BBL OPEN TO STRONGER NBA LINKS

The British Basketball League is set to collaborate more closely with the NBA in a bid to jointly cash in.

MVP understands talks are under way to land a title sponsor for the BBL who would potentially also partner with the NBA in the UK, a move which would likely lead to the the powerhouse American league forging a commercial partnership with the domestic top flight.

“At the minute they only have one game a year in London whereas we operate all year around,” said a BBL official. “So it makes sense for us to work together. And we’ve got a better relationship now than in the past.”

The two leagues have hitherto had only limited ties with little evidence of cross-promotion or co-operation despite obvious crossover in their target markets.

That separation, insists NBA Europe’s vice-president of strategy Ed Hepworth, is no longer beneficial to either.

“The two things we’re trying to do in the UK is get more kids playing the game and get more fans following the game, wither watching to live games or following it on digital or social,” he told the BBC.

“So anything we can do with the BBL to work together to grow the popularity of the sport of basketball, we’re more than happy to do that. What we can do is say to all of our fans, come and watch BBL games. And the BBL can say, come and watch NBA games.”

Meanwhile a fresh proposal from the league is set to be handed to the British Basketball Federation to secure a new 10-year operating license.

The fee payable is thought to be much less than the original £1 million annual sum originally put forward. But if it is signed off, it would give the BBL’s 12 clubs the long-term security they have been seeking since the previous license expired two years ago.

“There will be a board meeting on Friday and we will review it then,” confirmed BBF chief executive Lisa Wainwright.

Photo: NBAE/Getty

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