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FIBA 3X3 Masters World Tour Saskatoon Stop July 15-16

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  • FIBA 3X3 Masters World Tour Saskatoon Stop July 15-16

    I hadn't seen this mentioned, but July 15 and 16, Saskatoon is hosting a stop on the FIBA 3x3 Masters Tour. It is men's 3 on 3 basketball and Team Saskatoon is actually one of the top 8 teams in the world. It is being held downtown at 4th Avenue and 21st Street, so in front of Hudsons. It will feature a tournament, a 3 point shooting contest and a slam dunk contest as part of the Masters Tour event. Apparently, they also have an amateur side tournament going on too. It is a big production and I am pumped about it, so far confirmed playing are:

    Novi Sad AlWahada from the UAE featuring: Dusan Bulut, the number 1 ranked player in the world on the 3x3 tour. He last played pro ball in the Serbian 2MLS (2nd Division) in 2015-16 with Vojvodina. Dejan Majstorovic, who played pro ball with Dunav SB in the Serbian 2MLS in 2015-16. Nikola Pavlovic, who played with BBC US Hiefenech Heffingen in the Luxembourg N2 League (2nd Division) this past year. Marko Savic, last played pro ball with KK Meridiana Novi Sad in the Serbian 2MLS in 2013-14.

    Ljubljana from Slovenia featuring: Tomo Cajic, who played pro ball this past season with GA Grosupljie in the Slovenian 2SKL (2nd Division). Blaz Cresnar, who played pro ball this past season with Gruppo SME Caorle in the Italian Serie C Gold (4th Division). Jasmin Hercegovac, who last played pro ball with SD Fenomeni Ljubljana in the Slovenian 3SKL (3rd Division) in 2011-12. Ales Kunc, played college ball at Missouri State until 1996 and played pro ball last season with KK Kolpa Crnomelj in the Slovenian 3SKL (3rd Division).

    Saskatoon is one of the top teams in the world and features: Nolan Brudehl, who played college ball with the Huskies until 2011-12. Michael Lieffers, who played college ball with the Huskies until 2011-12 and played pro ball with Nishinomiya Storks of the Japanese B League D2 (2nd Division) in 2012-13. Michael Linklater, who played college ball with the Huskies until 2009-10 and played pro with the USA All-Stars in the International Basketball League (US Summer Minors) in 2011. Steve Sir, played college ball at Northern Arizona until 2006-07 and set the NCAA record (which he still holds) in 3 point percentage. He played in the NBA Summer League in 2016 with the Milwaukee Bucks and last played pro with CS Phoenix Galati in Romania's Liga Nationala (1st Division) in 2016.

    Liman from Serbia featuring: Marko Brankovic, who played pro this past season with KK Vojvodina Novi Sad in the Serbian 2MLS (2nd Division). Stefan Kojic, who played pro this past season with Zlatibor Cajetina in the Serbian 2MLS (2nd Division), helping them win the Championship. Stefan Stojacic, who played pro this past season with KK Vojvodina Novi Sad in the Serbian 2MLS (2nd Division). Mihailio Vasic, who played college ball as a freshman with New Haven in NCAA Division 2.

    Hamamatsu from Japan featuring: Palpreet Singh Brar, who played pro this past season with Bengaluru Beast of India's UBA League (2nd Division). Inderbir Gill, who played college ball at Georgian College in Ontario until 2013-14 and played pro this past season with Mumbai Challengers of India's UBA League (2nd Division). Inderbir Singh Gill, played college ball at UNBC and as far as I can tell has no pro experience. Bikramjit Gill, played college ball at Ball State until 2015-16 and played pro this past season with Kagoshima Rebnise in the Japanese B League D2 (2nd Division).

    NY Harlem from the US featuring: Edis Dervisevic, who played college ball at Long Beach State until 2011-12 and appears to have not played pro ball. Dominique Jones, who played college ball at Fort Hays State (NCAA Division 2) and played pro ball with the Bronx Holy Flames of the ABA (the most cockroach like league in all of minor league sports) in 2015-16. Kadeem Nicholas, who played college ball at Dowling (NCAA Division 2) and appears not to have played pro ball. David Seagers, who played college ball at Dowling (NCAA Division 2) until 2011-12, and played pro ball last season with Pacific Caesar Surabaya in the Indonesian IBL (1st Division).

    Rio de Janeiro from Brazil featuring: Luca Carvalho, who last played pro with Internacional/Fupes in the Brazilian Paulista League (3rd Division) in 2016. Douglas Motta, who last played pro in 2013-14 with CR Vasco Da Gama Rio de Janeiro in the Brazilian NBB (1st Division). Marcelao Silva, has no pro 5 on 5 experience, but appears to play in a 3x3 pro league in Brazil. Carlos Silva Jr., who played pro ball last season with Macae Basquete in the Brazilian NBB (1st Division).

