Turn the Music Down

As I sat in the stands at the State Basketball Centre and took in a high quality WNBL clash between Bendigo Spirit and Melbourne Boomers on Sunday - something struck me.

I could hear my own thoughts, mostly because there wasn’t music booming while the game was on.

Compared to the blaring volume and questionable taste of the MC’s for Melbourne United and Dandenong Rangers games and other matches around the country, this was blissful.

To my mind, most Australian basketball supporters either take in the game via NBA live streams from the US or first hand playing at local basketball clubs.

We aren’t indoctrinated into the loud music and bright lights of live NBA games - all we are used to is hearing the squeaking of basketball boots and the referee’s whistle.

So in an effort to connect with more local basketball lovers why aren’t NBL and WNBL teams trying to match the atmosphere local basketballers are most comfortable with.

In other words it’s time to ditch the loud, constant music and give our educated basketball public the headspace to take in our excellent national league games and talk with their friends and family while doing it.

You see the strongest element of Australian basketball is the connections we make with our teammates, workmates and clubmates.

Especially at WNBL matches, where associations run the teams, you see this in action with teenage teammates watching games together and past club mates also watching on, sometimes to support a friend in the team or simply to enjoy the game.

At Melbourne United’s last home game against New Zealand Breakers I couldn’t talk to the person next to me in the media box without shouting, same for Dandenong Rangers home game this same weekend.

Both Andrew Gaze and Andrew Bogut took to social media to demanded DJs kill the music and turn down the volume last week.

Bogut lives on the other side of the world but he is hearing this message loud and clear.

If their demands aren’t heard then it shows the DJs are running the show at our national league clubs and not the basketballers.

This would explain why too many of our national league matches are neither fan friendly nor family friendly and why there is a disconnect between our elite teams and grass roots players.

Our national leagues need to set volume standards for stadium public address systems and music restrictions for in-game and time out situations.

These limits need to be set immediately and maintained by the threat of fines and suspensions for the staff member in charge of the volume.

In an age of spent-thrift governments and super-competitive sports marketing, supporters have many reasons not to spend their money on a basketball ticket.

It’s long past time for clubs officials to take back control of the volume switch and let the game speak for itself.

I promise you it has a compelling voice.


Follow me on Twitter @rpjward

Follow Downtown @Downtownball


Author of the article

After leading my under-18 side in baldness and bench minutes I realised my basketball talents were best outside the court. I’ve covered basketball and other sports for Fairfax Media and Rural Press, I’m proud to have met and told the stories of many of Australia’s best basketballers both in country and overseas. I love basketball in all forms and all levels. Follow me on twitter: @downtownball

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

Leave a Reply