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Leicester Riders plotting arena expansion

Morningside Arena, home of British Basketball League team Leicester Riders, is set to undergo expansion work which will make it the largest basketball facility in the country.

The arena, which has a capacity of up to 3,000, will receive a 1,200-square-metre extension to increase the flexibility of the venue.

The extension will add two more basketball courts to the arena, bringing its total number to five – more than any other venue in the country. The expansion went through a pre-application planning review process earlier in the year, with planning application having been submitted last month.

As well as serving as the home of the Riders, Morningside Arena hosts a range of national and international events and also acts as a community sports venue.

Riders chairman Kevin Routledge, who also serves as a director of the arena, said: “The arena, along with many other businesses in the sector, has come through some very difficult times due to COVID, but we are very positive about the opportunities going forward.

“Our community sport usage pre-COVID was growing every year, so much so, that our foundation has had to look for additional external facilities to support its programme. Meanwhile the arena’s reputation for staging major events has been growing, and we have already invested significantly to make the arena COVID-secure and more flexible.

“We are attracting bookings for major TV events across a range of sports which have never been staged in Leicester and we need the extra space to maintain our dual purpose, including the further growth of Riders basketball pathway and community engagement.

“This addition will also improve the customer experience for the largest events. Thus, we felt the time was right to get on with this development, which has the support of all our partners, including the City Council and Leicester College.”

Consultation on the project began on June 22 and is set to end on July 21. Leicester City Council has set September 16 as a target date for a decision to be made on the expansion.

Image: Leicester Riders