    Princeton from the US featuring: Zahir Carrington, who played college ball at Lehigh until 2010-11 and played pro in 2011-12 with the Jersey Express of the ABA. Damon Huffman, played college ball at Brown until 2007-08 and last played pro in 2012-13 with Newcastle Eagles Esh Group in the British BBL (1st Division). Daniel Mavraides, played college ball at Princeton until 2010-11 and last played pro in 2012-13 with Pasta Reggia JuveCaserta in the Italian Serie A (1st Division). Craig Moore, played college ball at Northwestern until 2008-09 and last played pro in 2013-14 with Raiders in the Anguillan AABA (1st Division).

    Toa Baja from Puerto Rico featuring: Tjader Fernandez, played pro ball this past season with Santeros de Aguada in the Puerto Rican BSN (1st Division). Angel Matias, who played college ball at Georgia Southern until 2014-15 and played pro with Capitanes de Arecibo in the Puerto Rican BSN (1st Division). Jorge Matos, played pro ball this past season with Santeros de Aguada in the Puerto Rican BSN (1st Division). Xavier Zambrana, played pro this past season with Cariduros de Fajardo in the Puerto Rican BSN (1st Division).

    The competition will have 12 teams, so there are three more teams yet to qualify. There will be two Canadian teams that qualify from the Canada Quest Finals in Edmonton this weekend and it leaves one from a tournament I believe in Ecuador. The basketball is pretty phenomenal from what I have seen of it.


  • #2
    It'll be interesting to see of Team Saskatoon becomes Team Canada for the Olympics.


    • #3
      I am curious about that too. Depends who the rest of the world sends. I suspect we may send some NCAA Division 1 players that aren't on our 5 on 5 team, assuming we qualify. If we don't qualify I suspect we will see NBA players representing Canada. Since a lot of these players are older, I wonder if Steve Nash would come out of retirement to play 3x3?


      • #4
        I know I am likely the only one here who is super excited about this tournament, but the Canada Quest Finals went today at West Edmonton Mall and two more teams have qualified for Saturday.

        Montreal featuring: Kyle Desmarais, who played college ball at Central Connecticut State (NCAA Division I) in 2008-09, got hurt and then went to Concordia for 2010-2013 and then played at Bishop's in 2014-15. Sebastian Beckett, who played college ball at McGill from 2013 until this past year and has one year of eligibility remaining. Kevin Loiselle, who played pro ball this past season for Pacific Caesar Surabaya in the Indonesian IBL (1st Division). Mukiya Post, who playef college ball at Concordia from 2013-2015.

        Winnipeg featuring: Wyatt Anders, who played pro for the Cape Breton Highlanders of the NBLC last season. Jelane Pryce, who played college ball at the University of Winnipeg from 2013-2016. Matthew Koenig, who played college ball at Manitoba in 2013-14. O'Neil Gordon, who played pro for the Halifax Rainmen of the PBL in 2011.

        I am still missing one team and the official FIBA site hasn't been updated yet. I assume a schedule will be released in the next couple days. I am interested to see if they have any particular NBA or Team Canada players or trophies coming for what they are calling the Fan Interaction Village. It would be nice if they managed to get a Larry O'Brien Trophy (the NBA Championship) to be loaned out for the event. It would be cool if Saskatoon's own and current Utah Jazz player Trey Lyles is there signing autographs and taking pictures. Either way, I intend to be there from morning until night both days.


        • #5
          Gonna also give this a bump! Would love to see lots of people turn out to this world class event. I think the size and scale of the event is really going to wow people. The lower bowl bleachers are being brought over from Sasktel Center - going to have a full AV production with DJ, Giant Screen, live webcast to youtube and will be broadcast to over 150 countries. On court entertainment and as mentioned above - professional Dunkers are being flown in for the dunk competition.

          Lots of fun activities in the Fan Zones for all ages. Down 21st towards the Bes there are going to be hoops set up for shooting and skills competitions, down the other side of 21st towards 3rd will have entertainment for kids including a dunking bouncy castle!

          This event should be tons of fun and the downtown core will be busy. Taste of Saskatchewan is also happening in the park just a stone's throw away. And the best part about the event is that it's FREE to attend for everyone.

          Local tournament starts at 8:30am on the South side of 4th ave and the opening ceremonies for the main court start at 2pm on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

          Hope to see everyone down there having fun and supporting our local Saskatoon team!

          If anyone has any questions let me know.


          • #6
            This is great to hear some of the details since things have been sparse thus far. Apparently the schedule will be released on Wednesday I was told.

            Last team has been added to the list, Manta from Ecuador, featuring: Edgar Bernal, who played pro ball for ComuniKT in the Ecuadorian Premier League (1st Division) in 2014. Alexander Guerra, who played pro ball last season with Juvenil de Vinces of the Ecuadorian Premier League (1st Division). Martin Martinez, who last played pro ball in 2016 with Importadora Alvarado Ambato in the Ecuadorian Premier League (1st Division). Bernardo Moran, who last played pro ball with C.S. Emelec Guayaquil in the Ecuadorian Premier League (1st Division) in 2016.

