ Bruton who is one of only three players to have their numbers retired at the club. Breakers life member and former CEO Richard Clarke will be among the Bullets support staff.
The Bullets roster is loaded, with former or current Boomer players in Adam Gibson, Mitch Young, Tom Jervis, Cameron Bairstow and Daniel Kickert, plus exciting American Torrey Craig and a yet-to-be-signed second American import.
For the Breakers it will be a chance before the ANBL Pre-Season Blitz in Brisbane a week later to play the entire roster for the first time, with new American import Ben Woodside, returning club favourite and New Zealand basketball legend Kirk Penney and 2.1m Tall Black Rob Loe among the club's new signings.
The Breakers will have signed their second American import and final New Zealand players in time for the tour and will showcase their entire roster (injury permitting), in the three games. Club favourites Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster and Alex Pledger will be worth the price of admission alone.
Rodden said public and corporate tickets for the Taradale fixture will be available from next week. Details and prices will be available through Ticketek or on the arena's website www.pgarena.co.nz.