The All Native Basketball Tournament has been postponed to March 27, event organizers announced on Jan. 7.
The 10 tournament committee members met on Jan. 7, and decided to move back the start date from Feb. 12, due to the worsening COVID-19 situation.
“The committee wanted to give communities a lot of time to be ready for this,” Peter Haugan, tournament organizer, told Black Press Media, on Jan. 10.
Registered teams welcomed the news of the delay, he said. The competition draws teams and visitors from all over North America.
“They’re all happy that we moved it back because they want to have the All Native — they just don’t want it to be an unhealthy environment,” Haugan said.
More than 50 teams have registered for the event so far.
However, the tournament’s overall future remains “iffy” should this year’s iteration not happen.
“What I mean by iffy is it’s going to need funds from somewhere,” Haugan said.
This year’s tournament has fewer sponsors than previous years, with only $50,000 worth of sponsorships raised so far.
“We used to run on fan support, and the fan support has been great, but we haven’t upped ticket prices because we’ve had sponsorship. The only other place to get [money] would be ticket prices, and we don’t want to raise ticket prices,” Haugan said.
One ticket for a session, which is three to six games depending on the venue, costs $8 with the season ticket costing $150 to see each of the more than 100 matches.
“The tournament had to seek out a [$40,000] loan to keep the lights on this year,” Haugan said.
Without the tournament, there are operating costs that remain just to keep the lights on, including paying for office space and utilities.
The tournament typically sees more than 5,000 fans in attendance per day and generates about $300,000 dollars for the organization.
For teams still wishing to register, the deadline for entry fees, rosters is March 4 and may contact Peter Haugan at 250-624-1690 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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