Basketball: Giants chase record crowd

MANCHESTER GIANTS risk tempting fate tonight when they face London Towers at the MEN Arena and bid to break the attendance records for a basketball game in the United Kingdom. The first target for the Budweiser League leaders is the 10,001 recorded in the Guinness Book of Records who saw Birmingham Bullets beat Sheffield Sharks 100-88 in March 1997.

But the Giants' general manager, Jay Goldberg, hopes the ticket price of pounds 2 for all seats, and a promised visit by the Manchester United footballers Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, will take the crowd above the official 12,356 who saw Giants play Greater London Leopards in September 1995. That night, though, Giants lost 107-88 and a similar slip tonight against the Towers will cost them ground over second-placed Sheffield.

Goldberg said: "That crowd figure wasn't submitted to the Guinness Book of Records. Although we later proved the actual attendance that night was 14,251, the Basketball League only accept the lower figure. But the first aim tonight is to beat the attendance at the Birmingham game."

By Thursday evening over 8,000 tickets had been sold, and for the promotion against Leopards in 1995 nearly 3,000 fans paid on the night.

Sheffield should win easily at struggling Leicester City Riders tonight, who cancelled the contract of their leading scorer JaRon Boone on Thursday and allowed the player to return to America.

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