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Herald Scotland

Thousands enjoy Glasgow's new sports arena

Published / News

A new sports venue which will play host to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has attracted more than 10,000 visitors in its opening weekend.

The Emirates Arena, which was named under a sponsorship agreement with the airline, opened its doors to the public on Friday.

Glasgow Life, which operates it, said over 3,000 people attended the east end venue on Saturday to view a variety of pre-programmed sporting activities.

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On Sunday, more than 7,000 people packed into the facility, including around 5,000 basketball fans who were there to watch the Glasgow Rocks' first home match against Newcastle Eagles.

It was said to be a record attendance for a Rocks home fixture, though the Glasgow side were defeated 84-106.

The venue will be called the Commonwealth Arena during the Games and will host the badminton and track cycling events.

As well as being a competition and training venue for elite athletes, the Emirates Arena is open for community use in a move that Glasgow Life hopes will help inspire the next generation of athletes and sports stars.

Facilities include the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, an indoor sports arena, three sports halls with 12 badminton courts, four outdoor five-a-side football pitches, an outdoor 1km outdoor cycle circuit, a Glasgow Club health and fitness centre and a spa.

It is built on a 10.5-hectare site next to the Commonwealth Games Athletes' Village and Celtic Park, and the £113 million construction project was funded by Glasgow City Council (£98 million) and sportscotland (£15 million).

A spokesman for Glasgow Life said: "The opening of the Emirates Arena heralded the dawn of a bright new era for Scottish sport.

"Over the coming months and years it will be used by both elite athletes and local people, as it was this weekend, and will inspire a generation to become involved in sport.

"The Emirates Arena was built for the people of Glasgow and they ensured it got off to a winning start as they came through the doors in their thousands over the course of the opening weekend.

"It was fantastic to see the venue so busy and that bodes well for the future.

"It will of course host a major sporting events programme and it was fantastic to see the Glasgow Rocks record their largest ever attendance for a home match against Newcastle in their first game at the arena.

"It has been a weekend to remember but this is just the start of what promises to be a long and successful era of sport at the Emirates Arena."

Glasgow Life said that in its first four months of operation, the Emirates Arena will play host to at least eight Scottish, European or world level sporting events.

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