Team Sunderland basketball will have to travel thousands of miles to play league games, facing journey times of up to six hours this season.
With cost rising above £300 just to travel to games and make tip off times, Team Sunderland are in a tough fight for promotion.
Head coach Brian Calder wants teams to be more accommodating with tip off times.
“Teams should be accommodating each other at this level when it comes to the time the game tips off,” he said.
Sunderland play in the men’s 4th Division North section in the National Basketball League with teams from Cumbria, Hull and Manchester.
The Division hasn’t got another team from the North East, which highlights the lack of teams in the area and how far a local team has to travel to find a game.
The cost of the travel has to be considered as well, with Team Sunderland having to travel to nine teams this season.
We have taken a look at the distance, the journey time and cost each away game will cost Team Sunderland this season.
|Teams||Miles (Round trip)||Journey Time (Round trip)||Cost|
|Manchester Giants III||278||5 hours||£35.86|
|Kingston Panthers||280||5 hours||£36.12|
|Leeds Force||184||3 hours||£23.74|
|Stockport Falcons||290||5 ½ hours||£31.41|
|Calderdale Explorers||252||5 hours||£32.51|
|Barrow Thorns||268||5 ½ hours||£34.57|
|Kendal Warriors||188||3 ½ hours||£24.25|
|Sefton Stars II||332||6 hours||£48.83|
Cost = MPG – 40 Price of fuel – 113.5 p
This season Team Sunderland will travel in total of 2,346 miles, which is equivalent to a trip from Sunderland to Moscow or a round trip from Sunderland to Madrid. They face an average away trip of 260 miles costing them £33.63.
This demonstrates the pressure and strain teams who played at this level have put on them by the league, by lacking in local teams and funding.
The long distances have been managed well by Sunderland winning three out their four away games so far this season.
On the 20th of November Sunderland faced Barrow Thorns away from home on a Sunday night. The tip off was 6pm. Barrow is 130 miles away from Sunderland and a five hour round trip.
Team Sunderland would have arrived back home late Sunday night, with many players working or studying the next morning. Head coach Calder wants “realistic tip off times” to be arrange when long travel is involved.
However Calder is not using this as an excuse. He said: “League positions at the end of the day. Don’t want to hear about them excuses”
“As we compete for promotion you find certain barriers in your way, which we have to overcome.”
Team Sunderland look like they have overcome the traveling issues since losing their first game, which was away to Kingston Panthers, and now currently unbeaten away from home since October.
Sunderland will need to continue this form as they still have long trips away to Manchester, Kendal and Stockport ahead. These will be huge games that could decide whether Team Sunderland gets promoted.