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Barclaycard Arena

Birmingham, England

Home of the BBL Cup Final

3.7

N/A

Barclaycard Arena (map it)
King Edwards Road
Birmingham, England B1 2AA
United Kingdom


BBL Cup Final website

Barclaycard Arena website

Year Opened: 1991

Capacity: 12,802

There are no tickets available at this time.

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British Basketball

The British Basketball League (BBL) Cup Final is the first of four pieces of silverware up for grabs for the teams that compete at the highest level of the sport in the UK. The others are the League Championship, BBL Trophy, and the Play-offs. This competition is played on a knock-out basis with the semi-finals being decided by an aggregate score over two legs. For the 2016 season the final is between the Leicester Riders and the Newcastle Eagles. In 2015, the Eagles swept all before them winning all four trophies, with Leicester finishing as runners-up in two of them – the League Championship and the Trophy.

The venue for the Cup Final is played at the Barclaycard Arena, formerly the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, and this has always been the case. The first final was competed for in the 2003/04 season and saw the Sheffield Sharks defeat the Scottish Rocks 83-70. In all there has been seven different names on the trophy, with the Sharks and the Eagles leading the way with three wins apiece.

The arena was originally opened in 1991 and has a capacity of 15,800, though for basketball this is reduced to around 10,000. The arena was refurbished recently and this was completed at the end of 2014, with a sponsorship for five years from Barclaycard giving them the naming rights.

3.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

There is a decent array of choices inside the venue, though everything is expensive. Choices include Indian and Lebanese cuisine as well as the usual burgers. The burger meals start from £7.90 while chicken skewers will set you back £7.50.

Soft drinks are available from both vending machines and the food outlets, and they are Coca-Cola products costing £2.20. Hot drinks cost the same as the soft drinks, while for anyone wanting alcohol, there are only two choices - Budweiser and cider costing £4.20. Despite the arena being pretty much full to capacity, queues are short and move quickly.

Just outside the arena and over the other side of the canal there are plenty of other food and drink options from chains that you will find all across the major towns and cities in the UK. These include Carluccio's and the Home Made Burger Co. If you fancy something cheap to eat and drink, then there are two JD Wetherspoon outlets a short walk away on Broad Street - The Soloman Cutler and The Figure of Eight.

Atmosphere    3

The noise generated by the fans of the two teams in attendance is very good, though not a level that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Basketball has a different type of supporter to that of football in this country and there are lots of families in attendance. You also don't get the same type of singing and chanting found in football, with only chants of "defence" and "Riders" from the Leicester supporters. Also there are plenty of neutrals watching the game which dilutes the atmosphere somewhat.

Neighborhood    5

With the arena being on the edge of the city centre, a lot of Birmingham's tourist and visitor attractions are within easy reach. Firstly the nearest is the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham, which is on the other side of the canal.

For anyone with a sweet tooth and a love of chocolate, Cadbury World is five miles south in the historic Bournville Village area.

The city also has its fair share of theatres and music venues, which include the Symphony Hall and is a short walk away.

For the shopaholics, the city has all the usual high street chain stores found across the UK as well as its fair share of independent stores. The main shopping centre is the Bullring which is located between New Street and Moor Street stations. As expected for a city of Birmingham's size, food and drink options are aplenty and cater to pretty much all tastes. Going hungry is not an option.

For sports fans, the city's main offerings are football with both Aston Villa and Birmingham City not far from the centre, while other professional clubs in the West Midlands urban conurbation are within easy reach - West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Walsall.

If rugby is your sport then Moseley compete in the sport's second tier. If you fancy a bit of betting with your sport, Birmingham is home to two greyhound stadiums - Hall Green and Perry Barr, with the latter also hosting the Birmingham Brummies Speedway team.

For anyone staying overnight and wanting to make a weekend of it, hotels covering all price ranges are ubiquitous. Chains such as a Hilton, Hyatt, and Jurys Inn are all within a short walk of both New Street and the arena.

Fans    3

Both sets of supporters have their own section inside the arena and give decent support to their relevant team. With Newcastle-upon-Tyne being two hundred miles away they brought a decent following with them, though due to Leicester being only forty miles or an hour's drive away, they had a bigger contingent supporting them. The sport also does not attract the tribalism supporter found in football and is very family friendly. In the games I have attended at Leicester home games I have, apart from the coaches, not heard any bad language at a BBL game.

Access    5

In a nutshell the access is very good. Birmingham is the UK's second largest city in terms of population and status, and is located in the centre of England. It has excellent road, rail and air links whether the visitor is coming from overseas or travelling from within. The arena is located on the edge of Birmingham city centre, only a fifteen to twenty minute walk from the main railway station, New Street.

For anyone driving the arena has, and I quote from the official website, "over 2,000 car park spaces across our four car parks." For anyone that is using public transport there are plenty of buses that go to the arena, and you need stop SF2 outside the Alexandra Theatre.

Birmingham International is the nearest airport to the arena with it around twelve miles away to the east. It has its own railway station and will take around thirty minutes to get to New Street.

Return on Investment    4

There are four price structures with the adult prices as follows; VIP £96.33, A - £32, B - £28 and C - £24. The latter three include fees if booking through theticketfactory.com or ticketmaster.co.uk.The tickets also include the WBBL (Women's British Basketball League) Trophy Final and the BBL Slam Dunk contest.

The seats are padded and give a decent view from the lower tier. There is no problem in terms of space between the seats to put your coat and/or bag, but completely inadequate in terms of leg room. Despite the lack of leg room the price paid for tickets is an excellent value for the money.

Extras    2

There is a different culture in the UK with watching sport to that of the US, with very little given to any extras on offer. There is a halftime show from dance group Flawless and a 50-50 raffle. The MC does his best to get the crowd involved during time outs and breaks in play, but this is met with muted response. Speaking from a personal point of view, I am not interested in any side shows and am there for the sporting action. All I want is a decent seat for a decent price.

An A4 size programme is available for £5 from the merchandise stall which is overpriced in my opinion. The stall also sells basketballs and a small range of clothing, among other things. There is a big screen that shows the whole game.

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National Sea Life Centre Birmingham  (map it!)

Brindley Pl

Birmingham, England B1 2HL

+44 871 423 2110

https://www.visitsealife.com/birmingham/

Cadbury World  (map it!)

Linden Rd

Birmingham, England B30 1JR

+44 844 880 7667

https://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/

Symphony Hall  (map it!)

Broad St

Birmingham, England B1 2EA

0121 345 0600

http://www.thsh.co.uk/

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