- National Teams
In episode 83 of the Hoopsfix podcast we sit down with founder and Director of City of Birmingham Rockets, Rob Palmer.
Having originally founded a local league club in the West Midlands in 1988, Palmer also headed up the Birmingham Bullets’ junior development programme from 1993-2000, before leaving his job in banking to pursue his basketball interests, initially working with Birmingham City Council as their Active Sports Basketball Co-ordinator.
He founded the City of Birmingham Rockets in 2003 whilst in his basketball development role, and has grown the club to 13 teams from under-9 through to Seniors. In 2015, Palmer recruited NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon as an ambassador of the club, after he relocated to Birmingham for his daughter’s university education.
It was revealed last month that City of Birmingham Rockets have secured in excess of six figures of funding from 2K Foundations for the refurb of their venue at Nechells Wellbeing Centre.
In this episode hear from Rob on his background, building the club, the funding they have secured from 2K Foundations and the involvement of Hakeem Olajuwon in their programme.
*Note: When discussing the value of 2K Foundations’ investment into the venue refurbishment, Rob incorrectly states it was just under 5 figures, when he meant to say just under 6 figures.
2:30 Interview start
2:36 What the 2K investment means for the club and what the outcomes will be
6:13 How long these projects take and when the Nechells refurb will be finished
8:12 Where the money is being invested into
10:11 The seating capacity for the refurb
10:58 Whether City of Birmingham could fill a 500 seat venue
11:50 Do the City of Birmingham Rockets have BBL aspirations?
13:16 How far conversations have gone with the league around a BBL franchise
14:05 2k funding for stuff external to the venue
15:58 Whether the funding is based over long term or not
16:40 How big the investment is from 2K
17:41 Commercial sponsors being interested in london and why 2K are interested in Birmingham
19:16 How Hakeem Olajuwon came to be involved with the club in 2015
24:03 Hakeem Olajuwon has actually moved to the UK
25:15 What difference it makes to the club having Olajuwon associated with it
27:40 Rebranding to the Rockets due to Hakeem’s involvement
28:50 Rob’s background prior to founding City of Birmingham basketball club
44:55 Recruiting players and raising awareness of the initial CVL
48:42 How the club was able to grow so quickly in the first two seasons and whether it was too quick
49:45 Growing pains going from 1 teams to multiple within 2 seasons
54:36 Being able to double up on the club through his basketball development role with the council
57:01 When Rob was able to go full time on the club
1:00:52 Going full time and what difference it had on the club’s growth
1:05:39 What the club’s revenue streams are
1:09:27 Breaking down the percentages of club revenue
1:11:11 How many full time employees the club has
1:12:47 How much scope there is for the club to grow in Birmingham
1:15:29 What impact the Commonwealth Games could have in Birmingham