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Anyone who visits Zalgirio Arena in Kaunas, Lithuania can be certain that at any time of the year, it’s going to be packed with the hottest emotions and unforgettable memories. Lithuanians are best known for their devotion to basketball and their no 1 club Zalgiris Kaunas, led by the coach Sarunas Jasikevicius for the last few years. The level of craziness could be measured by the fact that 7 of 11 EuroLeague games were sold out in this arena during the first half of the season.
Zalgirio Arena has drawn hordes of basketball, music and art fans from all over the region ever since its opening day, just over 7 years ago.
It’s a multifunctional sports and entertainment venue, that boasts 8 halls and a beautifully designed restaurant, and has held a plethora of different events, including basketball, hockey, handball tournaments, exhibitions, motocross and monster truck shows, concerts, musicals and circuses, and so on.
Being the largest arena in the Baltic states and well-known for its faultless acoustics, Zalgirio Arena has drawn music stars such as Robbie Williams, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz, Rammstein, Muse, Elton John, Sting, Bryan Adams, James Blunt and Mariah Carey, among others. Amongst the list of foreign superstars, a Lithuanian name stands out, as local band SEL drew a record crowd of 20 517 fans to their 360° performance in 2015, nearly reaching the maximum capacity of 21 thousand.
Throughout the 7 years of existence, a total of 798 events were held, including 200 concerts, 100 exhibitions, shows, plays and banquets, alongside other events. Nevertheless, despite its musical and cultural standing, Zalgirio Arena is best known as the home of the legendary basketball club Zalgiris Kaunas, with the lion’s share of events held here being the team’s basketball games. Quite symbolically, that breaths and bleeds basketball, the arena hosted it’s 5 millionth guest in no other event but it’s main attraction – a Zalgiris game.
The team’s basketball games draw an average crowd of over 14 780 green-and-white fans, with the arena being completely packed in 6-of-10 home outings, with the seventh one already closing in next week. This puts Zalgiris far and wide ahead of any competition when it comes to attendance. To make matters even more impressive, it has to be mentioned that all this happens in a country of just 3 million people and the second largest city with population of 300 000!
The attendance was raised not only for fans’ belief in former basketball superstar and now – the head coach of the team Sarunas Jasikevicius, but also by running the brand new campaign – “Zalgiris Virgin”, which encourages fans to break their Zalgiris virginity, come to the game in Zalgirio Arena for the first time in their lives and never forget the emotions they can’t experience anywhere else.
It’s an arena like no other in Europe, and has been voted the best venue in the EuroLeague not only by the fans, but also by the general managers of EuroLeague clubs.
Still not convinced? It’s easy to say that a video is worth more than thousands of words! Have a look for yourself in the latest episode of #TimeOutZalgiris!