Wolves see their crowds treble at the arena

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First published in Sport

THE popularity of Worcester Wolves continues to grow after it was revealed crowds have almost tripled since their move to the University Arena.

An average of more than 1,300 fans have watched the team at the Hylton Road venue this season, compared with around 500 at the sports hall on the university's St John's campus.

Remarkably, Wolves have comfortably smashed the four-figure barrier in all but two of their 19 home matches in British Basketball League competitions.

The inaugural match in their new home against Leicester Riders last October remains the highest, attracting 1,696 supporters, but numbers have stayed consistent and have only twice dropped below 1,200.

That was for the rearranged match against Surrey United (685) in December - after the original was postponed due to the opposition being stuck traffic - and the visit of Glasgow Rocks in February, which was played in front of a 550-capacity crowd at St John's because of flooding in Hylton Road.

Worcester's second highest attendance was 1,598 for the Christmas fixture against Birmingham Knights, closely followed by 1,536 against Manchester Giants in the BBL Cup last October.

By contrast, the lowest at the arena was 1,204 for the visit of Durham Wildcats in January, the first home fixture of 2014.

Wolves will now be hoping to bolster the average of 1,308 in the second leg of the play-off semi-final against Sheffield Sharks tomorrow (6.30pm).

Club president Mick Donovan said: "During our first season in our new home, we have been thrilled with the number of spectators that now follow the Wolves.

"We have one of the finest basketball venues in the country and I believe that the wide range of people of all ages getting behind the team in such a vocal and positive way has been a key feature for our success on the court this season.

"The University Arena on game nights is certainly the place to be for all sports fans in Worcester."

Arena manager April White added: "We are proud that the University Arena is the new home of the Worcester Wolves and the dramatic increase in spectator numbers compared to last season is testament to what the Wolves put in on the court as well as off it.

"One of the main targets of the University Arena is to increase sport participation from grassroots to elite level and the Wolves community initiatives through to thrilling game night entertainment certainly achieves this."

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