Carnegie Sports Centre 

Team – Leeds Force 

Getting to Leeds 

We drove up to Leeds from London. It’s about a 4 hour drive not including stops or any delays on the motorway.

You can also travel by train and can easily return to London the same day. A quick look at National Rail suggests you could get back to most BBL destinations by train the same day though for a few teams you would need to factor in an overnight stay. 

Leeds – 

I haven’t spent much time in Leeds but there are a range of tourist attractions to keep you entertained if you want to make a weekend out of your trip. 

Highlights include an Abbey, a cathedral and a Minster as well as several museums. 

Getting to venue – 

As we drove we were able to go straight there and make use of the free parking. 

If you arrive by train it’s quite a walk so I would suggest a taxi (20 mins) or investigating the local buses. 

The venue is a University campus so is close to a lot of local bars and restaurants. 

The venue

This is a sports hall in a University, it’s definitely one of the smaller BBL venues. The seats have backs and are reasonably comfortable. 

They don’t have any entertainment on offer other than the music through the speakers that are oddly places at the bottom of the seating area. 

Food in venue 

Hot dogs, sweets and drinks – soft drinks and beer. 

American Airlines Center

Team – Dallas Mavericks

Getting to Dallas

We drove into Dallas. Dallas has an Amtrak station and Dallas Forth Worth Airport so it is easy to get to Dallas for a NBA game.

Dallas

In addition to an NBA team, Dallas has NFL and NHL teams and a range of other sports teams. Dallas also has a lot of history to offer if you are in town for more than just the game. We spent a few hours at the The Sixth Floor Museum but unfortunately didn’t have time to check out any of the other tourist attractions that Dallas offers.

Dallas offers the usual range of chain restaurants, several well known options are only a few minutes walk from the venue (House of Blues, Hooters and Hard Rock). There is a wide range of hotel options. The ones around the centre of Dallas are more expensive but the ones on the outskirts seem to be in less attractive areas and the reviews were definitely off putting so we opted for a hotel in the centre (The Crowne Plaza). Of course we were looking for a hotel with parking, if parking is not essential you may get a cheaper deal.

Getting to the venue

From the Crowne Plaza the venue is a short, safe walk. There are not a lot of sign posts but it’s a fairly straight forward route and as you get closer to the venue you can start to follow the home fans.

There are a few large car  parks near the venue if you would prefer to drive (though if you are staying at one of the central hotels I would suggest that you don;t save much time by trying to drive to the venue instead of walking.

The venue

This is a typical NBA venue, where all the seats appeared to have a good view of the court. The seats do run a little on the small side in the upper bowl. I felt more restricted that I have at any other NBA venue and I am within my BMI range.

Food in the venue

Typical range of hot dogs, beer, burgers and pizza. We got pizza hut, I am never convinced pizza is a great venue option but the quality was good and the price reasonable for a NBA venue.

Chesapeake Energy Arena

Team – Oklahoma City Thunder

Getting to Oklahoma City

We drove in to Oklahoma Ciry as part of a road trip. OKC is well served an Amtrak station and an airport so there are a range of options depending on your budget and where you are coming in from.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is typical of American cities. If you want chain restaurants then you will find something to suit your needs.

On the night of the game we headed in to Bricktown. I would definitley recommend the Bricktown Brewery and Whiskey Chicks.

It’s the state capital so there are no shortage of hotels. We found that hotels with parking were fairly expensive though that might have been because we were there around Valentine’s day. We ended up booking an AirBnB which is a little north of the centre but we still found it easy to walk to the centre.

Getting to the venue

We were able to walk to the venue from our accommodation. The venue is very close to the centre  and the surrounding streets are definitely safe to walk. There are a number of car parks around the venue (charging a range of fees) if you decide to drive instead.

The venue

The venue is typical of a NBA venue. The  seats were comfortable with enough room so that I didn’t feel squashed. We were in section 310 and had a good view of the court. It didn’t seem that any seats had a bad view.

Food in the venue

We had eaten so didn’t need to find food in the venue. A range of options were available for those who did need to.

The venue has a wide range of concessions providing options including the usual popcorn, hod dogs and beer but also baked potatoes, fruit salad and veggie wraps. I was also impressed by the range of gluten free options.

Gravelines Sportica

Team – BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque

Getting to Gravelines

We drove to Gravelines, which was relatively easy. There is a train station  to the south of Gravelines so you can use public transport to get there, but this will involve three trains and although two of those journeys are nice and short the frequency of the trains will mean the journey can take several hours.

Gravelines itself

There are a couple of hotels in Gravelines as well as restaurants and bars but this is a small town so there is not a huge range and definitely no chain venues. (Which is a good thing in my opinion)

Getting to the venue

If you are staying in Gravelines you can easily walk to the venue, it takes about 20 minutes from the centre. It’s an easy walk which feels safe.

There is a car pack at the venue so if you are staying further away you can drive. The locals seem to prefer to park by the side of the road to avoid paying for parking.

There did appear to be bus stops on the road but I didn’t see any buses while we were walking so I am not sure how frequent they are or the route they take.

The venue

The venue is a sports centre, there is a swimming pool in the same builidng. We were there on a nice day and it was very warm inside the building although the locals did not seem to be as affected by this as we were. The basketball hall is a good size with seats on all sides of the court. A large section of the roof is glass which is nice but was adding to the heat in the venue, and there was no obvious cooling system in place.

The seats are proper seats with backs, but no padding.

The blocks are well signposted and each row tells confirms what block you are in and the seat numbers for that row so it is really easy to find your seat.

Food in the venue

You have to buy vouchers and use those to buy the food. This seems unnecessarily complicated, especially since the two counters are back to back.
The value makes it worth it though. Hot dogs are 3 euro, water is 1 euro and you can get beer or soda for 2 euro 50. It is a small beer but it is good quality small beer.