BBL: League set for expansion

Giants and Royals join for 2012/13 but Big Cats wait a year

Last Updated: 26/06/12 2:05pm

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BBL: Three teams over two seasons

BBL: Three teams over two seasons

Sky Bet

The British Basketball League is to boost its ranks with the addition of three new teams over the next two seasons.

Manchester Giants and East London Royals have joined the league ahead of the 2012/13 season, while Essex Leopards will compete from the start of the 2013/14 season.

The inclusion of the Royals, who will be based at the Sportshouse in Maybrook Park, Dagenham, marks a return to the capital for top flight basketball.

"We are very excited at joining the BBL at a great time for the sport in the UK," said Royals director Mark Clark.

"The BBL has gained great exposure over the last two seasons and the Olympic Games will give the sport huge coverage.

"With our involvement in the local GB Regional Basketball Institute we hope the BBL team will also provde a pathway for the cream of Institute players.

Ambition

The Giants will be based at the Wright Robinson Sports College in the East of Manchester under the direction of head coach Jeff Jones.

He said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be back coaching in Manchester. It has been a long term ambition of mine to bring a professional basketball franchise back to Manchester.

"We are aiming to hit the ground running and introduce a competitive team to the league with a good balance of home grown talent and more experienced players."

Essex were granted a franchise after they won the EBL Division One league, play-off and National Cup titles last season.

The Leopards, who will continue to compete in Division One next season, have been given time by BBL to strengthen their commercial capability and finalise their venue arrangements.

"We're really excited about the prospect of BBL basketball in Essex," said club chairman Fred Dicker. "And we hope to enter the competition having successfully defended out three titles."

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