Riders call off their first home game of season
Leicester Riders have been forced to postpone their first home game of the season as the crowd capacity at their home venue has been restricted.
The Jelson Homes DMU-sponsored team were due to begin their season with a home campaign against Plymouth Raiders on Saturday, September 22.
That fixture at the John Sandford Centre has now been postponed and re-arranged for March.
Riders will open their BBL Championship season on the road against Sheffield Sharks on Friday, September 21.
Riders knocked the Sharks out of the play-offs at the quarter-final stage last season.
Their first home fixture will be on Saturday, September 29, against Cheshire Jets at Loughborough University.
Riders have used this venue before. In fact, it was the stage for their home play-off games last season as they reached the BBL final at Birmingham, in May.
Capacity is presently restricted at the John Sandford Centre to just 500 and that is not big enough to accommodate Riders' crowds.
The centre is eventually due to close but a deal has been reached between the Riders and De Montfort University to use John Sandford until the end of the year.
Riders' general manager Russell Levenston said, "We are having to operate initially with restricted capacity at the John Sandford for the pre-season games, and there has been a huge response to these matches and our pre-game clinics for youngsters.
"The restrictions mean that we cannot proceed with the planned first home game against Plymouth Raiders – it simply would not be fair to the fans. So we have agreed with Plymouth that the fixture will be moved to later in the season."
Riders have also announced that their pre-season friendly against a touring Team USA squad on Saturday is now sold out, and no tickets will be available on the door. There are still a handful of tickets available for their fixture against the same team the night before, but Riders anticipate all will be sold in advance.
Riders have also arranged to play a touring Philippines League All Star team at Loughborough University on Sunday, September 30.
East London Royals, a new side to the BBL, have pulled out of the league – only two weeks before the season was due to start.
The club say a review has established they are not ready to take part in the BBL yet.