FANS are the winner after the ANZ Championship released its 2016 fixture which will see the ninth season begin with a Friday night double-header in Auckland and Brisbane on 1 April next year.
League organisers have released the 14-week regular season fixture with consistent and family friendly match times the main focus to ensure games are accessible to our current and future fans.
Amongst a number of improvements for 2016, weekly Saturday twilight games will be introduced and the Sunday night match in New Zealand will be brought forward to Sunday afternoon as the league looks to stagger games across the weekend.
“Following a review at the conclusion of the 2015 season, we’ve worked closely with our teams and broadcast partners, SKY Sport, FOX SPORTS and Network Ten, to deliver a season for the fans,” ANZ Championship General Manager Andy Crook said.
“We believe the consistency in the timing of matches for the 2016 season will support the continued growth of the league and teams across Australia and New Zealand.”
The ANZ Championship continues its move towards larger venues with reigning champions the Mission Queensland Firebirds, along with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, NSW Swifts, Melbourne Vixens, West Coast Fever and Mainland Tactix, to take regular season fixtures to premier stadia.
The Firebirds will take regular season fixtures, including the much anticipated Grand Final rematch against the Swifts in Round 5, to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre after a successful finals series at the venue.
“Taking the ANZ Championship to world class venues remains a strategic priority, however it needs to be done so in a calculated manner and we believe that collectively this is being achieved,” Crook said.
The Firebirds will put the Challenge Trophy on the line in when they defend the title in the opening round against the Tactix at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.
The 2016 ANZ Championship Finals Series will be expanded to a month-long format with a week’s break between matches with the Grand Final contested on the last weekend of July.
Australia’s Network Ten has confirmed that the ANZ Championship’s Sunday 12.00pm (AEST) game will be live on primary channel TEN in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide and ONE in Perth.
Click here to download the 2016 ANZ Championship draw.
2016 ANZ Championship Draw Highlights
- 2016 season begins with a Friday night double header on 1 April 2016 in Auckland and Brisbane.
- The Finals Series will be played over 4 weekends with the Conference Elimination Final and Conference Finals to be contested over two weekends.
- NZ based Sunday night games will move to 4.00pm (NZT) Sunday afternoon.
- Weekly Saturday 5.00pm (AEST) games in Australia introduced for the first time in 2016.
- All 72 games will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS and SKY Sport in Australia and New Zealand.
- Sunday 12.00pm (AEST) fixtures will be simulcast live on FOX SPORTS, Channel TEN in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, along with ONE in Perth, and streamed on Netball Live app in Australia.
- Netball Live app will live stream all ANZ Championship games played in Australia and all 72 games will be available on demand (Australian residents only).
- More games at larger stadiums with Titanium Security Arena (Adelaide), Allphones Arena (Sydney), Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Brisbane), Perth Arena (Perth), Hisense Arena (Melbourne), Horncastle Arena (Christchurch) to host regular season games.
- The ANZ Championship returns to Newcastle, Australia, for the first time since 2012 when the Swifts host West Coast Fever at Newcastle Entertainment Centre in Round 11 on Saturday, 11 June.
- Challenge Trophy defence in Round One with the Queensland Firebirds hosting Mainland Tactix.
- The Grand Final and Australian Conference Final rematch between Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts will be played at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Round 5.
- New Zealand Conference Final rematch between Kia Magic and Northern Mystics in Round 8.
- NSW Swifts new high profile recruit Laura Langman will need to wait until Round 13 before she takes on her former SKYCITY Mystics teammates for the first time since crossing the Tasman.