WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government is investing $1 million to support the Winnipeg Sea Bears’ bid to host the 2025 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Championship Weekend in Winnipeg. Premier Heather Stefanson and Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage Obby Khan made the announcement this morning at Canada Life Centre joined by the Winnipeg Sea Bears’ executive and team, along with prominent members of the local basketball and business communities.


“The Sea Bears have already had an enormous impact on Manitoba’s sport scene,” said Premier Heather Stefanson. “They are bringing more people downtown to enjoy all Winnipeg has to offer. That’s why we are thrilled to provide $1 million toward their bid for the 2025 CEBL Championship Weekend, which will bring even more economic stimuli downtown. Go Sea Bears!”

“The Winnipeg Sea Bears are incredibly special to Winnipeg, attracting the largest attendances in CEBL history and bringing a whole new crowd to sporting events in the downtown core,” said Khan. “Basketball is the second-fastest growing sport in Canada, and the Sea Bears are showing that Winnipeg is a basketball town while creating a sense of belonging and community pride. Many newcomers to Canada might not be football or hockey fans, but they are basketball fans. Now they have a professional team to call their own.”

“We greatly appreciate the Manitoba government’s support in our inaugural season and their commitment to the growth of sport and culture throughout our province,” said Sea Bears President Jason Smith. “We are confident hosting the 2025 CEBL Championship Weekend will create significant community and economic benefits for many years to come and we are excited to share more great basketball with our amazing fans.”

The provincial investment will support the required upgrades and resources necessary to bolster the Sea Bears’ bid for hosting the national event in 2025. It is anticipated the weekend will bring in more than 1,300 visitors and engage more than 15,000 spectators through  a variety of activities and programming. 

Championship Weekend is the final celebration of each CEBL season. Alongside the top four teams, the weekend features a five-day festival including the annual CEBL Awards, a major concert lineup featuring top local and Canadian artists, the Commissioner's Breakfast, a 3x3 youth basketball tournament, community clinics and a Championship after-party. 

The provincial investment will also support the Sea Bears’ ability to expand their year-round community programming, a key priority for the organization as they continue to build in the coming months and years. 

After finishing second in the Western Conference, the Sea Bears will play in their first-ever playoff game this Friday, August 4. Due to continued demand by fans, the team has opened the upper bowl of Canada Life Centre for the matchup against the third-seeded Edmonton Stingers. Sea Bears fans are encouraged to help the team get one step closer to Championship Weekend by securing their tickets and limited- edition “TOGETHER” playoff shirts.

“We are humbled by the overwhelming public response of the return of professional basketball to Winnipeg, and we sincerely thank our fans for their support throughout this unprecedented season and as we head into the playoffs,” Smith said.

The Winnipeg Sea Bears look forward to continuing to work with the province and all its partners as they move forward in the formal CEBL bidding process.


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