Anyone who is even remotely interested in basketball knows that Lithuanians love this sport and it’s the most popular sport in the Baltic country. The latest example of how passionate Lithuanian fans are about basketball came a couple of days ago.
Latvia (northern neighbours of Lithuania) hosted FIBA U-19 World Championship during the last couple of weeks. Although youth tournaments usually do not attract huge crowds there was one exception.
Only two teams had large amounts of supporters in arenas during group stage games – hosts Latvia and Lithuania.
However, when the final stage of tournament moved to Arena Riga which can fit more than 12,000 fans the hosts were worried that it will be empty. Lithuanian U-19 team led by Jonas Valanciunas went all the way to the final and the amount of coming fans from Lithuania just kept growing.
Lithuania was set to face Serbia in the title game and there was no question who will have more supporters since almost 8,000 Lithuanian fans bought tickets in order to cheer for their team in the final. The fans weren’t disappointed as Lithuania won 85-67.
Arena Riga was sold out just like Siemens Arena in Vilnius last year for the FIBA Europe U-18 final. Latvian journalists made a video about Lithuanian fans which gives a glimpse of what to expect in Lithuania later this summer during EuroBasket 2011.