The British Basketball League (BBL) has announced that 777 Partners has invested £7 million in return for a 45% stake in the professional league.
The funding from the Miami-based alternative investment firm will be used to deliver a plan that will span the entirety of the sport including community grassroots through to the overall infrastructure of the game in the UK.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of the British Basketball League, commented: “To state that we are thrilled to have 777 Partners come onboard – as passionate investors who share our vision – is somewhat of an understatement.
“We couldn’t be more delighted that, as a result of this significant injection of capital, we are now able to fast track the League’s big ambitions and unlock the huge untapped potential that we know the sport of basketball has in this country.
“Basketball is unique in its ability to reach across cultural, societal and economic divides and in its ability to engage with a young, diverse audience. There is therefore huge potential to use the transformative power of sport for the benefit of our growing audience and to increase the impact we can deliver from the grassroots to the very top of the professional game.”
Following an appointment of a new CEO, the announcement sees investment in a ‘digital transformation’ strategy to improve the product and to aim to deliver the league and its content more effectively to the sport’s digitally native audience.
“Basketball and the BBL is coming out of Covid looking forward to a very positive future, thanks in no small measure to the more than £3 million of support from the Government’s Sport Survival funding. Now, with this investment from 777 Partners, we can plan for the future with confidence,” Walker continued.
Additionally, the deal promises that strategic focus will extend both on and off the court, with initiatives ranging from elevating the quality of play and investing in official and refereeing development, to the upskilling of game-day delivery teams.
Players will also be given additional support, under the new ‘BBL Supports’ programme, across their basketball and wider career aspirations and additional investment made in the player onboarding process and athlete welfare programmes.
Sky Sports is the current broadcast partner of the British Basketball League, showing one League match live every weekend across the season, and the new plans look for at least four new franchises to be added to the League within the next five years.
Moreover, there will also be focus on building up clubs with operational, content and marketing initiatives to help attract new teams whilst supporting existing clubs in continuing to build and expand their reach.
Joshua Wander, Managing Partner from 777 Partners, added: “Basketball is undoubtedly a disruptive force to the institutions that dominate UK sport. The current barriers to entry and lack of support at all levels of the game have a disproportionate and inequitable impact on underprivileged and minority communities that stand to benefit from its potential.
“Observing the systemic forces inhibiting the growth of British basketball has deepened our resolve as a stakeholder. We are determined to work closely alongside the clubs and within their respective communities to ensure our investment serves to incubate the sport more broadly. We thank Sir Rodney, the board, and the clubs for the opportunity to do so.”
Finally, the basketball organisation has also expressed its commitment in increasing its support of the women’s game, with additional resources being channeled towards the Women’s Basketball League, and to working with the National Governing Bodies to help grow all levels of the game.