            But curiously, Novi Sad AlWahada from the UAE has been dropped off the list of teams. Not entirely sure what happened, but I know that the players were representing Serbia at the European 3x3 Championships this past weekend.


            • #7
              So it looks like Novi Sad AlWahada from the UAE had trouble getting Visas to play this weekend, so they have been replaced by Humpolec from the Czech Republic, who feature: Ondrej Dygryn, who played pro last season with the Mistelbach Mustangs of the Austrian 2.Bundesliga (2nd Division). Vojtech Rudicky, who played pro this past season with JBC MMCITE Brno 2nd team in the Czech 2Liga (3rd Division). Ondrej Siska, who played pro last season with BK Armex Decin of the Czech NBL (1st Division). Roman Zachrla, who played pro last season with Sokol Slapanice in the Czech 1Liga (2nd Division).

              The schedule has also been released, with the tournament kicking off at 3 PM on Saturday with Ljubljana playing Princeton. Saskatoon follows at 3:20 PM against Winnipeg. The entire schedule can be found here: http://www.fiba.com/3x3worldtour/2017/saskatoon/games. It doesn't specifically give a time but the Dunk Contest and 3 Point Contest will take place with the Qualifying round happening on Saturday and the Semis and Finals on Sunday.

              Also, over in Kiwanis Park is Taste of Saskatchewan, so lots of different food to eat at this as well. I can't wait to see this all play out.


              • #8
                Wow what a great day of basketball. It was bloody hot out, so I only lasted the first four games, but what a fantastic event thus far. Day 1 saw some exciting dunks, some spectacular blocks and a whole lot of fast action.

                I missed what was probably the best game of the tournament thus far. Team Saskatoon beat Team Hamilton in OT (two points sudden death) 14-13.


                It was a packed house when I was this afternoon. They brought in the end seats from SaskTel Centre and created an arena that has a capacity of 800. Every seat was filled and they wouldn't let anyone else in unless there was a vacant seat. I was sitting in the South stands and they had four entrances in each corner. From what I could see both side of 4th Avenue on the North side was lined up all the way back to 22nd Street and I am sure the two behind me were lined up back to 20th Street.

                Tomorrow, see the Knockout round go:

                12:45 sees #1 Ljubljana from Slovenia take on #5 Humpolec from the Czech Republic
                13:15 sees #3 Liman from Serbia (who have a contingent of fans here, not sure if they came from Serbia or are the Serbian community in Saskatoon and area) take on #12 Hamilton from Ontario (who were a late addition when Manta from Ecuador ran into Visa problems)
                13:40 sees the most important game go with #2 from Saskatoon (if you want to see this game come for the 12:45 games as the stands will pack for the Bridge City Boys) take on #6 New York Harlem from NYC
                14:15 sees #10 Gurabo from Puerto Rico take on #8 Princeton from New Jersey

                Following that game, I believe the Three Point Shootout Finals take place.

                15:00 sees Semi-Final #1
                15:30 sees Semi-Final #2

                Following that game, the Dunk Contest Finals take place.

                16:30 sees the Final

                Before the opener, the VP from FIBA said a few words and he said this was just the beginning of Saskatoon hosting FIBA events. He didn't elaborate, but it made me sound like Saskatoon has put in a bid for a few 5 on 5 events. I suspect that SaskTel Centre will host one of Canada's first round qualifiers for the World Cup next June, either US Virgin Islands or the Dominican Republic. Halifax has the November qualifier, which is why I think this opening round will see the games stay out of bigger cities. So I suspect we will see one (or maybe both) game. I also suspect that this might be the beginning of a 3x3 revolution in Saskatoon. Last weekend, they had the World Championships for both Men and Women, Canada did not participate (not sure if we didn't qualify or just didn't enter). But I think FIBA was impressed by this event and I suspect that we might see that or one of the U20 or U18 3x3 Worlds here. Nothing is set in stone about this event. It is a three year deal (and the FIBA VP made it sound like it would keep coming as long as Saskatoon wanted it), but I am not sure whether that deal has dates set. I would like to see Saskatoon host the World Tour Finals, the only issue with that is that this would need to likely be an indoor event then as the finals this year in Beijing are October 21 and 22. I have seen some highlight videos of them being held inside malls, but even Midtown Plaza doesn't have a large enough atrium to hold 800 people and a full basketball court etc., so a Finals would have to be held at either the PAC (which capacity wise would be a good idea, but I am not sure the U of S would let them lay a SportCourt floor over their floor) or SaskTel Centre (which I am not sure whether they can still bring forward the seats from behind the other goal, so it could be a very cavernous place to hold it). I suspect Tourism Saskatoon wants this tied to Taste of Saskatchewan though. They have always had a marquee sporting event tied to it with the Great Northern River Roar (which I want to see brought back to Saskatoon, they had JetSki races on the river this afternoon and had me missing the F1 Powerboats), a couple years with a JetSki racing event and now this. So I suspect it will always be held in early July.

