The two new additions will take the number of teams competing in the UK’s top flight to 13 teams for the 2012/13 season, providing no-one withdraws.
With the surprise announcement of the Royals, it provides the BBL with the London franchise it has wanted so much since the departure of the PAWS London Capitals in 2012.
BBL Chairman Paul Blake enthused:
“We are delighted to welcome two new clubs to the BBL next season and are particularly pleased that the location of the new clubs map our own Franchise Development Plan, including a team in one of the Olympic Boroughs. We wish them every success both off and on the court”.
The Royals will be based at the SportHouse, in Mayesbrook Park, Dagenham, which boasts a capacity of up to 4,000.
Royals Director Mark Clark said:
“We are very excited at joining the BBL at a great time for the sport in the UK. 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 provide a pathway for the cream of the Institute players.”
Manchester’s Jeff Jones has made no secret of his intentions to bring a professional team back to Manchester as he has worked hard behind the scenes for the past 18 months.
The Giants will be based at the Wright Robinson Sports College in the East of Manchester .
“I am absolutely delighted to be back coaching the Manchester Giants – it has been a long term ambition of mine to bring a professional basketball franchise back to Manchester and we’re aiming to hit the ground running and introduce a competitive team to the league, with a good balance of home grown talent with more experienced players.”
Giants Chief Executive, Steve Mansfield added:
“We are delighted that we have been able to resurrect such an iconic Manchester sports brand as the Manchester Giants. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage but we are only a months away from the first match of the new season and a new era for basketball in Manchester and a new force in the BBL.”
Elsewhere, a short term delay with their venue build has meant that the new Birmingham franchise will now not commence BBL competitions until the 2013/14 season, whilst London Leopards have also chosen to hold off their debut until the season after next.
Applications from NASSA and Reading Rockets were also turned down.