A majestic enclosure but clubs in difficulty: the paradox of Orléans

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A majestic enclosure but clubs in difficulty: the paradox of Orléans

The Blues blinked as they entered the huge Orleans Arena for their Thursday night training. Phone in hand, Nikola Karabatic filmed the superb enclosure with black seats and its giant LED cube with rounded edges in a panoramic view. The French team will inaugurate the premises at the end of the afternoon in front of 9,500 spectators.

“We are very proud to inaugurate this facility, enthuses Thomas Renault, the former Orleans footballer who has become deputy mayor in charge of Sports. This makes Orléans shine and brings significant economic benefits to the territory. » Between the concerts of Michel Polnareff or Soprano, a weekend of Volleyball Nations League is already scheduled from June 20 to 25.

The Arena is part of a new event complex, CO’Met, which also includes a convention center and an exhibition center, alongside the pre-existing Zénith. The project was particularly expensive: more than 150 million euros in total for the three new rooms and the urban developments.

Men’s basketball and handball in the Second Division

The enclosure also becomes the largest in France with a resident club, Orléans Loiret Basket (9,800 places in basketball configuration), in front of the Palais des Sports de Pau (7,500). Bad luck, she arrives when the club has just been relegated to Pro B (D2). “The timing was not good, admits Vincent Fontaine, director of sports operations at the OLB. But you would have to be tough not to welcome this room with open arms. She is beautiful and well made. Our sport needs real places like this. »

The Blues, whose bus is parked here in front of the Arena d’Orléans, arrive to train on Thursday. (B.Paquot/The Team)

The club, which will take up residence at the end of the season, will generally use a reduced capacity of 5,300 places. The room means a great potential for development, but also much higher costs.

Local handball players see this beautiful tool “with a rather distant eye, says Fabien Courtial, coach and general manager of Saran (Proligue, D2). If we go back to the Starligue, we would be candidates to organize the gala matches there against Paris, Nantes or Montpellier. »

The daughters of Fleury, they have just put the key under the door, seven years after having been champions of France, consequence of the refusal of the metropolis to grant an exceptional subsidy of 100,000 euros which had been promised to them. While, according to our information, the French Handball Federation had included the Blues match in the agreement reached in the spring of 2022 to save the club.

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