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New look Margaret Court Arena perfect fit for United
On Wednesday night the newly refurbished Margaret Court Arena played host to its first professional sporting event, with Melbourne United hosting the Cairns Taipans in the NBL.
The 7,500-capacity stadium provided a brilliant setting for the match and looks set to become United’s new home in future seasons, with a compact seating arrangement and new facilities improving the experience for the fans.
The smaller capacity, when compared to that of United’s current home court Hisense Arena, means the stadium allows the fans to feel closer to the action. While the attendance was slightly down due to a number of external factors, when the stadium is filled it will create an electrifying atmosphere.
The compact seating arrangement also means that the match can be viewed perfectly from any seat in the house, which is something that a stadium of MCA’s size doesn’t often allow for.
Aside from the corporate boxes and VIP courtside seats, all other seating is connected and allows for any patron to walk around the entire court once inside the doors, without having to exit into the foyer like every other major sporting stadium in Melbourne.
The seating itself, despite the compact nature of the arena and regardless of where you sit, also leaves ample space for each patron and allows for viewing the match in comfort.
The facilities of the arena are, understandably, brand new, but provide a range of food options and spacious dining areas for patrons.
A variety of gourmet food stores, offering chicken, beef, fish and sausage options, are complimented by multiple large dining areas, providing seating and tables for patrons to eat prior to entering the arena or during a break in the match.
Fast food staples at sporting venues, such as meat pies, chicken strips and standard hot dogs, were however absent, which may deter some fans, particularly those with young children.
Perhaps these food options were overlooked in favour of extra bars and beverage stores, with almost every store offering soft drinks and alcohol, which may help the venue cater for the hot weather over summer, particularly given the arena will primarily host summer sports in basketball and tennis.
Margaret Court Arena is located in the central sporting precinct in Melbourne, nestled in between Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne’s current home court Hisense Arena, which means transport and parking options are aplenty and United fans need not change their transport patterns.
Despite its location amongst a number of other large sporting arenas, there remains plenty of space outside the main entrance for fans to gather prior to the match, and stretch their legs during and afterwards. The front entrance also allows for plenty of pre-game activities, perhaps attracting fans with young families, and means any pre-game congestion for ticketing and entry queues will seldom be an issue.
Melbourne United will continue to use Hisense Arena as their main home court for the remainder of the 2014/15 season, but will host three more matches at Margaret Court Arena on December 7th, December 21st and February 7th, providing basketball fans in Victoria with the opportunity to experience the new venue for themselves.