THOUSANDS CHEER ON LONDON LIONS AT NEW COPPER BOX ARENA HOME

More than 5,000 fans packed the Copper Box Arena last night for basketball thrills and spills when the London Lions took on Iowa University in their first match at the venue.

The Copper Box Arena is now the home match and training base for the London Lions and they are the first legacy team to take residence on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. All the Lions’ home matches will be played at the Copper Box Arena. The Lions kick off their 2013/14 season on Friday 27 September at home against the Manchester Giants. Tickets go on sale this Saturday on www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

Around 11,000 people have seen top class basketball at the Copper Box Arena in the space of just four days. GB Basketball seized a hard fought 61–55 victory over Puerto Rico on Sunday and last night the Copper Box Arena witnessed another thrilling contest as the Lions took on the Iowa team, one of the top college sides in the US. Iowa players such as Aaron White, Eric May and Roy Devyn Marble are household names in the USA so this was a battle for all basketball fans to savour which Iowa won 107 to 72.

There’s a superb line up of events and activities at the Copper Box Arena coming up in the next few months with its leisure facilities, including gym, now fully open for public use. Individual gym visits start at just £3 for concessions.

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 National Paralympic Day will see the Copper Box Arena hosting a range of Paralympic sports.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “It was a fantastic night of entertainment with a superb crowd and some very high quality basketball. The atmosphere at the Copper Box Arena during the Games was amazing and it’s still one of the best venues for basketball I’ve seen. I for one can’t wait for the Lions to begin their 2013/14 league campaign when there will be lots more exciting action for people to enjoy.”

Tony Wallace, Head of Olympic Venues, GLL, said:

“It was fantastic to see the Copper Box Arena packed to the rafters for our second international basketball match in under a week. Local people are really starting to engage with the facility and it was great to see so many East Londoners having the opportunity to enjoy top class international basketball on their doorstep. While the Arena is rapidly becoming recognised as a world class sporting and events venue, it has an equally important role as a community sports and leisure centre and local people can enjoy our new state-of-the-art gym, take part in group exercise classes or play a range of sports from basketball to badminton and handball.”

Vince MacCauley, Head Coach, London Lions said:

“Amazing is all I can say, from the basketball standpoint Iowa were terrific and it’s obvious why they are favourites for the Big Ten title in the US. We matched them for a long while but they shot the ball very well, venue wise, second to none, the crowd were vocal and in the game. It’s a new era for British Basketball”.