Bayern Munich’s basketball bosses feel comfortable enough with their dominating start to the second division ProA season that they are planning a BBL warmup for next season in February in hopes of drawing 8,000 fans in the Olympiahalle.
Bayern had drawn sold-out crowds of 3,200 for their first five home games at the Eissportzentrum arena before deciding to expand their seating capacity for the Osnabruck game last Saturday and bringing in 3,750 spectators – among them BBL commissioner Jan Pommer.
“I thought it was great. You really get the impression that people are having fun and that a lot of them are becoming basketball fans,” Pommer told heinnews’s David Hein after Bayern’s 96-68 victory over Osnabruck.
“This is absolutely suitable for the first division. You can play in the first division here,” said the commissioner of Munich’s Eissportzentrum.
But Pommer also said there was work to do, adding: “You can tell that this is a revamped ice arena – not only because of the temperatures. This cannot be the situation for the next five years.”
Bayern Munich second vice president in charge of basketball operations Bernd Rauch recognized that and said the club will take big steps beginning in the new year to step up their infrastructure as well as sponsor contracts among other issues.
Rauch said the club’s to-do continues to grow by the week as Bayern nears the expected promotion to the BBL.
One of the main unresolved issues is where Munich would be playing games next season – should they gain promotion. And help in figuring out that situation could come on February 20 when Bayern host Bavarian rivals Würzburg at the Olympiahalle.
Partly due to the fact that Bayern are already well atop the ProA with an 11-1 record (with Würzburg second at 10-2), Rauch and management thought they would take on the test of playing in the 12,000 seat Olympiahalle.
“We want to try it out and see how it’s accepted. It’s an unbelievable amount of work to reorder everything. But we are doing it because we are further along now than we had thought even possible in the best case,” Rauch said.
Bayern management have right now set the goal of drawing 8,000 spectators for the game, light-heartedly calling it “Mission 8,000”, referring to the club’s other big goal – “Mission Promotion”.
The Olympiahalle drew 9,000 spectators for the Handball Supercup in August 2008. And if advance ticket sales are overwhelming, maybe Rauch and co. will go over the 8,000 mark.
But Bayern coach Dirk Bauermann is definitely looking forward to the one-time move and knows the magnitude of the move.
“We’re moving from our small living room to the big Olympiahalle. This is a gift for those who have wanted to come out to a Bayern game but haven’t done so yet. It’s sensational that those in charge have the courage to do something big like this,” said Bauermann.