Leicester Riders have a lot to be happy about in 2015. Fans have been flocking to Loughborough University to support the Riders, and have sold out the last two home games in 2014, the club is expecting the large crowds to continue this year. It has also been announced that Sport England have confirmed £1.25 million of funding for the Leicester Community Sports Arena.
The final game of 2014 against the Worcester Wolves and the opening victory against the Leeds Force both reached capacity at the Sir David Wallace Arena at Loughborough. Attendances have continued to grow since the club made the change to the Loughborough based venue for the 2014/15 season.
Russell Levenston, Managing Director spoke of his excitement seeing the fan base of the club continue to grow.
“It is great to see the crowds grow and allow us reach capacity at Loughborough twice already this BBL season. The move gave an increased capacity for the year and so we are really happy that more people are enjoying Riders basketball, week in, week out and it really does help the team to have such tremendous support. We hope to maintain the attendance in the second half of the season and our BBL Trophy game on January 17th is projected to sell out, very positive for the club.”
Leicester Riders return at home on January 17 where they face Leeds Force, in the BBL Trophy knockout action. According to the club ticket sales project that the game will once again be sold out making it the third consecutive game in a row.
Work has already begun this week on the new £4.5 million Community Sports Arena, which will be home to the Leicester Riders and Leicester Cobras Wheelchair Basketball Teams. It will also be a regional basketball centre of excellence, and serve as a large multi-use sports venue for the College and the local community.
The multi-purpose sports arena based in Charter Street, is a joint venture between Leicester Riders, Leicester City Council and Leicester College. All three partners are providing funding, along with the Sport England and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, said, “The right facilities in the right areas are fundamental in providing more people with the opportunity to play sport. Our £1.25 million investment in the new Leicester Community Sports Arena will help meet the sporting needs of the city by creating facilities for not only staging large indoor events but also encouraging more people to take up sport and create a lifelong sporting habit.”
Director of Leicester Community Sports Arena Limited, Kevin Routledge said, “We are absolutely delighted with this funding support from Sport England. Increasing regular participation in sport is a key target for the arena and the Riders, and we believe that this investment will be pivotal for the city and the county in that regards, and in particular, for young people.”
“The location of the arena in the city adjacent to Leicester College’s Abbey Park Campus, and in short walking distance to the city centre and public transport, as well as being on a key Connect Leicester route for walking and cycling, means we are very confident the arena will be very highly utilised for a variety of sporting activities.”