Leicester Riders Basketball Club moved into their brand new 2500 seated capacity arena three years ago. During that period they have won three consecutive British Basketball League (BBL) titles. Leicester Riders Chairman and Leicester Arena Director Kevin Routledge will be speaking at the Futsal Insights Conference 2019 in Manchester on how the club was able to build their own arena as well as the story of Leicester Riders and the British Basketball League.
The Leicester Arena, known as the Morningside Arena due to a 3 year naming rights sponsorship agreement, is a joint venture between the basketball club, Leicester College and Leicester City Council. The impressive arena is used by various community groups and hosts both major national and international sports and non-sporting events. It was funded by various groups and features a fitness suite, classrooms, bars and hospitality suite.
It is the home of the Leicester Riders who are the only original member of the BBL who has had a consistent structure since then. They participate in the Women’s BBL, have an extensive junior section as well as a partnership with Loughborough University. Further, they have various community activities and are supported by a loyal fan base.
The club play in the BBL which is the elite men's basketball league in the U.K. and it has been receiving increasing media coverage in recent years. In 2016 the BBL signed a 6 year deal with Perform, the global sports media company, for the distribution and sale of all media-related rights worldwide. The agreement sees all of the 242 BBL season’s games streamed live worldwide on Perform’s Watch&Bet service, plus all games streamed direct to BBL fans on LiveBasketball.TV.
The BBL also has an agreement with the BBC to show 23 BBL and 9 WBBL on the BBC Sport website each season with all the finals games of both shown on the BBC red button. Last season one live game was also shown on FreeSports TV and the online digital channel UniLad.
Kevin Routledge has inside knowledge and extensive experience of all these areas. He was the project director behind the arena’s construction and is the current Arena Director. He started as a player for then Loughborough All Stars (the previous name of the club) back in 1974 and has been involved in the club since with his current role as Chairman. Further he was the Chairman of the BBL from 1988 to 2002 and remains a director of the league.
On the impact of the arena he said “The new venue has been a game changer. Once people know where you live and understand that you’re in it for the long haul you can start to build greater trust and long-term loyalty.”
“We’ve got a great facility, in a fantastic location. I can’t underestimate the importance of a club having access to its own facility. In terms of what you’re able to accomplish, it’s critical. Being able to host games, train and run junior sessions under the same roof helps build a real sense of community and ownership: we’re all one big family.”
“On game nights we can offer a variety of corporate deals, to supplement our usual fan experience. We can also keep the tills ticking over during the season and in the offseason by opening our doors to other events. It means we don’t have to rely on ticket, sponsorship and merchandise sales as our only source of income. In many ways, this allows us to focus on putting out a better product for our supporters.”
He is certain to provide invaluable insights to the conference audience on how to develop a club, including building your own venue, and how to grow a competition. You can purchase tickets here and join the event on Facebook here to get all the latest news. Tickets available from just £60 and it will all take place on Saturday 2nd March 2019 in Manchester.