                My only negative, if you can call it that, is that holding this in downtown Saskatoon causes a parking problem. Now I don't mean the availability of spots, but rather on Saturdays the meters run until 6 PM. That is fine, if the City allowed you to park there all day. But these new smart meters are both great and stupid all at the same time. You can only park for a maximum of two hours at a meter, which was easy enough with the old meters at each stall. After those two hours, you had to move to another spot. But the City moved to meterless parking, with parking stations where you input your plate and deposit your money. The catch with these is on any normal day these are a good thing, you can move freely within the time you paid for from spot to spot. So if you had a dental appointment on 4th Avenue and then wanted to go for lunch at 2nd Avenue Grill, you put in the money for two hours, and after the 25 minute checkup you move your vehicle and park over by the restaurant no problem. Where the problem lies is the system will not let you plug the meter for a period of time (I haven't figured out how long you need) after those two hours because parking is a two hour maximum. So today, the opening ceremonies were at 2:30PM and the meters stop at 6:00 PM, so you are looking at 3.5 hours of metered parking and that doesn't include any time you intended to grab lunch at Taste of Saskatchewan or anywhere else in downtown. I was smart and paid the premium to park at the lot next to the old Police station at 4th Avenue and 23rd Street and paid the maximum daily rate of $10 (this lot is 24/7 paid, so my daily rate gave me until 6:00 AM meaning when I post this I have four hours of parking left that I am wasting). However, after I gave up in the heat after four games, it was about 5 PM and I was walking back to my vehicle, I noticed the fancy new ticket vehicle coming up 22nd Street between 5th and 4th Avenue ticketing people. Next year, I call on the City to turn the meters off on the Saturday of this tournament. Let people who want to (like I had intended to) come down and grab lunch at Taste of Saskatchewan and spend the whole day watching the games. Yes you are losing revenue for one day of parking and perhaps the intention was not for people to plunk their butts down and watch 12 games by forcing them to leave after two hours of street parking, but aren't the tourism dollars being brought in enough to shut down the meters for this event. I mean it isn't like two weekends ago, they didn't lose all the metered money having the 2nd Avenue Sidewalk Sale with the street blocked off. I am sure some people may not have gone because of this parking situation.

                My only other gripe, is the lack of a concession stand inside the "arena". They made it very clear that if you get up and vacate your seat, the volunteers will be plunking someone new in it. So after four games, I was sweating like a pig and incredibly thirsty and thus decided I guess it is time to go. Had I had a concession stand that didn't have me vacate the "arena" and thus lose my seat, I likely would have bought a bottle of water or pop and stayed for more games. Seems like it would be one way for this event to make money, as it is free entry for fans and there were no concession stands associated with the event even outside the "arena," if you wanted something you had to go over to Taste of Saskatchewan or any of the merchants in downtown to do so. Perhaps that was done on purpose, but it struck me as a little short sighted especially with it being over 30 degrees and the forecast foretelling this for over a week. Now this may not be anything the steering committee can do anything about, it could be a FIBA rule that prohibits this. For tomorrow, I know this now and will make sure to bring a water bottle or a Slurpee or something with me. I guess the only other issue is that there were no portapotties inside the "arena" either. So if beverages were sold, you'd have to leave to take a leak and then stand in the huge line to get back in. But if there is anyone reading this that is associated with the event (and I suspect with the thousands this site attracts, there has to be someone, who knows someone, who knows someone that this can be suggested to), please take this idea as a suggestion for next year. Of course, don't blame me if you plan for it and it is 15 degrees and threatening rain the whole weekend and you are stuck with pallets of Coke or Pepsi products afterwards.


                • #9
                  Final day of the FIBA 3x3 Masters Saskatoon event. Another warm day at the "arena" at 4th Avenue and 21st Street. It was an exciting day of basketball for fans. Today featured the Finals of the Three Point Competition:

                  Sadly, the three point competition had a bit of an issue. The first shooter was the winner and it was calm for him and he nailed 8. The next three shooters, the notorious Saskatchewan wind picked up and I am not sure any hit a single one. The wind died down for the last shooter and he nailed 8. They declared the first shooter the winner because he did it faster (seems like there was some confusion as they were starting to announce a tiebreaker round and then someone came over and they changed it to the announcement, I suspect they were running short on time).

                  The Finals of the Slam Dunk competition went today as well:

                  I didn't see the Dunks yesterday, so I am not sure how that went. But this was held after the Semi-Finals and featured two "professional" dunkers (I am not entirely sure what that means) and Team Saskatoon's Michael Lieffers. They had to hold up the contest for a few minutes as Lieffers hit the SportCourt during the Semi-Final game and needed a few stitches. He came out and did one dunk and pulled out due to injury. I suspect he may have split open the stitches and decided that the US$2,000 was not worth missing the Finals. The two dunks that are in the Tweets were the only two dunks the pros managed. I do not recall the third guy's name, but he didn't manage to make any of his dunks. Honestly, I was underwhelmed compared to what I am used to seeing at the NBA All-Star Game.

                  The games themselves saw Saskatoon and Ljubljana face off in the Finals for US$20,000.

