BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|17,000 spectators turned out in Antwerp Sportpaleis on 4 April 2014 to watch their team take on Telenet BC Oostende|
2013/14 EuroChallenge Last 16 contestants Port of Antwerp Giants have broken another attendance record in the Belgian Ethias League, with 17,000 spectators filling out Antwerp Sportpaleis to watch their team take on Oostende over the weekend.
Unfortunately for the record crowd, they did not get what they had come to see with Telenet BC Oostende holding on for a thrilling 93-91 overtime victory, despite 37 points from Ryan Pearson. However, when Pearson was called upon to make his biggest shot of the night, his last-gasp three went astray, denying the home crowd of victory.
It is the fifth consecutive season that the Giants have hosted "The Night of the Giants" in Antwerp Sportpaleis with a number of dignitaries in attendance including Minister-President of Flanders Kris Peeters, FIBA Europe Acting President Cyriel Coomans and FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak.
"With ‘Night of the Giants', our club intends to offer fans, sponsors and the general public an event which combines top basketball with top entertainment. We hope but actually believe this allows the general public to become familiar with our spectacular sport," said Port of Antwerp Giants President Roger Roels following the game.
"It is great to see that a regular competition game, not even a cup final or a play-off game, can attract 17,000 spectators. It means that there is huge potential and that with high quality basketball and an innovative approach, Belgian basketball has a bright future," commented Acting President Coomans, who is also the Belgian basketball president.
It is not just in Belgium where fans have been turning out in their throngs to support their teams this season. When Milano took on Barcelona in the Euroleague, 12,331 spectators - a full house - turned out for the game. In their 12 home games this season in Europe's premier club basketball competition, their cumulative audience has topped the 100k mark.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade have also been in record-breaking mode in the Serbian capital with a crowd of 24,232 turning out to support the storied club in their Eurocup quarter-final return game against Budivelnik Kiev, setting a new single-game attendance record for an indoor basketball game in Europe.