The British Basketball League (BBL) today announced that Miami-based alternative investment firm 777 Partners has invested £ 7million in exchange for a 45% stake in the professional league.
Today’s announcement marks the initial phase of funding at £ 7million, serving as a defining moment for the future of basketball in the UK. The investment will be used to implement an ambitious plan that will cover the entirety of sport – from the community base to the global elite gaming infrastructure in the UK.
At the heart of the League’s plan is the creation of a vastly improved leadership team – including the appointment of a new CEO – to move the League forward. There will also be a major investment in a “digital transformation” strategy to improve and improve the product and to deliver the League and its content more effectively to the digital native sport audience. Further recruiting, building a sophisticated data infrastructure, and adapting new technologies are also critical to deploying investments.
When it comes to the impact of the investment at the level of play, the strategic focus will extend both on and off the pitch, with initiatives ranging from improving the quality of play and investing in the development of officials and refereeing, improving the skills of match day delivery teams. .
Under the new ‘BBL Supports’ program, the League’s player-centered approach will be further emphasized, with players benefiting from additional support for their basketball and broader professional aspirations and additional investments made in the player onboarding process and athlete wellness programs.
The funds will also allow the introduction of new technologies in the stadiums to improve the fan experience and the broadcast product. Sky Sports is the current broadcast partner of the British Basketball League, broadcasting a live League match every weekend throughout the season. As part of these plans, the League is also targeting at least four new high-quality franchises to be added to the League over the next five years.
Through the BBL Inspires program, grassroots football will also benefit as the League strengthens its collaboration with clubs on their work within their local communities, to help inspire and develop the next generation of UK basketball talent. .
A significant portion of the League’s future spending will be spent on building the infrastructure to support clubs with operational, content and marketing initiatives – helping attract new teams while helping existing clubs continue to grow. and expand their reach. This initial investment is designed to act as a catalyst to trigger further significant investment in clubs, also with the goal of creating much improved arenas and training facilities.
The BBL is also committed to increasing its support for women’s football, with additional resources being funneled into the Women’s Basketball League, and to working with national governing bodies to help develop all levels of the game, including the Great Britain teams. Increased commercialization of all of the sport’s key assets by working in partnership is a key objective of the investment.
Basketball is the second most played team sport in the UK, with a quarter of teenagers playing at least twice a month and 47% of participants coming from a non-white background – the highest of all sports (* Source: Sport England). There are also over 8.4 million basketball fans living in the UK, demonstrating the high level of interest in the sport.
Commenting on the new investment, Sir Rodney Walker, President of the British Basketball League, said: “To say that we are delighted to welcome 777 Partners – as passionate investors who share our vision – is an understatement. We could not be more delighted that, thanks to this significant infusion of capital, we are now in a position to accelerate the great ambitions of the League and to unleash the enormous untapped potential that we know of basketball in this country.
“Basketball is unique in its ability to overcome cultural, societal and economic divisions and in its ability to engage with a young and diverse audience. So there is huge potential to use the transformative power of sport to benefit our growing audience and to increase the impact we can deliver from the grassroots to the highest level of professional gaming. ”
He added; “Basketball and BBL are looking forward to a very positive future from Covid, thanks in large part to the support of over £ 3million from government funding from Sport Survival. Now, thanks to this investment from 777 Partners, we can plan for the future with confidence.
Joshua Wander, Managing Partner of 777 Partners, said: “Basketball is undoubtedly a disruptive force for the institutions that dominate British sport. The current barriers to entry and the lack of support at all levels of the game have a disproportionate and inequitable impact on disadvantaged and minority communities who should benefit from its potential. Observing the systemic forces inhibiting the growth of British basketball has strengthened our resolve as a stakeholder. We are determined to work closely with clubs and within their respective communities to ensure that our investment is used to incubate the sport more broadly. We thank Sir Rodney, the board and the clubs for the opportunity to do so. ”
The move expands 777 Partners’ sporting portfolio, which also includes La Liga Club Sevilla and Serie A side Genoa, which they bought in September this year. 777 also owns the BBL Club London Lions.