ALL STARS SHOOTOUT TAKES SHAPE

A fresh look for basketball has been promised after a new BBL pre-season event was formally launched in London.

As revealed by MVP, the one-day shootout – called the All Stars Championship – will be backed by sports promoter Barry Hearn and be held at The 02 Arena on Sunday September 24 and screened on Sky Sports.

The format will see eight teams battle out for a £100,000 prize pot with shortened-format games.

Each, according to the organisers, will play in a double elimination format; two wins and the team will advance straight through to the semi finals, two losses will result in being knocked out of the tournament with teams winning one and losing one of their opening matches playing a deciding match for a place in the last four.

The winner will take £25,000 with even a winless participant guaranteed £5,000.

Hearn, with a long track record in delivering big events in boxing and snooker, has previously taken darts and gymnastics into new TV-friendly formats. And the jamboree will be a double-header with netball also featuring on the previous day.

He said: “The popularity of basketball and netball is at an all-time high right now. We want to bring this right to the fore with a massive weekend at The O2. By combining the expertise of Matchroom and Sky Sports with those of England Netball, we know that we are embarking on something special.

“It’s also about encouraging participation. Both sports are continuing to grow at a rapid rate and for that to continue we must encourage people young and old to get out there and try these exciting sports. We want to help with this by bringing both basketball and netball centre-stage for one huge weekend in London.

“By combining the expertise of Matchroom and Sky Sports with those of the British Basketball League we know that we are embarking on something special.”

BBL Commercial Director Bob Hope added, “Having an exciting new event and especially one being organised by a company as highly respected around the globe as Matchroom, is yet more evidence of how the popularity and profile of basketball continues to grow.”

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