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BBF chair: Commercialisation key to British basketball’s future

By Matthew Campelli    18 Jan 2016
Former FA and LTA exec Nick Humby joined the organisation earlier this month / British Basketball Federation

Commercialisation and a solid governance structure will be crucial for the future development of British basketball, according to the British Basketball Federation’s (BBF) new independent chair.

Talking to Sports Management on the day of the British Basketball League (BBL) Cup Final and the Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) Trophy (17 January), Nick Humby laid out his strategic priorities ahead of a transitional year for the sport.

Humby stated his aim of creating a BBF which “brings integrity and good governance to the sport”, and also stressed the importance of commercialisation and its effect on improving infrastructure.

“We need to leverage the sport to make more money,” he said. “We’re highly dependent on grant income as a sport and we need to tell the story better, show that the direction is upwards and find people who believe in us.

“If money comes into the sport we can invest in better facilities, better coaching and the grassroots.”

Humby, who joined earlier this month, pointed to corporate social responsibility (CSR) operations within large organisations as potentially fertile ground for funding if basketball can demonstrate its engagement with communities.

The former Football Association (FA) and Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) executive said that while British basketball needed to be more entrepreneurial, he was optimistic the targets set by the government in its sports strategy – Sporting Future – chime well with the sport and open the doors to more funding.

“If you look at the five measures in the report – fitness, wellbeing, social and community, economic – we can tick all those boxes,” he said. “People tell me over 1m kids under-15 play the sport. If we can engage them better and give them a pathway we can get the government’s support and grow the sport from there.”

The BBF will become the principal governing body for the sport in October 2016 when England, Scotland and Wales merge at all age levels and disciplines to create Team GB. Basketball England – now headed up by former British Cycling director Stewart Kellett – Scotland and Wales will continue to exist underneath, and Humby talked of a more “joined up approach”.

“The idea will be to create one single vision and to build the linkages so that everyone will know what to do,” he said. “There are so many wonderful little initiatives dotted around, and if you could combine them all together you could build a bigger, better story that would get more attention, more media coverage and more money into the sport.”

Stakeholders are being asked for their input during a Deloitte-led consultation period, which has kicked off ahead of the BBF talking about its new strategy in mid/late-April.

basketball  British Basketball League  Women’s British Basketball League  facilities  coaching  grassroots 
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