Christmas Day will have its first Australian sporting fixture, with the NBL set to stage a clash between arch rivals Sydney Kings and Melbourne United.
Kings co-owner Paul Smith declared the NBL was “changing society” by daring to play on Christmas Day, beating other summer leagues including the Big Bash and A-League to set a match on a day that has forever been left alone for sporting events.
“It’s the last scheduling frontier in sport in Australia,” Smith said.
“We are a changing society. Christmas isn’t a holy event for all of us, and it can be a lonely day for a lot of people.
“So, to be able to come out to a world-class venue for a world-class game of hoops, or just watching the Sydney Kings at home on television, it’s a game changer.”
The match will be played at 7.30pm on December 25, in Sydney.
“We are thrilled to be bringing such a massive encounter to Christmas Day, particularly given we will be the first professional sport in this country to do so,” NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.
“Sports fans across Australia and New Zealand have been asking for live sport on Christmas and we are excited to bring them world-class basketball and entertainment on what is a very special day for so many.
“Christmas Day has become a marquee day on the NBA calendar and we’re confident it will have a similar impact for us and our clubs.
“The Kings have been very proactive in wanting to host the first Christmas Day game and we’re confident they’ll do a great job.”
The NBL will also stage a game on Christmas Eve between the Adelaide 36ers and South East Melbourne.