                  Controversial end to a degree to this one. Games are either 10 minutes long or first to 21. Ljubljana's 21st point came on a goaltending call that was so obviously not goaltending. For those unaware of basketball rules, in FIBA play, goaltending is called when the ball is touched by the defending team when it is directly over the cylinder, assume a giant tube extending upwards from the rim. The penalty for goaltending is that the basket counts, despite it not going in. Well, this was not the case. The shot went up and Team Saskatoon (I am drawing a blank on who it was) swatted the ball away just below the rim on the left side of the cylinder. From my vantage point 35 feet away I could hear his hand smack the lower portion of the backboard. Thus, the ball was not over the cylinder, but rather on its trajectory toward the hoop. At that point it was 20-14 with about a minute left. It is likely that Ljubljana would have gotten to 21 before Saskatoon could tie it up. What irks me about this call, is that yesterday in one of the early games I saw one of the players literally jump up and grab the ball off the rim. It was the most textbook goaltending call I have ever seen in my 30 or so years of watching, playing and coaching basketball and it wasn't made. The officiating in the Final was inconsistent with what I had seen all of today and of the games I saw yesterday. When you have two Semi-Final games within an hour of the Final, where the two officials working the Final had called one of the previous games and set a standard, you do not suddenly tighten up and call every tiny infraction. I am loathe to blame the officials for the result of the Final, but this was a case where they had been consistently calling games to one standard during the tournament and suddenly switched in the Final. There were a lot of fouls that were called that were ticky-tack and cheap and wouldn't have been called in the Semi-Final. But regardless of that, I am proud of the play of Team Saskatoon. They represented the City well and the Province well. They didn't go home empty handed, finishing second earned them US$10,000.

                  Michael Linklater has definitely become someone Saskatoon can be proud of. He is someone that I expect to hear from for many, many years in the City. Apparently, he is off tomorrow to Toronto to coach Team Saskatchewan's basketball team at the North American Indigenous Games.

                  This was a fantastic event put on by Tourism Saskatoon and their many partners. Definitely something that will become a fixture in Saskatoon for many years to come. I hear they are already planning next year's event and fix some of the issues they had this year. I don't know what they consider issues and whether my post above plays in to it. But I did see this Tweet:

                  So it looks like they plan to have a bigger "arena" next year. I suspect they will have four SaskTel Centre stands brought in to ring the floor. This year they had two and a small set of aluminum bleachers on the other two sides. I did notice that overnight they attempted to jam a few more people in. They had four entrance/exits yesterday and today they only had two with the other two having small sets of bleachers set up in them. I know there were some disappointed people who were unable to get seats for the games. The problem with this being a general admission, free event is that if you got up and left, they replaced you with someone else in the seats. So it meant one of two things, either you saw one game and never got back in or you did like me and sat through four yesterday and four plus the three point finals and dunk finals today (I actually saw Saskatoon's Quarterfinal game from the crowd outside the gates). Based on the videos and pictures I have seen of previous events, I suspect this is the largest attended event in the tour's history. Not only because of the amount of people who passed through the gates, which I am going to speculate was likely pushing 15-20,000 unique visits (I say that because they had a clicker that they were marking each entry, so I assume there were people like me who came both days and were counted twice and people who may have left and possibly been able to come back in on the same day) and also simple capacity, the "arena" held 800 I was told. The pictures and videos I have seen of previous tour stops had small bleachers maybe 6 or 7 rows high or the stops were playing inside shopping malls where there isn't a lot of room.

                  The one thing I was curious about is what the contingency plan was if it had rained? I had no idea until I had gotten home, but the Final was actually played under a tornado watch for Saskatoon. Some parts of the City got some hail and some rain shortly around 6 PM, about 45 minutes after the tournament had wrapped up. The tornado system to the best of my knowledge petered out and didn't cause any issues anywhere in the Province. My shoulders are wishing that some of the cloud cover had shown up though. I was wearing a basketball jersey and am nicely burnt on my shoulders and back. I was smart enough to put sun screen on my arms, but didn't think about anywhere else, stupid me.


                  • #10
                    What I can't understand is how they finance this event. They charge no admission, and don't seem to have a ton of sponsorship (they list Wilson and Nike, then it is all Sask Tourism, City of Saskatchewan, etc).

                    Just closing the street, bringing in bleachers, and paying the prize money is already making for an expensive event. With no income from fans, I wonder how that works?

                    They got a bit lucky with the weather on the second day. It could've gotten nasty.


