Ülker Arena to open its doors with Emporia Armani game
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Ülker Arena has been designed to offer the maximum in comfort and entertainment for fans and athletes The arena’s 28-ton scoreboard is made up of 25 LED screens and is the biggest in Europe. DHA photoFenerbahçe Ülker’s first Top 16 home game in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague against Emporio Armani marks a turning point for the club and basketball in Turkey with the opening of Ülker Sports Arena.
The 15,000-seat capacity state-of-the-art arena is the first multi-functional arena in Istanbul and will serve as the Turkish champion’s new home, starting with tonight’s game against the Italian club.
The game will be critical as both sides will try to grab their first win in the Top 16. Fenerbahçe Ülker fell on the road against Unics 76-71 last week, while Armani could not beat defending champion Panathinaikos. That means the loser of this game will go down to 0-2, a tough hurdle to overcome.
Armani has beaten Fenerbahçe Ülker in each of its six previous matchups – either as Fenerbahçe or Ülker – but their last showdown came in 1997.
“After losing the big chance in the first game against Unics, we are playing at home against a very talented team,” Fenerbahçe coach Neven Spahija told euroleague.net. “We have to give our 100 percent to play consistently. To qualify for the playoffs we cannot lose home games. Milano is a very good team. Although they seem to have a small crisis, it doesn’t mean anything to us because they are a team with great quality.”
Armani coach Segio Scariolo noted that Fenerbahçe hopes to play in front of its home crowd when the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four comes to Istanbul in May.
“Every game in the Top 16 is crucial, because it is a very short competition, but it becomes more difficult when you meet a team like Fenerbahçe built to compete for the Final Four to be played in Istanbul,” he said. “It’s a team with big players who won its regular season group and is playing very well. But we have to look to our performance and not too much to our opponents. It’s a very difficult moment, but we have to stay together and try to increase the minute we play at our best, and it’s the only way to be competitive.”
Construction on the arena started in 2008. It has been designed to offer the maximum in comfort and entertainment for fans, athletes and entertainers alike. The arena’s 28-ton scoreboard is made up of 25 LED screens and is the biggest in Europe. The arena offers high level amenities including two large VIP lounges, 44 private boxes, a Dine and View Restaurant and a Super Sky Box. Ülker Sports Arena has everything needed to host all types of major sporting events, concerts and shows.
Also tonight, Anadolu Efes travels to CSKA Moscow hoping to hand the home side its first Euroleague defeat this season.
“To win, we must play very well the whole 40 minutes and defend them very well also,” Anadolu Efes coach Ufuk Sarıca said. “I know this is not easy. But we will be on court to win on Wednesday night, that’s for sure.”
Guard Doğuş Balbay said CSKA is a team that can be beaten “if we prepare and concentrate well.”