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Sydney Kings to host Melbourne United in historic Christmas clash

Australian sporting history will be made later this year when Sydney Kings host Melbourne United on Christmas Day for an NBL game at Qudos Bank Arena.

The NBL has decided to take the plunge and become the first major Australian sporting code to stage a Christmas game, with tip-off to come at 7.30pm [AEDT] between the league's defending champions and their great Victorian rivals.

"We are thrilled to be bringing such a massive encounter to Christmas Day, particularly given we will be the first professional sport in this country to do so," NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.

"Sports fans across Australia and New Zealand have been asking for live sport on Christmas and we are excited to bring them world-class basketball and entertainment on what is a very special day for so many.

"Christmas Day has become a marquee day on the NBA calendar and we're confident it will have a similar impact for us and our clubs.

"The Kings have been very proactive in wanting to host the first Christmas Day game and we're confident they'll do a great job."

The NBL has taken a leaf out of the NBA's playbook, with the Association having long staged a bumper Christmas Day line-up that has included five back-to-back games.

"It's the last scheduling frontier in sport in Australia," Kings co-owner Paul Smith said.

"We are a changing society. Christmas isn't a holy event for all of us, and it can be a lonely day for a lot of people.

"So, to be able to come out to a world-class venue for a world-class game of hoops, or just watching the Sydney Kings at home on television, it's a game changer."