                    • #11
                      I honestly don't know how the funding works exactly. FIBA has tons of residual money much like FIFA does, they hold events continuously worldwide and I believe are the owners of the Euroleague competitions which would be the equivalent of the NHL owning all the games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I may be wrong about this, but I believe FIBA shoulders the costs of Euroleague not the clubs who qualify for it (aside from players' salaries), so FIBA takes in the bulk of the ticket revenue and whatever else the arena itself doesn't keep and then pays out both teams equally. The Euroleague for basketball in many countries draws 10,000+ per game and I believe the pool stage is round robin with pools of four and it is a large competition. Add in the World Cup competitions at various age groups and the trifling amount that FIBA paid out this weekend is a drop in the bucket. They said during one of the games that the bleachers from SaskTel Centre were donated by the Saskatoon Blades and Saskatchewan Rush. Obviously, they couldn't give away the bleachers, but it sounds like each team paid to have one set sent downtown and back. The seats were the end seats that were installed for the 2010 World Juniors, so they cost the City nothing. So that was paid for from those sponsors. The court and hoop set up I believe are FIBA's and travel from tour stop to tour stop, as is the technical equipment to make the YouTube (and TV broadcasts, I believe there is an recap tonight on TSN2). SIGA was a major partner in this too, I think that may have been what Michael Linklater's role was with bringing this here, as I understood he was the driver to bring the tournament to Saskatoon. I am going to guess that the Bessborough donated the hotel rooms and meals for the tournament. Canada Basketball had a role in this too, so I am sure they ponied up money as well. Pizza Hut was a major sponsor, as was Booster Juice. I know those don't sound like they would have tons of cash, but David Dube owns the Pizza Hut franchises for all of Saskatchewan and he is the one who basically bankrolls the U of S Huskies football team. Booster Juice's franchises in Saskatoon are also owned by someone very wealthy, a friend of my Dad's, his daughter bought into a couple of them and I know they generate huge money.

                      The prize money was not huge, the winner Ljubljana got US$20,000 and Saskatoon got US$10,000. The rest of the teams got nothing for prize money. The dunk contest winner pocketed US$2,000 and the second place and third place pocketed US$500 each. The Long Distance Shootout winner got something, but it wasn't cash it looked like a digital camera or an iPad or something. I couldn't quite see and they didn't mention what was in the box. US$33,250 or there abouts is the total, and that is probably a stupidly slow day at the SIGA casinos.

                      But I am sure a good chunk of the money for the tournament came from FIBA. FIBA dictated that this is a free event and had to be hosted in the City Centre. I'm assuming that FIBA paid for the flights for the teams involved (or that was paid for by the qualifying tournaments they had to win to get in to Saskatoon via, only Hamilton got in through a side door, Ljubljana and Hamamatsu got in through their rankings last year and FIBA allowed them to choose a couple events to get into directly) so I doubt the local committee had to put up the cash for that.

                      This is the list of qualifying tournaments and who put them on, so I would imagine that this is where the flights came from: http://www.fiba.com/3x3worldtour/201...how-to-qualify

                      The only other expense that is maybe incurred by the local steering committee is the winner's flight to Beijing for the World Finals. But I suspect that FIBA (or their national basketball federation) pays for that.

                      Closing the street down, cost nothing and I am sure that was the only thing the City did directly on this one, they would have been stupid to charge the local organizers anything for that because the exposure Saskatoon got from this tournament is huge. There was no police hired as security and I didn't see any cops, who wouldn't normally be at an event like this there. I saw the couple cops who walk the beat downtown walk through and I saw the bike guys, who patrol through things like that. I am not entirely sure I saw any uniformed security at the event, just the volunteers.

                      They did get lucky with the weather, you are right and I honestly am not sure what the contingency plan was. Michael Linklater commented on the wind and said that normally these things have a roof overhead that keeps the wind out. But as I said above from what I could tell, this was the largest "arena" constructed for this and plans are for it to be bigger next year too. So I am assuming that either you do it small and have a capacity of 300-400 and put a roof over the court or you put capacity at 800 (and 1,600 next year) and you just hope that conditions are good. Quite honestly, I am thinking it would have been better weatherwise if it was slightly cooler and maybe partly cloudy. I know I heard from some people (and experienced it myself) that it was too hot to be sitting there baking for long periods of time. I have a pretty good sunburn to show for my efforts yesterday.

                      On a side note, what was nice to see was the amount of people in NBA stuff I saw both days. I am by no means suggesting it means we should have a NBA team here, but I probably saw a good half of the NBA teams represented by a fan. So it does speak to the popularity of the league as a whole, that despite what the Raptors think, at least out West we are not Raptors fans by and large. For the record I am an Orlando Magic fan and have been since Shaq was drafted. Day two I was wearing a Clippers jersey I had received as a gift. I am indifferent to the Clippers, but wearing my Magic jersey two days in a row without washing was not a good idea. But it is nice to see that we actually have a good basketball fanbase here. Definitely, I suspect there would be support for a minor league basketball team of some regard (actually I have heard there is a league interested in coming here for January). The reason I take wearing NBA merchandise as a sign that would work is that people were not there as curious onlookers, who simply walked over from Taste of Saskatchewan to cheer on Team Saskatoon, but rather a large group of basketball fans, who came to watch basketball.


                      • #12
                        Normally the city would charge a substantial fee to close off a downtown street for an event, but perhaps they made it an in-kind contribution to the event. By the sounds of it, this event would've cost somewhere in the six figures to run. Not a huge sum, but a fair bit to pull off without an income stream, aside from sponsorship and grants. If FIBA bankrolls much of it, that certainly makes it easier.

