Baden-Württemberg: Heidelberg's basketball team against Bayern in the SAP Arena

Heidelberg (dpa/lsw) - Bundesliga basketball club MLP Academics Heidelberg wants to use the home game against runner-up FC Bayern Munich to expand its fan base and catch up with the large neighboring clubs in the Rhine-Neckar region.

Baden-Württemberg: Heidelberg's basketball team against Bayern in the SAP Arena

Heidelberg (dpa/lsw) - Bundesliga basketball club MLP Academics Heidelberg wants to use the home game against runner-up FC Bayern Munich to expand its fan base and catch up with the large neighboring clubs in the Rhine-Neckar region. Therefore, the game on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. / MagentaTV) will not take place as usual in the 4,200-seat SNP Dome in Heidelberg, but in the much larger SAP Arena in Mannheim. "We want to increase awareness here in the region, but also increase awareness of the club beyond the region," said Managing Director Matthias Lautenschläger of the German Press Agency.

The eight-time German ice hockey champion Adler Mannheim and the two-time handball champion Rhein-Neckar Löwen usually play in the SAP Arena. The MLP Academics are expecting more than 10,000 spectators there, in Heidelberg so far this season it's an average of 2,500. "We're not as far along as the Löwen and the Adler, but we want to catch up to them," said Lautenschläger. The game against Bayern, who were German champions in 2014, 2018 and 2019, is a "first exclamation mark".

Under the name USC Münster, the MLP Academics were one of the most successful basketball clubs in Germany until the 1970s, but later played in the second division for a long time and renamed the professional team in 2012. In 2021, the Academics returned to the basketball Bundesliga and finished 15th at the end of last season. Now they hope that after the Bayern game, some of the newly won spectators will also come to the home games in Heidelberg in the future.

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