NBL outfit Reading Rockets have re-applied to join the BBL.

The club, long linked with a move up to become fully professional, want to join as soon as next season.

Rockets’ existing directors, Gary and Helen Johnson, will be joined by other key family members Steph and Matt Johnson while their group includes a number of key personnel who all have elite-level experience across both sport and business.

Matt Delaney – owner, co-founder, and managing director of The Great Outdoor Gym Company and Paul Smith, who led city and spectator projects for the ICC, Rugby World Cup as well as being the lead for Cadbury’s London 2012 sponsorship activation, have joined the planning team. Both played together at Crystal Palace in the club’s dominance in the National Basketball League.

Ex-BBF chair, Nick Humby, formerly chief financial officer for Pearson TV, Manchester United, and the LTA, together with Joe Edwards, ex-FIBA and NFL marketing executive and current Chief Marketing Officer for Super League Triathlon are also involved.

Gary Johnson, chairman of Reading Rockets, said: “It’s been a long time in gestation but in our 25th year of serving Reading and the sport, now is right for us.

“I’m excited about the team we’ve brought together from diverse businesses and professions, but all heavily linked to basketball for decades. These are exciting times for Rockets, the town, and the sport.”

It is unclear whether the Rockets have established a new venue as part of their application.

Their 650-capacity home at Rivermead was adjudged too small to enter the British Basketball League on their previous push in 2012.

Fresh investment from 777 Partners means the BBL is likely to prioritise larger markets – with Birmingham already tabling a bid in a consortium fronted by Hakeem Olajuwon.

But Matt Johnson, Director of Coaching at Rockets, believes that this team of people can help the club fulfil its ambitions

“We now have the right people around us with world-class knowledge and business acumen to guide the club to new heights,” he added.

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