Cairns Convention Centre delays may force Taipans to Crocs territory
The $176 million upgrade of the Cairns Convention Centre has been delayed, meaning the Cairns Taipans will be without a home for the majority of the NBL 21 season.
The venue is the latest victim of Covid-19, with the major upgrade delayed for at least three months, until February 2021. It is the third delay for the project and has thrown the Taipans season into disarray.
With no other venues in Cairns up to NBL standard, the Taipans could be forced to play home games in Townsville – home of former NBL team, Townsville Crocodiles. The 5,257-capacity Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre and the 2,200-capacity Townsville Stadium are two options, while it’s believed the Gold Coast may be another possibility to host home games.
The NBL season is due to commence later than usual due to coronavirus, with the league recently announcing it won’t start until the AFL and NRL seasons have concluded. At this point, those Grand Finals are expected to be played in the last weekend of October.
Meanwhile, the new Tasmania NBL franchise has moved a step forward, with the state government committing $68.5 million to the upgrade of the Derwent Entertainment Centre. It is hoped the project will kick-off as soon as possible, with the new team scheduled to enter the league for the 2021/22 season.