The BBL is delighted to announce that the Manchester Giants and East London Royals have joined their ranks ahead of the 2012/13 season.
Royals Director Mark Clark said "We are very excited at joining the BBL at a great time for the sport in the UK. The BBL has gained great exposure over the last two seasons and the Olympic Games will give the sport huge coverage. With our involvement in the local GB Regional Basketball Institute we hope the BBL team will also provide a pathway for the cream of the Institute players."
The Giants Franchise have been developed over the last 18 months and has been established firmly with the ethos of building a successful, sustainable, community based organisation off the court. On the court, the Giants will be overseen by experienced Head Coach Jeff Jones and will be based at the Wright Robinson Sports College in the East of Manchester.
Jones said: "I am absolutely delighted to be back coaching the Manchester Giants - it has been a long term ambition of mine to bring a professional basketball franchise back to Manchester and we're aiming to hit the ground running and introduce a competitive team to the league, with a good balance of home grown talent with more experienced players."
Giants Chief Executive, Steve Mansfield added: "We are delighted that we have been able to resurrect such an iconic Manchester sports brand as the Manchester Giants. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage but we are only a months away from the first match of the new season and a new era for basketball in Manchester and a new force in the BBL."
BBL Chairman Paul Blake enthused "We are delighted to welcome two new clubs to the BBL next season and are particularly pleased that the location of the new clubs map our own Franchise Development Plan, including a team in one of the Olympic Boroughs. We wish them every success both off and on the court".
Whilst continuing to grow their local community activities, a short term delay with their venue build has meant that the new Birmingham franchise will now not commence BBL competitions until the 2013/14 season.
Mark Walker, Managing Partner of Oaks Consultancy and franchise owner of BBL Birmingham, reiterated the club's commitment to the team and the community in the following statement:
"Oaks acquired the Birmingham franchise with the intention of entering a team in the 2012/13 season, but unfortunately for us and the city of Birmingham, this is now no longer possible due to unforeseen venue complications. However, we are confident that our new home venue at the Futsal International Arena Birmingham will be completed well in advance of the start of the 2013/14 season when we look forward to hosting our first competitive BBL game.
In the meantime however, our community programme is now well established and proving a great success, continuing to grow at an impressive rate. As this was an integral part of our overall objectives when we first took over the franchise, we are delighted with the impact we're having within the local community and will endeavour to continue to grow this side of the club as a fundamental component of the team's activities once we are fully up and running next season."