The University of Canberra Capitals will begin their WNBL title defence in November after Basketball Australia earlier this week (27 May) confirmed a delayed start to the 2020-21 season.
With revenue set to be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, a priority for Basketball Australia when confirming the financial model and season structure was to ensure the number of regular season games were not reduced and the current minimum player payment for Australian athletes was maintained.
The WNBL season will comprise of 21 regular season games per team, with the opening round scheduled for 20-22 November 2020 and the final round to be contested 3-6 March 2021. The late end to the season will also benefit the Opals’ preparations for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, now set to start on 23 July 2021.
As part of the financial modelling for next season, Basketball Australia has also confirmed that it has planned on a scenario of games being contested without fans in attendance until Christmas, due to COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings.
Basketball Australia Head of Women in Basketball, Lauren Jackson, said “should restrictions ease over the coming months, we will adapt accordingly with the view to our passionate members and fans being able to attend games when it’s safe and viable to do so”.
General Manager of the UC Capitals, Lucille Bailie, welcomed Basketball Australia’s announcement and said the club is delighted to start preparations for next season.
“The health and safety of our athletes, staff, supporters and stakeholders will always be our number one priority. With that top of mind, we look forward to mapping out plans for the new season and continuing the success of the UC Capitals,” Ms Bailie said.
“We know that the confirmation of our season starting in November will give our city an exciting and positive thing to look forward to after missing our sport over the past couple months.”
It was back on Wednesday 4 March, prior to COVID-19 restrictions being introduced, that the Capitals defeated the Southside Flyers to win the championship in front of a sold-out crowd at the AIS Arena in Canberra.
Head coach Paul Goriss has been working to re-secure players before the start of Free Agency as the entire roster went off contract following the championship. The UC Capitals are set to announce their first player in the coming week.
More information regarding Free Agency, broadcast details and the 2020-21 fixture will be released by Basketball Australia in due course.
2020-21 WNBL season summary
- Opening round: 20-22 November 2020
- Final round: 3-6 March 2021
- Semi-finals series: 12-21 March 2021
- Grand final series: 25-31 March 2021
- Each team will play 21 regular season games