                        The old Saskatoon Storm (I think) minor basketball team was well supported, but the franchise and especially the leagues it played in were not well run. Fan support in Saskatoon was definitely not the problem. With the Rush doing so well, I'm sure a lot of leagues are looking at Saskatoon.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gilligan View Post
                          Normally the city would charge a substantial fee to close off a downtown street for an event, but perhaps they made it an in-kind contribution to the event. By the sounds of it, this event would've cost somewhere in the six figures to run. Not a huge sum, but a fair bit to pull off without an income stream, aside from sponsorship and grants. If FIBA bankrolls much of it, that certainly makes it easier.

                          The old Saskatoon Storm (I think) minor basketball team was well supported, but the franchise and especially the leagues it played in were not well run. Fan support in Saskatoon was definitely not the problem. With the Rush doing so well, I'm sure a lot of leagues are looking at Saskatoon.
                          There is one that has Saskatoon on its radar for January. The North American Premier Basketball (dumb sounding name in its full length, NAPB isn't as bad) is a new league growing out of an old league, which grew out of another league. The Rochester Razorsharks of the Premier Basketball League, for some reason have decided to create a better league (even though they ran and organized the PBL) to tip off in January. The idea is to place teams in former NBA, D-League and CBA cities across North America. They have commitments apparently from investors in Seattle, Vancouver and Las Vegas, as well as the aforementioned Razorsharks. They plan to tip off with 8 teams and grow to 12 for 2019 and like any of these league keep expanding. They are eyeing Winnipeg as well and Western Canada. The Commissioner, who they hired away from the current National Basketball League of Canada (which has teams in Ontario and the Maritimes and has expressed desires to move into Western Canada but have been saying that since they started), also named other cities in Western Canada as targets, I forget a number of them but Medicine Hat and Red Deer were mentioned. I don't recall Regina being one of the cities he mentioned, but I am sure much like any league like this if an investor showed up from Regina, they would look at it.

                          I would love to see pro basketball back in Saskatoon, but the problem is very few leagues can make a go of it playing weeknights, so they all target the weekends. The problem is that from January until March (though bless their optimism the Blades book until May), the Blades and Rush will occupy every weekend. With the Rush preferring Saturday night games, the turf needs to go in for Friday shoot around for both teams. I am not sure how long it takes to tear down the Rush's carpet and put down the basketball floor, but the best a basketball team could hope for is a Sunday evening game on Rush weekends. The Blades typically will play a Friday and a Sunday afternoon set of games and basketball ruins the ice (as a Kings fan I have found this out many times when the Clippers or Lakers play the night before a Kings game), so the Blades won't go for that. So it means this team would have to play weeknight games, which are likely killers for attendance.

                          You are right the Saskatchewan Storm and the Saskatoon Slam did very well. I remember being at Game 2 of the 1993 NBL Finals where Sask Place was sold out for the Slam game. 11,000 and change were in the building to watch them lose. Of course the next night we didn't go for Game 3 and missed the Slam winning the first professional title (or I guess really first title period) at Sask Place. Both teams averaged in the 4-5,000 range which was far above what the rest of the league drew. The NAPB has set a minimum capacity of 2,500 for venues. So the breakeven point would have to be at best that, so if the Saskatoon team could draw what the Storm/Slam did that would turn a profit. The kicker is that the Storm and Slam played a summer schedule and had nothing but the Riders for competition. The Saskatchewan Hawks on the other hand played a winter schedule (and I went to many games of their's) and I believe they averaged 1,000 per game. The thing with that is they played in leagues before there was a D-League, I remember former NBA players playing for both the Hawks and their opponents, there were plenty of guys I recognized from March Madness games etc. but people didn't take to winter basketball for some reason. There were tons of issues as far as ownership goes for the Hawks, so it wasn't just seasonal that drove people away. The first owner was someone from Ohio, who moved the team midseason to Saskatoon from Youngstown. He desperately wanted to sell the team, so promotion wasn't the greatest here since I am not sure his staff moved from Youngstown and they hired no local staff. The next owner was Tom Tao from Vancouver, I will never forget that guy. In an effort to convince people to come to Hawks games the home opener was free and attracted 8 or 9,000 people. He spoke before the game and promised to give away a million dollars at the final game and had all sorts of promotions to win cars he promised. He even had the Mayor come and do the ceremonial tipoff and as a gift he gave the City a Chinese vase (I swear it is the one that sits at the Great Buffet of China restaurant now). He also promised that he would be at every game and by the end of the season he'd know every fan by name. He took off and never came back after that first game, by midseason bills were not getting paid and it was a right mess. The league I believe stepped in and took over the team and nursed it through that season. Their final year SIGA bought the team, on the financial side everything was fine, bills got paid, as did Tom Tao's debts from the previous year. The team was good too and made the playoffs, but by then fans had checked out. I remember going to a game just before Christmas where for a food donation to the food bank (literally toss a can of soup in the bin) you could get in free and there was less than 800 people there. It was so quiet that you could hear the fans yelling. My little brother has to remind me that I am not their coach because I yell and scream and basketball games as if I am their coach. By about the third quarter one of the Hawks on the bench turned around and yelled something back to me. I forget exactly what he said, but it was if you think you can do better than Coach, he says you are welcome to come down here and try. I shut up the rest of that game, but that was how quiet it was in there. Another game, the other team had a big, slow, white player, who had made a name for himself with UCONN a couple years previous. Everytime he touched the ball, my brother and I would yell yay white guy. We could tell it was getting under his skin. The games were fun, but at the end of the year they moved some playoff games to St. Joseph's High School and in early July SIGA pulled the plug on the team.

