The British Basketball League (BBL) has announced a major investment by US fund 777 Partners in a move that it hopes will realise the sport’s potential in the UK.
Miami-based 777 Partners, which already owns BBL team London Lions, is paying £7m for a 45 per cent stake in the league.
The fund also owns Italian football club Genoa and is a vocal minority shareholder in Spanish side Sevilla.
The said the investment would fund “an ambitious plan that will span the entirety of the sport – from community grassroots through to the overall infrastructure of the elite game in the UK.”
Basketball is the second most played team sport in the UK but has struggled to attract funding to turn its grassroots popularity into a stronger ecosystem.
“To state that we are thrilled to have 777 Partners come onboard – as passionate investors who share our vision – is somewhat of an understatement,” said British Basketball League chairman Rodney Walker.
“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.”
The British Basketball League has prioritised hiring a chief executive and improving its digital strategy to create and distribute its content more effectively.
It also wants to expand the 10-team league to include “at least four new, high-quality franchises” in the next five years.
“Basketball is undoubtedly a disruptive force to the institutions that dominate UK sport,” said 777’s managing partner Joshua Wander.
“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.”