- National Teams
Plymouth will have a BBL franchise for the upcoming 2021/22 season after all, the league has confirmed today.
Following the club’s announcement they are withdrawing earlier this month, local Plymouth businessman, and club sponsor Carl Heslop, has stepped forward and reached an agreement with BBL to take on the franchise.
“I am delighted that, working with the BBL, we have found a way forward to keep the club in the top-flight of British basketball,” Heslop said.
“The club has a storied history, and is at the heart of the community, and it is right that we found a way to continue its great work.
“I have been very pleased with the support we have had from the City Council, Marjon University and the BBL.
“But, most importantly, the supporters and wider business community, have really stepped forward, and it gives us confidence we can work towards a sustainable future.”
Interestingly, any mention of the Raiders as the franchise nickname has been removed from press release, with the club only being referred to as Plymouth, as the team’s official website and social channels are yet to provide any update.
New owner, Heslop, is a 46 year old local businessman who runs a multi-million pound construction firm, Obedair Construction.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of the BBL, was pleased the BBL could provide its support,
“The impact of Covid-19 on all sport in the UK in the last eighteen months has been immense, but we are determined that basketball comes out of the pandemic stronger and united.
“Plymouth has always been a well-supported club and basketball is a sport that is popular in the most challenged communities in our society, and we want to ensure that basketball continues to support those communities in Plymouth.”
In the Covid-19 hit 2020/21 season, the club achieved its highest BBL finish, finishing in third place in the BBL Championship, along with reaching the BBL Trophy Final, where they lost to London Lions.
The Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Nick Kelly, was delighted with the news the franchise is staying alive, adding:
“Plymouth basketball club are a very important part of the fabric of the city and their community engagement and talent development, and close alignment with the education sector, means we want to continue to work closely with the club’s new owners, and the BBL, to help them deliver their plans.”
“We look forward to working with Carl and his team, and the BBL, to make that happen.”