Today, 11 January 2020, marks 12 months to the day of our opening game at the Eagles Community Arena.

It was a Friday night last year when a capacity crowd walked through the doors to show their support for both the Eagles team on court and all of those people who had been working tirelessly for the days, weeks, months and for some even years in the build-up to this moment.

Next Friday night, 17 January, we welcome Cheshire Phoenix for their BBL Championship visit to the ECA this season and we hope you will join us for a celebration of the anniversary then, but for now we wanted to take a trip down memory lane and share some of our favourite photos from the build and the first 12 months in our own home.

Darius Defoe, Paul Blake and Fab Flournoy at the arena’s ground breaking ceremony in late November 2017.
Nothing to see here… the site back in January 2018 as ground work began.
March 2018 the steel frame starts to take shape as seen from this aerial drone’s shot.
All Eagles staff visited the building site for the first time in June 2018.
The external cladding was completed in August 2018 and the arena began to resemble how it looks today.
In October 2018 the arena floor was installed and the ECA awaited the arrival of its stands.
Working flat-out towards the opening in January the steelwork for our retractable 16 baskets and four stands went up in November.
Just under month to go until the opening day the hard hats came off as we took possession of the keys to our new home.
Before it was unwrapped ready for the public, on Christmas Eve 2018 the team got a tour of their new home from Paul Blake.
After their tour around the whole arena on Christmas Eve 2018 the BBL team had their first training session on court 1.
Two days to go until the first home game and the players take the opportunity to train on the show court with the stands all now completed ready for opening.
Opening night on Friday 11 January 2019 was completely sold-out.
Darius Defoe scored the first BBL points against Plymouth Raiders in the opening game.
The morning after that first BBL game, 600 young players took to the court in the arena’s first of many CVL Saturdays.
January 23rd saw the first WBBL game hosted at the ECA, aptly against local rivals Durham.
“We did it!” – Paul and Sam Blake get a photo with the team to celebrate mission accomplished after the first month.
In April 2019, at the final BBL Championship home game of the first season in our new home, we honoured one of our greatest and most loved supporters by naming our main VIP hospitality room as ‘The Brian Manning Suite’.
In May 2019 the first full-arena non-basketball sporting event at the ECA was a knock-out night of boxing.
Our first end of season awards dinner was hosted on the BBL court with over 300 guests.
Before the tip-off of the BBL season the ECA hosted its first expo with the Bidfood Big Food & Drink Show 2019.
Opening night of our first full season in our own arena, Paul Blake presents ECA constructors Esh Group with a commemorative framed jersey to celebrate their ten years in support of the club.
For the 2019-20 BBL season 26-metres of LED advertising boards join the courtside set-up.
Following the success of our first expo in September we welcomed our biggest yet with over 700 delegates and 80 exhibitors for the Offshore Wind North East 2019 event.
Our Eagles women’s basketball programme reached a new milestone this season with three teams all training under one roof – under 14 girls, under 16 girls and our WBBL team.
12 months saw us pass the mark of over 180 events of all shapes and sizes being hosted at the ECA.
Now almost half-way through the 2019-20 BBL season the packed schedule of games and other events at the venue sees no sign of slowing. It really has been a slam-dunk of a first year!

You can read the story of building the ECA in more detail in the collection of arena build articles here on our website.

If you are interested in hosting an event at the ECA please call 01912453880 or email [email protected].