20th April 2023 - By: alda09x024

The Growth of BBL Basketball

Basketball players jumping to get ball

In recent years the British Basketball League (BBL) has seen vast growth in popularity. This gain in popularity has even attracted big name sponsors who are keen to invest in the league, which will only lead to further growth.   

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the BBL is expanding so swiftly. 

The standard of BBL basketball has improved: 

  • The Leicester Riders and London Lions, two of the league’s most recent winners, represented the BBL in Europe to open the 2022–23 season, something that’s never been accomplished by British clubs before. The Lions competed in the EuroCup, the second-highest level of continental competition in Europe after the EuroLeague. The BBL is viewed as having exposure throughout Europe and the extra money it delivers is a key step towards moving up to the top of European basketball. The teams improving goes hand-in-hand with them introducing better players and bigger names. As of yet,  it has been difficult to recruit any of the more recognisable personalities from the NBA in the UK due to salary caps. However, Sam Dekker and Kosta Koufos’ names are probably familiar to any casual NBA watcher over the past eight to ten years. Both guys had lengthy NBA careers and currently play for the London Lions. Koufos, who is currently 33 years old and has played in over 700 regular-season games over the course of a 12-year, five-team career. Whereas Dekker, who is younger, played in 201 NBA games over the course of a six-year career. 

Investments in BBL basketball: 

  • This improved standard of basketball and former NBA players joining the league has also led to the increase in funding for the BBL. Sponsors are now more inclined to be associated with the BBL now they have these big names under their belt. In December 2021, Miami-based alternative investment group 777 Partners purchased £7 million (US$8.7 million) for a 47% interest in the BBL, marking the organisation’s first significant institutional investment. The BBL is now accepting additional funding to bring on further expansion.  
  • With the boost in revenue the teams will be able to invest in better facilities for the players, bigger arenas and most importantly will be able to invest in driving fan engagement. A recent example of this would be the Caledonia Gladiators investing £20m in a “ground-breaking new project aimed at developing one of the finest basketball facilities in Europe”. The club, whose teams compete in the men’s and women’s British Basketball League (BBL/WBBL), will move into an 1,800-seat temporary home at the PlaySport Scotland recreation centre in East Kilbride later this summer as part of the two-stage project. The primary project, a brand-new, purpose-built arena with 6,000 seats and a five-court practice and community facility at the location, will then start construction in 2024, scheduled to be finished in 2026. The Gladiators have big ideas for the project, including hopes that the stadium would eventually house Team GB as the sport’s popularity soars in Scotland. 

Children have always had favourite football players to imitate in the park, as well as the occasional cricketer or rugby player. However, with a greater British presence at the top level thanks to players like OG Anunoby and Jeremy Sochan, as well as the BBL’s continued expansion, it might not be long before we see a similar influx of British players in the NBA. The BBL hopes that soon their players will be house hold names and kids idols and it looks like that time may not be too far away. 

Did you enjoy this blog? Why not head over and have a read of our other blogs on basketball: 

NBA fans spoiled with personalisation 

NBA sponsors changing the leagues future