- National Teams
The BBL was dealt another devastating blow today as the Plymouth Raiders announced they have withdrawn from the forthcoming 21/22 BBL season.
It marks the second franchise to pull the plug in as many weeks, as Worcester withdrew at the end of June
In a statement released on their website, the club said:
Ongoing difficulties surrounding a suitable playing venue continue to hamper all preparations which, at this moment, cannot be resolved within the City of Plymouth in time for the new season. This situation is very disappointing for all of us as it follows a season where the club achieved its highest BBL finish and reached the Trophy Final.
All local venues have been considered but ruled out due to their inability to provide the facilities necessary for Raiders to play in front of spectators at a price that is sustainable for the club.
This decision has been a very difficult one for the Board, and we will continue to work with Plymouth City Council and the BBL to identify feasible solutions for the longer-term.
Our sincerest thanks go to our fans, volunteers, and sponsors for all their support.
Local news outlet Plymouth live first reported potential issues between the club and their home venue, the Plymouth Pavilions earlier this week.
It was reported the venue has allegedly tried to increase hire costs by 200%, which the venue refutes, saying they have heavily subsidised the costs for the Raiders over many years.
Sarah Phillips, chief executive of Plymouth Pavilions, told the local outlet:
“The Pavilions has been a long standing supporter of the Raiders, both financially and in kind, and we have gone to considerable lengths over many years to assist in helping to secure the future of the club and of professional basketball in Plymouth.
“We would be extremely disappointed to see the Raiders leave Plymouth, but we would absolutely refute any claims made by the club and its current owners that Plymouth Pavilions has been unsupportive of Plymouth Raiders.”
She added the venue has provided equivalent of £2million of support to the Raiders over the last eight years, and saying:
“The Pavilions cannot continue to support this professional sports club at such loss-making levels, potentially putting the venue’s future as Plymouth’s only indoor large-scale events arena into jeopardy.”
It remains unclear whether it is Plymouth’s intention to try to re-enter the BBL in 2022-23.