BBC deal with British Basketball League is ‘huge for the league’, says Sheffield Sharks coach

This weekend will see the first round of the BBL to be broadcast on the BBC, following July’s announcement that the broadcaster will show 32 men’s and women’s games this season.

Matches will be shown on the BBC Red Button, and BBC Sport website, and will include the Cup finals, Trophy finals and Play-Off finals.

The announcement came on the back of substantial online viewing figures, received when the BBC test piloted live streaming basketball, by broadcasting last year’s Playoff final, in which the Sharks beat Leicester Riders 84 – 77.

One of the Sheffield Sharks coaches, Joel Rowe-Mills, 33, said: “It was fantastic. There were 170,000 unique viewers, with virtually no promotion of the event. It was a great success”

Sheffield Sharks Coach, Joel Rowe-Mills
Sheffield Sharks Coach, Joel Rowe-Mills

The Sharks next game against Leeds Force on 16th December will be live streamed across the BBC and the Sharks are welcoming the new three-year deal.

“The chance of having our games shown on the biggest broadcaster in the country is huge for the league.” Said Mr Rowe-Mills.

“Lot’s of people don’t even know there is a British league. It’s staggering!”

“Hopefully this will increase awareness and more people will come to the games. That’s the overall goal.”

The league is currently without a sponsor and the Sharks hope that the fresh exposure will help to garner new sponsors for both the clubs and the league.

As the deal doesn’t have any direct financial value to the clubs it is imperative that they get the sponsorship and investment coming in.

“We’re happy with the deal. It’s more about exposure.”

The Sharks currently sit 5th in the table after a mixed start to the season, put down to a higher than normal turnover of players, due to injuries and off the court issues.

The Sharks lost the reverse fixture of the Yorkshire derby on the opening day of the season, but they are confident they can get a result this time around: ‘We’re getting stronger as a team and we’re still in with a chance of winning two trophies. We are looking for revenge.” said Rowe-Mills.