                          So there was a bit of an issue with finances that kept people away by that third season. So I am not sure how it would go this time around. Not only that but back then, they only had the U of S teams (which predated the PAC, so I am sure there wasn't tons of support) and the Blades as competition. The NAPB has the Rush marketing juggernaut to contend with. Unfortunately, for any sports team that plays at SaskTel Centre, fans expect the party from the Rush games. I did a double dip one weekend and went to a Rush game Friday night and a Blades game on a Sunday afternoon and the Blades game was a dead atmosphere. The fans were not loud, the music of course was not pounding, the announcers were not hyping the game, at a few points in the game you could hear the lights buzzing, even those Hawks games above I mentioned, you couldn't hear that. So if a basketball team comes to Saskatoon, I hope a) the owners are local or know the local market (I know Bruce Urban of the Rush had made an offer to buy the Blades, so perhaps he'd be interested), i.e. no Tom Tao's and b) they were at the 3x3 tournament, as that was sort of how to do a basketball game. I'd have a different style of music, as the clean hip hop they were playing wasn't great and it wasn't loud and definitely not have the guy from the tour do the hyping, he was annoying. Mike Ciona from CTV did a good job, but he is a USports/SABO ref, so if he is involved it will be as a referee, not a hype man. But when the LFL was here Seth Armstrong from Rock 102 did a great job and he would definitely be good on the mic for basketball (assuming he knows the game). But if Bruce Urban was involved, I am sure a lot of the Rush in-game stuff would carry over and it would make the atmosphere better (and you wouldn't hear me yelling, I stopped the one game but still haven't shut up at basketball. I am planning to go see the Globetrotters in October and I am curious if I am able to shut up knowing their games are more sports entertainment than legitimate sports.). So we shall see what happens with the NAPB, but I reserve judgement on the league until January 2018 happens and they actually tip off. Suffice to say the guy starting it up has an iffy track record, but he did start the PBL in 2009 and it is still running, though his team is the only one left from the original set.


                          • #14
                            I think the Blades either need to be brought under the same ownership as the Rush, or they should consider playing at the new U of S arena. Then again, they are probably profitable drawing 3-4K per game at SaskPlace, so they may not have much motivation to change what they're doing.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gilligan View Post
                              I think the Blades either need to be brought under the same ownership as the Rush, or they should consider playing at the new U of S arena. Then again, they are probably profitable drawing 3-4K per game at SaskPlace, so they may not have much motivation to change what they're doing.
                              It would make sense for Bruce Urban to own the Blades, but the Priestners rejected his offer to buy them. Merlis Belsher Place would be a good idea, but it is too small at 3,300 and unavailable during the weekends. The way Canada West sets up their schedule, the Huskies Men's and Women's team alternate home weekends. The Blades are losing money, as are pretty much every Major Junior team in the country, if you believe the financials the CHLPA lawsuit had released. For the Blades to break even, I suspect it is similar to that of the Rush. Bruce Urban said that when the Rush moved here, he needed 7,000 per game to break even. If you discount player salaries for the Blades, they need 5,000 probably for break even. The problem with playing at a smaller arena is that it doesn't allow for large crowds for Teddy Bear Toss Night or if they get their act together and make the playoffs. Playoff games in the past have drawn 8 or 9,000.

                              If they could somehow make it work, I'd like to see a SJHL team play out of Merlis Belsher Place. I am not entirely sure how that would work either with the Huskies schedule though. But having just moved back to Saskatoon at Christmas from Lloydminster, I became a fan of Junior A and quite honestly enjoyed those games more than watching the Blades play. It is a shame that Warman's attempt at a SJHL team died due to lack of local corporate support. The Legends Centre is a perfect size for the SJHL and is close enough to Saskatoon that it would draw more than the Warman-Martensville Metroplex for fans. I know if the price was reasonable, I'd consider getting season tickets for the SJHL. I suspect at least a few times before the snow flies, I will head out to Humboldt for a game and I plan to take in the SJHL Showcase in Warman. I will probably do a couple Blades games, mostly to see the BC Division teams when they are in town. I also plan to take in at least the final regular season game (and the final home playoff games) for the Huskies Men's hockey team. Of course, I have Rush season tickets too.



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