The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has announced that its 3×3 World Tour will this year feature a record 11 dates, with the season to stretch over the course of eight months for the first time.
The Tour will tip off in Doha, Qatar in mid-April and conclude with the Utsunomiya Final in Japan in early November. It will mark the first time that the Tour has visited Qatar.
Other new cities include Los Angeles in the US, Montreal in Canada and Nanjing in China. Returning host cities include Chengdu, China; Debrecen, Hungary; Lausanne, Switzerland; Mexico City, Mexico; Prague, Czech Republic; Saskatoon, Canada; and the aforementioned Utsunomiya.
Fiba 3×3 managing director Alex Sanchez said: “Every year the Fiba 3×3 World Tour is growing. This year, we not only increased the number of events, we also increased the length of the season. The World Tour has now become a year-round competition.”
The Tour debuted in 2012. Teams representing cities from around the world qualify for 10 Masters and a Final through a worldwide network of qualifying tournaments.
Utsunomiya will stage the season finale just nine months before basketball’s 3×3 discipline makes its Olympic debut at next year’s summer Games in Tokyo.
“The Fiba 3×3 World Tour Final will be a great foretaste of the 3×3 Olympic tournament,” Sanchez added. “In fact, the World Tour will play a key role in helping players prepare for the Olympics. Furthermore, by competing at the World Tour and related Challengers, the professional 3×3 players will help their country of origin climb up the rankings and maximise their chances to make it to the Olympics.”
Last year’s World Tour was won by the Novi Sad Al Wahda team, which finished the season undefeated in 32 games.