Talks have reached an advanced stage on proposals for a £7.3 million buy-in to the BBL.

In an approach first revealed by MVP last year, Miami-based 777 Partners, who already have a majority stake in the reigning British Basketball League champions, London Lions, are now in advanced talks to take a 45 per cent share in the league.

With a mixture of cash and loans on the table, the deal – which will have to be unanimously accepted by all eleven clubs who currently own the league – would see 777 take control of the BBL’s administration and marketing in an attempt to grow it into a major force in European basketball.

Dubbed ‘Project Rebound’, it would not see vast sums headed to each team beyond the repayment of current long-term debts, worth less than £50,000 to any recipient.

“What you’d see,” said one source, “is investment in growing the brand, new courts, advertising boards and things like that. They’ve got a five-year plan and if that investment came good, it could make a real difference.”

It is believed that the BBL’s two university-owned franchises, Surrey Scorchers and Worcester Wolves, are slowing the pace of concluding a deal due to the lengthy decision-making processes involved, by necessity, in the public sector.

Although some teams have received emergency funding from the Treasury to cover Covid-induced losses, the slow pace of distributing monies – in either loans or grants – has focused minds.

As has the need to elevate British basketball from its position on the outer fringes of the sporting universe to somewhere closer to the centre. “We need to give this a go,” the director of one club declared. “What have we really got to lose?”

The answer is financial compensation should the proposed deal ever come apart at the seams. Considered a more robust option than a previous approach, last year, from investors in Abu Dhabi, the nature of the idea could be beneficial, says former Glasgow Rocks director David Low – if the terms are right.

“The sport is in a precarious state,” he said. “It’s under-capitalised. It needs investment. So I hope the 777 deal works.

“UK basketball has been a perennial under-performer. With the right management and the right money, you’d expect you could push up the BBL to the European mean.

“And by getting in now, that investment will grow.”

777 Partners and the BBL declined comment.

This story originally appeared in the MVP Mail – your regular email newsletter with exclusive news and features – subscribe today.

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