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Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames to benefit from purpose-built training facility

Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames to benefit from purpose-built training facility
March 11, 2023

The Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames will soon be the only professional basketball teams in Australia to have a purpose-built training facility, with $20 million of public funding to be used for a new centre in the suburb of Auburn.

Funding to build the facility will come include a $15 million grant from the NSW Government's Centre of Excellence Fund, while the Cumberland City Council will inject $5 million into the project, which will be built in Lidcombe in Sydney's western suburbs, adjacent to the Auburn Basketball Centre.

The Kings and Flames, both of which operate within Hoops Capital Pty Ltd, will become the first and only NBL and WNBL teams, respectively, to have an exclusive, purpose-built practice facility.

The building will feature two courts, high-performance sports science and medical facilities, a strength and conditioning facility, recovery spaces, a player lounge, and office space, among other amenities. It will be the permanent and exclusive headquarters for both teams, with the courts also set to be utilised for the Hoops Capital Academy.

Welcoming the funding, Hoops Capital Chairman, Paul Smith stated “for me, this is a really important point in the big plan for what we want to do with basketball, and what we want to do with the Kings and Flames.

"Building a legitimate facility, a legitimate home, that's tangible, it's aspirational. It's the things we want it to be. From my side, this is an amazing outcome. I still think it's not quite real to people.

"I hope that it's a precedent that NBL and WNBL clubs can use as a point of reference, to say 'they're doing it, why are we getting that?'. And then understanding why that isn't happening. There's always legitimate reasons from government. We know that this funding wouldn't be possible if we weren't co-joined with the Kings and the Flames. We know that. We would have no chance at receiving any funding of the government just running a men's program."

While the Kings and Flames' ownership may contemplate financial contributions to the project at some stage, the current plan is for the facility to remain a publicly owned asset.

Smith noted “this sits on the balance sheet of Cumberland City Council - it's built on crown land - so it can't be privately owned, and it's never intended to be privately owned.

"What we're establishing is an asset and a legacy for the city and community. This is not a private facility; it's a public facility, publicly funded, designed to service the needs of the community. Now, those needs extend from the role of primarily servicing professional basketballers, but also there's a role to create pathways for kids; for juniors to come through, knowing there's an academy facility, and an opportunity to see and feel where the pros play and train is the ability for young people to go, 'that's where I wanna be'.”

The $15 million figure was the maximum the NSW Government could contribute as part of its Centre of Excellence Fund initiative. The terms of the grant indicate that construction of the new facility must begin by February 2024, with the expectation it would be completed within two years. Given that time frame, both the Kings and Flames will be able to function out of the facility ahead of the 2026/27 seasons.

Images: Concepts for the new training facility for the Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames.

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