Crusaders are poised to step up into basketballs elite next season after signing a
contract to play their home games at the new £7 million Skydome Arena.
BUPA Crusaders owner Dip Donaldson put pen to paper on the one-year deal today
and now has a month to find the six-figure backing which will allow him to join the
Dairylea Dunkers League.
He is confident he will succeed and bring top-level club basketball back to Coventry
for the first time in 20 years.
"The deal with Planet Ice, the operators of the arena, is great news and heralds
the most exciting period in the history of the club and the sport in the city.
"Time is tight but now we have the backing of the best medium-sized venue in the
country, we are sure we will be able to attract the sponsors and therefore provide the
finance we would need to be allowed into the league.
"We will bring the television cameras to the city, the arena will have the
national stage it deserves and it will be fabulous for our fans.
"We have attracted supporters down the years and with a better standard of
basketball and first class facilities we are sure we can regularly top the 2,000 mark.
"Andreas Gregoriou, the chairman of Planet Ice, and Simon Burnett, the general
manager of the arena, have been very supportive and they realise that the two
organisations will be very good for each other."
The deal means that the arena will now host all BUPA Crusaders home games, which will
be played on Saturdays, as well as every England home international.
Burnett said the arena had established a high-standing in the sport in just a few
weeks, and the Crusaders deal would add to that growing reputation.
"We are delighted that at last everything is fixed and the BUPA Crusaders will be
playing here. We have had approaches from various clubs to play here but we want this to
be the home of the Coventry Crusaders.
"Dip and the club have waited a long time to make the step up and we are giving
them the perfect platform.
"We hosted the Dairylea Dunkers play-off quarter-finals last week and have the
semi-finals tonight and the league authorities have been delighted with the venue. The
fact they know the level of facilities the Crusaders will be using, will only aid
"This arena has been created to attract the best to Coventry, be it sport,
concerts, exhibitions and conferences. We want to attract top local and regional
businesses to give them a suitable vehicle to meet their event or sponsorship needs.
"We are sure Dip will be successful in now attracting the finance he needs and are
just looking forward to the start of the season in September."
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