Ducks will return to MasterCard Center for playoffs
The Beijing Ducks have earned themselves a return to the MasterCard Center.
After playing the regular season in 6,000-seat Shougang Gymnasium, the Ducks will move back to the building in which they won the CBA title last year, the venue operator announced on Thursday.
Moving into the arena where they claimed the first championship in their 17-year history, the Ducks are excited to open their games up to more fans.
"We have a bigger stage there. Playing in such a fancy stadium, we will definitely feel extra energy with more fans chanting," Beijing forward Zhai Xiaochuan said.
Assistant coach Zhang Jingdong was happy too.
"It's for sure good news for us because there will be more fans coming," he said. "The thunderous chanting of 17,000 home fans (last year) is still fresh in my mind."
The MasterCard Center, which held the Beijing Olympics' basketball games, treated the Ducks to NBA-standard facilities and overwhelming home support last postseason. It played a noticeable role in their 4-1 series win over the perennial champion Guangdong Southern Tigers.
"Going back there, we will play with more heart to defend our home court because it witnessed our glory last year," said forward Zhu Yanxi.
Approved by the CBA and Beijing municipal sports bureau, the move is expected to meet an increasing demand for tickets.
"I'm sure the whole arena will be full to the top to give us the power we need to fight for the championship. Jiayou Beijing," guard Stephon Marbury wrote on his micro blog.
To better cater to fans, the arena will expand game-day services through new-media platforms. It will offer updated information including schedules and game reports on its official micro blog, and have quizzes that offer tickets as a bonus.
"The arena was built for basketball and we should support the development of Chinese basketball with world-class hardware and service," said Guo Jinjiao, manager of the MasterCard Center.
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