The O2 venue guide

Information to help plan your trip to see a basketball game at The O2 – the BBL’s regular venue for the biggest events in its calendar.

? Address ∙ ? The venue ∙ ? Seating ∙ ? Tickets ∙ ? Food and drink ∙ ? Entertainment ∙ ? Public transport ∙ ? By car ∙ ? Parking ∙ ? Accommodation ∙ ? Previous visits


? Address

The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX

? The venue

The Millennium Dome was built as a government project on the 48-acre site at a cost of £789 million, largely paid for by National Lottery grants, and opened as a year-long exhibit space throughout 2000 prior to the turn of the new millennium. A year later, the site was sold to be turned into the sports and entertainment venue it is today, with naming rights going on to be sold to O2. The opening event in the new arena – the second largest seated arena in the UK behind the Manchester Arena – was a Bon Jovi concert in 2007.

In recent years, it has hosted the country’s biggest basketball events. The NBA Global Games has taken regular season games to Japan, Mexico and, since 2011, The O2 in London. The final rounds of the basketball events (as well as gymnastics) at the London 2012 Olympics were staged at the venue, temporarily retitled the North Greenwich Arena for commercial reasons.

The BBL playoff final was previously played at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham and latterly Wembley Arena, but moved to The O2 in 2015. In front of 14,700 spectators, the Newcastle Eagles beat the London Lions. This has remained the venue for the BBL’s end-of-season showpiece game.

In September 2017, the inaugural All-Stars Championship will be held at The O2 as a season curtain-raiser, featuring 8 BBL teams playing fast-paced, customised rules unique to the competition.

Possibly as a consequence of not being purpose built, it doesn’t stand out in comparison to some of the world’s other biggest indoor arenas. There has been some churn in the resident businesses, most notably the Brooklyn Bowl’s disappearance and replacement by Hollywood Bowl, and a designer outlet village is due to open in 2018.

Expect high security, including airport-style scans, and the queues that ensue.

? Seating

Capacity: 20,000

? Tickets

The competing teams are likely to offer tickets for sale in their own fan sections. General sale is through the BBL.

? Food and drink

A number of chain restaurants can be found outside and more still once you enter the Dome in The Avenue area. Byron Burger, Five Guys burger bar and Busaba Eathai are the picks of those inside.

Meantime, the brewery founded locally in 2000 but now part of Big Beer since its takeover by SABMiller, offers quality beers (no food, limited seating) at the rickety Beer Box outside the Dome, including a number of rare lines. All Bar One can be found immediately on the left of the Dome’s entrance and a Slug & Lettuce to the right on ‘Entertainment Avenue’.

Any form of food or drink will be binned by security before you can enter the arena. Past the entry point, the choices are embarrassingly poor by modern major venue standards and charged at an extortionate premium. Expect to pay upwards of £6.50 for a pint of Becks Vier, Budweiser or Stella Artois.

It’s a 2-mile walk to Greenwich but if you’ve time, there are lots of good places to eat and drink in this popular but classy tourist spot.

? Izzy’s vegan choice: Ask at Byron for one of their two veggie burgers to be made vegan. The Pad Thai Jay at Busaba Eathai is a personal favourite, but their menu is very limited in other vegan options. If passing through Greenwich, there are lots of options at the outdoor Greenwich Market. For other suggestions, visit HappyCow or download their app. ??

? Entertainment

Celebrity charity basketball game Hoops Aid has become a firm fixture in the Playoff Finals day along with other basketball exhibition games and dunking contests.

Cheerleaders and, variously, dance and music acts also perform, with Tinchy Stryder appearing at the 2017 Finals. You may well find yourself sloping off for one of those £6 beers.

Leroy has been the mascot at BBL and GB games for some years, seemingly amusing no one except for FunkyTown MC Simon Hosannah as he struts around pointing and running off with spectators’ and cheerleaders’ belongings.

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Leroy the Lion. Photo © Graham Hodges

Curiously what the BBL thought this called for was double the fun, and so in 2017, in a commercial deal with a parcel company, an additional mascot was announced. Sadly, the big unveil produced what looked like Leroy’s drifter cousin, Larry, with unkempt hair and plenty of packaging of his own.

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Larry the Lion. Photo © Graham Hodges

? Public transport

North Greenwich station on the Jubilee line serves The O2. Expect queues.

The venue can also be reached by bus, cable car and river bus.

More details can be found on The O2 website.

? By car

Sat nav reference: SE10 0DX

? Parking

Parking can be pre-booked, or pay on the day if there are remaining spaces, for £22 (twenty-two pounds).

? Accommodation

Intercontinental hotel is directly outside, where rooms typically cost upwards of £200 a night. The Pilot Inn B&B and Holiday Inn Express are nearby, as are options in Canary Wharf and Greenwich.

? Previous visits

  1. Thu 16/01/2014: Atlanta Hawks 110 – 127 Brooklyn Nets (NBA)
  2. Thu 15/01/2015: New York Knicks 79 – 95 Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)
  3. Sun 10/05/2015: Newcastle Eagles 96 – 84 London Lions (BBL Playoffs Final)
  4. Thu 14/01/2016: Orlando Magic 103 – 106 Toronto Raptors (NBA)
  5. Sun 08/05/2016: Leicester Riders 77 – 84 Sheffield Sharks (BBL Playoffs Final) / Nottingham Wildcats 68 – 75 Team Northumbria (WBBL Playoffs Final)
  6. Thu 12/01/2017: Denver Nuggets 140 – 112 Indiana Pacers (NBA)
  7. Sun 14/05/2017: Sevenoaks Suns 70 – 61 Nottingham Wildcats (WBBL Playoffs Final) / Leicester Riders 84 – 63 Newcastle Eagles (BBL Playoffs Final)
  8. Sun 24/09/2017: (All-Stars Basketball Championship)
  9. Thu 11/01/2018: Philadelphia 76ers 103 – 114 Boston Celtics (NBA)

I strive to offer useful information based on past personal experience and secondary sources. All information is given in best faith and I hope is as accurate as possible for you to plan and enjoy your day. Please let me know of any corrections or other suggestions.