NEW EVENT TO MARK BBL START

The British Basketball League is to link up with boxing and snooker impresario Barry Hearn to launch a new high profile event, MVP can reveal.

The single-day tournament, likely to be staged at London’s 02 Arena in late-September and televised by Sky Sports, will be formally unveiled this week but it is understood it will offer substantial prize money to the winners.

Although the full plans are yet to be finalised, it is set to only feature the top eight clubs from the current campaign, adding an extra touch of spice to the forthcoming playoff race.

Hearn’s Matchroom organisation has successfully entered a number of sports since first coming to prominence in snooker 30 years ago, moving onto boxing promotion and large-scale darts events.

It recently partnered with British Gymnastics to revamp its World Cup leg which has been given a makeover and moved to The 02 where it will be held next weekend.

The new jamboree will be loosely modelled on Spain’s Copa Del Rey but, BBL sources confirmed, it will sit along side the four existing competitions with the 2018 playoff final still pencilled in for the Docklands venue.

However the timing, some say, could be problematic with fears some leading domestic players might be unavailable after featuring for Great Britain at the EuroBasket finals in Istanbul earlier in the month.

Discussions are thought to have been held over staging a similar event for netball on the same weekend.

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