FIRST MAJOR EVENT STAGED AT THE COPPER BOX ARENA IS SLAM DUNKING SUCCESS

Around 6,000 people enjoyed thrilling international basketball yesterday afternoon when the first sporting event since London 2012 was staged at the Copper Box Arena, as GB Basketball took on Puerto Rico. GB Basketball were triumphant, beating Puerto Rico 61-55 in a hard fought contest.

The exciting afternoon of action is just the start of a great line up of sporting events at the Arena which has confirmed its reputation as a renowned sporting and entertainment venue.

Meanwhile, interest from local people in the Arena as a community facility is developing at pace. Gym and exercise studios opened for public use on 27 July. 200 members signed up in the first week alone and operators GLL are well on its way to a target of 1,500 members and 400,000 visits per year with individual gym visits starting at just £3 for concessions.  

Basketball courses start for 5-11 year-olds from 19 August, and for 5-14 year-olds there are multi-sport courses of volleyball, basketball and badminton from 26 August. 

Local schools begin using the facilities at the beginning of the September school term.  A number of local community and sports groups are already involved and will be using the facilities. These include Leyton Netball and Queen Mary University sports clubs. The facilities will also soon be able to take referrals from Healthwise, the GP referral scheme for physical activity programmes.

Other major events scheduled over the next month include:  London Lions Basketball Team vs Iowa University on Wednesday, 14 August (4500 tickets sold) while Frank Warren has agreed a six fight deal with the Copper Box Arena, the first bouts scheduled for Saturday, 21 September.

The national charity basketball fundraiser Hoops Aid will be taking place at the venue on Sunday 15 September. From 1 – 6 October the world’s best badminton players will be there for the London Grand Prix.  On September 7,  the Park-wide festival  National Paralympic Day will see the Copper Box Arena hosting a range of Paralympic sports.

The Copper Box Arena is now the home match and training base for the London Lions Basketball team and the Great Dane Ball handball club.  All the teams’ home matches will be played there. The Lions kick off their 2013/14 season on Friday 27 September at home against the Manchester Giants.

Peter Tudor, Director of Venues at London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “The atmosphere in the arena yesterday was electrifying. During the Games this was ‘the Box that rocks’ and it was rocking again yesterday. GLL have secured some superb sporting events for the coming months, and with local people starting to use the leisure and sporting facilities the future is looking very bright indeed.”

Tony Wallace, Head of Olympic Venues at GLL added: “Hosting the first major event was always going to be a challenge.  But everything went very well and the feedback from both players and spectators has been phenomenal.  This is just the first of a fantastic line up of top class sporting events we have scheduled for the coming months and we’re confident that the Copper Box Arena will quickly become recognised as one of the UK’s best entertainment venues.”

British Basketball’s Head of Basketball Operations, Sinead Gordon commented: “It has been fantastic to return to the newly re-opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park today and be the first major sporting fixture held in the Copper Box arena since London 2012.  The atmosphere in the arena was electric and you could really feel the support for GB from all the fans.

“The Standard Life GB men have a big summer ahead with EuroBasket 2013 beginning in September so to begin that journey on home soil with the home support was incredible. The facilities in the Copper Box are great and we hope to return for more games here in the future.”