How the BBL was founded - with Bob Hope - Ep. 57 -

How the BBL was founded – with Bob Hope – Ep. 57

In Episode 57 of the Hoopsfix Podcast, we sit down with BBL Commercial Director Bob Hope, who was instrumental of the forming of the league in 1987.

Hope has been involved with basketball club and league administration/commercial since the 70s, and was one of the main drivers for the clubs breaking away from the federation to form the BBL in the late 80s.

Since then, he has served as the commercial director of the league twice, been the UK rights holder for basketball producer Molten Sports and founded Bob Hope TV Productions Ltd to provide live tv coverage of the sport (as well as other minority sports).

Hear from Bob on:

  • How he first got into basketball as a youngster, making the switch from gymnastics
  • His early days of getting into basketball administration with the Exhall Eagles in the Warwickshire league
  • Founding and coaching the club Granwood (later Team Fiat and then Birmingham Bullets) and entering the National League in 1974)
  • The inter-county tournament that used to run at Loughborough which was predominantly made up of National League clubs representing as counties
  • The early signs of tensions between clubs and the federation – England Basketball – in the late 70s
  • What happened at the 1979 England Basketball AGM where the clubs – led by Bob Hope and David Last – voted out Chair Ken Charles to be replaced with Harry Keats
  • The negotiations that ensued and what happened for the BBL to be formed 8 years later with the clubs effectively breaking away
  • Raising money and sponsorship for the 1980 and 1984 Olympic qualifying GB teams
  • The formation of Basketball Marketing Ltd set up by England Basketball which Bob Hope became the Director of Sales and
    Marketing for as he retired from coaching
  • How they could move over the sponsorship and TV contracts from Basketball Marketing Ltd to the BBL when the clubs broke away, with Hope joining the league in charge of commercial
  • All the secretive meetings clubs were having as breaking away to form the BBL became a reality
  • The differences between raising sponsorship in the early days of the BBL to now
  • Forming Bob Hope TV Productions Ltd in 1988 to produce live basketball TV coverage for the likes of Channel 4, the BBC, ITV2 and Sky
  • How he became the UK-rights holder for Molten Sports
  • Re-joining the BBL in 2016 as Commercial Director after having been retired for 1 month
  • Discovering the monetary value of the betting rights of the BBL – with over €16million (accidentally stated as €60million in the interview – 16million is the correct figure!) being betted on the league each year
  • How Premier League football is the biggest barrier to getting the BBL back on TV
  • The issues the league is having with Keemotion and it not being up to broadcast standard at the moment
  • How close the league is to signing a major commercial deal
  • The importance of social media and digital for the BBL’s growth and future sponsorship deals
  • How COVID-19 has impacted the league and what it could mean for the future
  • The growth of the league and aim to get to 16 franchises
  • And much, much more!

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