Essex Rebels and BA London Lions have joined forces with West Ham for a new sports initiative.

The WBBL rivals have helped to form the Women’s Elite Sport Partnership, with the aim to create a unique and powerful opportunity for women’s sports clubs to collectively work together in order to grow and sustain the development of women’s sport in the UK.

The move also includes West Ham United women’s team, London Pulse Nntball club and Sunrisers women’s cricket (along with partners Essex Cricket and Middlesex Cricket) with the group supporting one another in three main areas; engagement, performance and commercial activity. They will efficiently develop programmes that grow women’s participation in sport, capture new audiences through exciting activations and work together in growing the fan base of the combined professional teams.

In terms of performance, the group’s focus will be around enhancing the player pathway experience, capturing key learnings that encourage each athlete to reach their full potential and growing the support staff structure at all levels, in order to improve the experience of female athletes.

The collaboration will also help to develop efficiencies around key ticketing information and enhancing match day experiences for women’s sports fans. There will also be a specific intention to work together and grow the commercial engagement and revenue within women’s sport, to support the clubs’ shared vision of sustainability.

“The potential of women’s sport is huge and we see this every day; on and off the court,” Mark Clark Head Coach, London Lions Women’s said.

“We understand that reaching this potential cannot be done alone but through a collective effort. Through our involvement in the Women’s Elite Sports Partnership, we know that together we can: increase the visibility, change the stereotypes, inspire the next generation and grow the commercial impact across the whole industry and this is something the London Lions believe in wholeheartedly and are excited to be a part of.”

Dave Parry, Director of Sport at the University of Essex, added: “Basketball is the second most popular participation team sport among young people in the country, and the Essex Rebels offer a complete pathway from school engagement, junior club and academy, university scholarship programme, through to senior professional teams. We have always committed to parity of opportunity and investment for our women’s programme. The Women’s Elite Sport Partnership is a very exciting opportunity to amplify our commitment to women’s basketball, with the aim of increasing the strength of our overall programme and the competitiveness of our team”

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