Mediolanum Forum

The venue is relatively easy to access, once you are in Milan. It has a dedicated stop on the M2 metro line and, on the way there, the trains seemed to be relatively frequent.The ticket machines are not very clear. The metro system in Milan runs on a flat fare basis, unless you travel out of the urban area and you do to get to the stadium. There was information available to help me decide what ticket I needed to buy but the machines were not set up to make finding that ticket an easy process so if you are planning a visit and you have not been before make sure you leave time to figure this out.

Once at the metro stop for the venue, signposts directed the way. However, determining the actual entrance way was a little tricker and the few available staff were more interested in barking instructions that trying to help the confused attendees.

There is a food court before you enter the main arena, I didn’t use this so I cannot comment expect to say that it looked busy.

There are food and drink stalls within the venue. You have to order at one counter, take a ticket and then go to a separate counter to collect the items. This was not clear and was causing confusion among many attendees. I ordered a chicken burger and a beer. I got a hot burger roll filled with ice cold breaded chicken (a new Italian delicacy perhaps?) and not very pleasant beer. I had been thinking that the prices were not too bad but having tasted the products I was definitely over charged.

I was seated in the upper bowl, second row. I had a great view of a metal barrier but not such a good view of the court. At a guess I would think that at least the first four rows would have had a similar issue. As there is no big screen, I missed many moments of the game simply because of the position of the barrier.

I completely understand the need for a safety barrier but some more thought needs to go in to planning a venue so that the barrier does not obstruct the view, if this cannot be avoided the tickets must come with a warning that there is very restricted view.

The stadium is old and this shows in the seats – most of them had lost their identifying number. The sections were not clearly marked, in fact at the bottom of each section was a number that was completely unrelated. This made I difficult for people to identify their seats and the few staff on hand did not seem interested in providing support to those who needed it.

We were some of the first people in and yet the floor was incredibly dirty and sticky, suggesting that it had not been cleaned for a long time.

At half time the queue for the toilets was so long it began to merge with the queues for food – yet more confusion.

I’ve travelled to venues in the US, the UK, France, Germany and Belgium and can easily say that this was the worst I have been to.

At the end of the game I headed to the metro station to discover that it would be 25 minutes before the next train. It did seem that I had just missed one as the platform was not that busy when I got there but at that time of night, and given that the game had been a sell out, the lack of trains was unacceptable. The platform was incredibly crowded by the time the train finally arrived and people were squeezing on. Contrasting this to events like Eurobasket, where they had a slick operation for getting everyone on public transport all I can say is that yet again Milan let itself down.

Boston Celtics v Olympia Milano

 Both teams seemed a little sluggish to start with, displaying some sloppy fouls and poor shot selection. Milan’s free throw percentage seemed low, but to be fair I don’t think Boston’s was much higher in the first quarter. The Celtics ended the first with 14 point and looked pretty comfortable.The second quarter started slowly for both teams. In the first 3 minutes Milan scored 2 points and the Celtics did not score.

The Celtics woke up though and managed to end the quarter with a 17 point lead.

Milan had a great start to q3, they brought the difference back to 10 points within the first 3 minutes. Then they let the Celtics go on a bit of a run, while increasing their foul count. The Celtics ended q3 with an 28 point lead.

The final quarter was not the most exciting 12 minutes of basketball I have ever watched. A number of the fans seemed to agree and started to leave early. In the final two minutes of the game a significant number of the attendees had left.

It was obvious that the Celtics were going to win, and had been for a while but it struck me as odd that so many people left early, the tickets were not exactly cheap.

There was not much cheering at the game – the expected applause for a good play or dunk but no chants of defence or chants for the local team. There was a definite feeling that people were there for the show rather than to support a particular team, or maybe the Italians are just more subdued at basketball than any other nation I have been to.

The Entertainment was standard NBA fare – cheerleaders, t-shirt give aways and mascots.