Sinan Erdem Dome: Basketball heaven

May 08, 2017 by Print
Sinan Erdem Dome: Basketball heaven

Five years after arguably one of the most memorable championship games in basketball history, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four returns to Istanbul and to the Sinan Erdem Dome on May 19 and May 21 to crown a continental champion again.

As Turkey's largest multipurpose indoor venue – and one of the biggest in Europe – the Sinan Erdem Dome has proved to be a perfect fit for elite basketball, starting with its inauguration in 2010 when it served as the host site for the medal rounds of the FIBA Basketball World Cup. With sellout crowds filling the venue to its capacity, and with home fans creating a magnificent backdrop for the basketball games, Sinan Erdem Dome helped lift Turkish basketball to the forefront of the sport, while certifying the hosting prowess of the local organizers in Istanbul.

Even without a Turkish team involved, the 2012 EuroLeague Final Four produced sensations that were just as great, as another dramatic climax at Sinan Erdem Dome gave basketball fans the world over truly memorable thrills.

In an event that featured Spanish giants FC Barcelona, then-defending champion Panathinaikos Athens, underdog Olympiacos Piraeus and heavy favorite CSKA Moscow, it turned out to be the latter two teams who clashed in a championship game for ages. CSKA had a 19-point second half lead, but a determined Olympiacos rallied behind legend Vassilis Spanoulis and youngster Kostas Papanikolaou before Georgios Printezis hit a game-winning floater with 0.7 second to go to shock the basketball world and win it for the Reds.

Now, the Final Four returns to the Sinan Erdem Dome, giving basketball a chance to produce more magic at the venue that has hosted the sport more often than any other. Apart from being the home of the Turkish basketball national team, Turkish Airlines Euroleague sides Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce that played their respective home games in this magnificent arena from 2010 to 2012. Most recently, it was their city-rival Besiktas which hosted its 7DAYS EuroCup fixtures there during the 2015-16 season.

Sinan Erdem Dome has also proved itself a natural fit for a variety of other world-class elite sporting events, too. It has been the home of the Women's Tennis Association Championships from 2011 to 2013 and has hosted the 2012 FINA Short Course Swimming Championships and was a part of the IAAF World Indoor Championships event in athletics.

Named after the late Sinan Erdem, a Turkish volleyball player and coach and the president of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, the venue has a capacity of 22,500 spectators, but when fitted for basketball shifts into a cozy 15,000-seat arena with perfect views for all spectators, not to mention state-of-the-art team and fan services.

Now in the middle of May, the sporting world will turn its attention to Turkey's largest city and this fantastic sporting venue once again as the best four teams of a historic season battle for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague crown at Sinan Erdem Dome.