The province is investing up to $1 million to support the Winnipeg Sea Bears' bid to host the 2025 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Championship Weekend in the summer of 2025.

Premier Heather Stefanson and Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Obby Khan made the announcement Thursday morning,   

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

“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 and now they have a professional team to call their own.”

The Manitoba government’s $1-million commitment would help support the required upgrades and resources necessary to strengthen the Winnipeg Sea Bears bid for hosting the championship. These upgrades would also support the team’s ability to expand its year-round community programming, which would improve the quality and growth of basketball in Manitoba, the minister noted.

“We sincerely appreciate the Manitoba government’s support in our inaugural season and their commitment to support the growth of sport and culture throughout our province,” said Jason Smith, president, Winnipeg Sea Bears. “We are confident hosting the 2025 CEBL Championship Weekend will create significant community and economic benefits for the province, and will showcase Winnipeg as an elite destination of choice.”

The CEBL Championship Weekend will showcase the top four CEBL teams and feature a five-day festival, annual awards, a concert featuring top local and Canadian artists, a youth basketball tournament, community clinics and a championship after party. It is anticipated that the weekend will bring in more than 1,300 visitors and engage more than 10,000 spectators through a variety of activities and programming.

The CEBL is the only official pro basketball league endorsed by the national basketball federation, Canada Basketball, made up of 10 teams in six provinces.