It sits in a beautiful setting at one of Madrid’s most recognizable historic sites, with the Royal Palace providing the perfect backdrop. It has become the place at the Final Four where basketball fans go to congregate. And this year more than ever, it’s become a center for playing basketball with more hoops set up and balls bouncing than any year previous. Indeed, the biggest Turkish Airlines Euroleague Fanzone ever organized has more than lived up to its billing. Halfway through Final Four weekend, there is no doubt that it has been a massive success, as the attendance Saturday of an estimated 120,000 fans and growing from all over the world attests.
The trend that started from opening on Friday and continued Saturday as people continued pouring in to visit the Fanzone from the morning hours onward. An effort from Euroleague Basketball and Comunidad de Madrid to invite boys and girls of all ages to come and experience basketball has paid dividends and given this season's Fanzone the highest participation rate ever. It is hard to find a court or one of dozens of hoops throughout the site where balls aren't being bounced, careening off rims or ripping through the nets at any moment.
And the fans have followed the participants in droves. The site at the Plaza de Oriente has been a place for kids, but also for grown-up fans of basketball, to enjoy fun activities, good music, show off their basketball skills at one of the stands or entertainment areas, compete in tournaments, or see, meet and, if lucky, take photos with and get autographs from Euroleague legends of yesterday and stars of today.
Areas like the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Experience Area, EFES Entertainment Stand, EA7 Emporio Armani Court, Citroen Hoops and NBA2K15 Gaming Areas have something for everyone. Their displays, games and contests have been drawing great interest from fans and passersby alike, many of whom help to create constant lines in front of the stands to wait for chances to test their skills. While fully-booked 1x1, 3x3 and 5x5 tournaments provide for some competitive excitement, EFES Euroleague Cheerleaders and Turkish Tourism Barjots Dunkers offer must-see entertainment.
Last, but certainly not least, the Fanzone and Final Four experience is naturally enhanced by the spirit and enthusiasm from the supporters of the four teams playing for Euroleague glory, dressed in their respective team colors. And regardless of how their teams did on Friday, supporters of Fenerbahce, CSKA, Olympiacos and local side Real Madrid are having a blast at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Fanzone – the site of great basketball fun.
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