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Bristol Crowds Make Basketball A Sellout

Bristol crowds make basketball a sellout for families wanting sporting entertainment.

As the newcomers to the British Basketball League (BBL) no one knew what to expect from the Bristol Flyers’ debut to the professional league this season.

Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas has continuously stressed it would be a “learning year” but even he couldn’t have predicted just how much Bristolians have taken this fast-paced sport to heart.

“It has been amazing. We knew we had a core of supporters when we played in the English Basketball League last year but we never averaged more than a couple of hundred at a game.”

Kapoulas adds: “Moving up to the BBL and working with Bristol Sport, has seen us develop a whole new crowd. We’ve sold out for our last five consecutive home games. That is incredible for a minority sport playing on a Friday or Saturday evening on the outskirts of Bristol!”

Playing and training at the SGS Campus WISE Arena near Filton, the Flyers have certainly made it their stronghold, with many teams finding it an intimidating venue. WISE has a capacity of just 580 and is a relative minnow by comparison to other BBL teams, many of whom have also seen their crowds swell.

This year BBL attendances have grown across the board. Clubs like Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, Leicester Riders and Plymouth University Raiders are also recording sell-out or near-capacity crowds. Indeed Leicester and Cheshire have both now started work on new venues which will more than double their home capacity.

 “It is great to have top flight basketball in Bristol and the fact that we are now selling out regularly tells us there is an appetite for it.” added Coach Kapoulas.

“This year was always a year of discovery for us, finding out what we need to do to be successful on and off the court.

“It is really exciting to see how well we are doing in our first season and I think for a new club in the BBL we have made a real impact.”

 “Our supporters have been fantastic and the atmosphere at WISE is electric. Anyone who has been to our games can really appreciate what I am talking about.

“The WISE arena might not be the biggest venue in the BBL but it’s definitely the loudest. It has been a great start to life in the BBL and there is so much more to come.”

Continued coverage of the Flyers has also ensured the sponsors are happy too. RSG, an experienced and well-established recruitment partner headquartered in Bristol, extended its involvement to the Flyers at the start of the season as shirt sponsor. It has also regularly taken up gameday sponsorship, bringing a hundred staff members to games.

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Something which Mike Beesley, chief executive of RSG, says has been brilliant for staff morale.

“We primarily got involved because as a recruitment consultancy we have a large young workforce who we want to keep engaged and enjoy a fun working environment.

“We’ve had great feedback from staff that the Flyers’ games they’ve attended have been excellent team-bonding experiences. The additional publicity we’ve had from the Flyers’ success on the court has just been a real bonus to that.”

With just four home games left of the season. Engineering business Babcock, which has a large base in Bristol, has snapped up the final game of the season against Leeds Force, while insurance company Europa Group has secured another.

With record attendances, Flyers will be hoping the atmosphere at the WISE Basketball Arena and the passion of their fans will help in their playoff quest.

Should they remain in contention, the Flyers will be aiming for the BBL Playoff Final at The O2, having previously made it to the semi-finals of the BBL Cup.

Only a handful of tickets remain for Friday night's game against Leicester Riders - click here to guarantee your seat.

Gameday sponsorship is still available for the Glasgow Rocks home game on Saturday, April 11th, to become a sponsor please contact Jemma Hall: jemma.hall@bristol-sport.co.uk or 0117 963 0688.

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