New multi-million pound home for the Leicester Riders unveiled
By Connor McDonagh
A record capacity crowd welcomed in the new Leicester Riders £4.8 million arena on January 30.
After waiting for 16 years for a permanent home to host their fixtures, Riders began life in the new arena with a victory over Surrey Scorchers in the BBL Trophy quarterfinal.
The Riders have spent the last 16 years playing at Loughborough University, after losing their original base at Leicester’s Granby Halls.
Leicester’s City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby officially opened the arena earlier this week.
Peter Soulsby said: “This is a fantastic new facility which will provide a much-needed new home for the Leicester Riders and Cobras, but will also benefit local students and other members of the community. “It’s a great example of what can be achieved when organisations work well together.”
The Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and Sport England have funded the project.
The multi-million pound arena will also be home to the wheelchair basketball team, the Leicester Cobras and will be used by sports students of Leicester College.
The arena is a three-court facility, with a main court where the Riders’ will play their respective matches in front of a 2,500 capacity crowd.
There are four changing rooms, a gym, three bars and seven-metre wide plasma screens at each show court for replays and footage.
Kevin Routledge, Project Director of the Leicester Community Sports Arena, said: “The partners have worked very closely together, with immense support from our contractors, consultants, subcontractors, and numerous staff within the partner organisations. “It is a tribute to that teamwork and dedication that we were able to meet the most challenging of project deadlines.”
Through the Leicester Riders Foundation any profit made will be reinvested back into the arena, or neighbouring communities.