By Charles Mutebi
Today: FIBA Zone Five Club Championship semi-finals
Venue: MTN Arena
Ahead of today’s semifinals of the 2012 FIBA Zone Five club championships, the main reason for the underwhelming turn up of supporters hitherto remains unclear.
Maybe today’s high-profile matches, featuring some of Uganda’s finest clubs, will bring out the fans. Maybe they won’t.
Whatever happens, one thing can be confidently said. The 2009 edition, which Uganda also hosted, was way more successful in as much as it attracted greater attendances.
Several reasons can be advanced for the dramatic dip in fan numbers three years later: first, the view of host federation and local basketball governing body president Ambrose Tashobya.
“I think the publicity has a lot to do with it,” the FUBA boss told New Vision.
“At the start of the tournament, it wasn’t clear to some people whether the games would be held at the indoor stadium (MTN Arena) or not.
“I mean on the opening day, some media reported that the stadium would not be available and yet it was. So fans have been confused and until today, I get calls of people asking me whether games are at Makerere or YMCA.”
Three years ago, Makerere and especially the YMCA were the venues for the highly-attended event. This year it has mainly been the MTN Arena, with Makerere being used very sparingly.
But the other change, and this could be the actual reason for the small crowds, is the entrance charges. This year a ticket costs sh10,000 whether the fan wants to watch all the day’s games or one at the Arena.
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Low turnup for FIBA Zone 5 games