Maccabi Bazan Haifa opens up its regular season in Israel on Monday, October 8 at the team’s newly renovated 5,000 seat Romema Arena, becoming the second largest indoor arena in Israel. The team will fly the next day to the United States for the exhibition tour against the Warriors and Timberwolves.
Maccabi Bazan Haifa’s trip to the United States will mark the second time in three years the team will travel to the United States to play against NBA competition, having faced the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets (formerly New Jersey) at the Prudential Center on October 3, 2010, losing 108-70. Haifa was scheduled to play a preseason game against the NBA’s Orlando Magic last October, but the game was canceled due to the NBA lockout.
Maccabi Bazan Haifa has a long and storied legacy as it was one of the original eight teams to form the Israeli Premier League for the 1954 season. Under the ownership of American businessman Jeffrey Rosen, the team has earned a playoff appearance in three out of the last five seasons and was the Super League runner-up during the 2008-09 season in the team’s first year back in the Super League after a 10-year absence.
Maccabi Bazan Haifa’s charity program, “Haifa Hoops for Kids”, a joint initiative between Maccabi Bazan Haifa and United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey, has brought over 11,000 underprivileged and special needs children in Israel to Maccabi Bazan Haifa home games.
Maccabi Bazan Haifa’s 30-minute magazine show, Inside Israeli Basketball, which was nominated for a 2012 NY Emmy® Award for Best Sports Program Series, airs on 7 Regional Sports Networks in 43.5 million households across the United States, including Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the Warriors television broadcast partner. The show captures the intricacies of Israel and the Super League seen through the eyes of Maccabi Bazan Haifa’s American players and their Israeli teammates.
“We are thrilled to play against the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves,” said Maccabi Bazan Haifa owner Jeffrey Rosen. “Our goal is to build Maccabi Bazan Haifa into one of the strongest brands in international basketball and playing against NBA competition annually will only increase our team’s popularity.”
“We’re excited about the opportunity to play Maccabi Bazan Haifa during the upcoming preseason and look forward to the team’s visit to the Bay Area,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “The game of basketball has experienced incredible growth on an international basis over the last two decades and, as a result, preseason games of this nature are extremely important as we continue to increase the game’s popularity and visibility globally.”
“We’re extremely excited to host one of Europe’s premier teams in Maccabi Bazan Haifa,” said Timberwolves President Chris Wright. “As our great game’s popularity continues to grow exponentially internationally, it’s extremely important that we expose our fans to the best European basketball. The preseason offers us the unique opportunity to play teams from around the world and we look forward to Maccabi’s stay in the Twin Cities.”
“As one of Europe’s top teams, Maccabi Bazan Haifa will provide great competition for our club as we get ready for the 2012-13 season,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn. “As our roster features some of the best international talent in the world in Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea, we continue to see European players make huge impacts on NBA teams. As the NBA continues to expand globally, I expect that trend to only grow in the coming years. It’s great to have the opportunity to compete internationally.”
Source: SF Consulate