Basketball Africa League set to put Africa on the global stage

Basketball Africa League

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) has announced Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and either Monastir or Tunis (Tunisia) as the host cities where the inaugural BAL regular season will take place and Kigali (Rwanda) as the host city for the first-ever BAL Final Four and BAL Final.
Additionally, the BAL announced NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive outfitter of the new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin to play in March 2020.
The announcements were made by BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall during a reception at the Musée des Civilisations Noires in Dakar in the presence of FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bilé, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, along with current and former NBA and WNBA players as part of the NBA Basketball Without Borders Africa 2019. 

“Today’s announcements mark another important milestone as we head into what will be a historic first season for the Basketball Africa League,” said Fall. “We now have seven great host cities where we will play and our first partnership with a world-class outfitter. We thank our first partners NIKE and Jordan Brand for supporting us on this journey and ensuring our teams have the best uniforms and on-court products.”

Beginning in March 2020, the six cities will host a regular-season that will feature 12 teams divided into two conferences, with each conference playing in three cities. The regular season will see the 12 teams play five games each for a total of 30 games, with the top three teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs. The six playoff teams – the “Super 6” – will play in a round-robin format to determine the four teams that will advance to the BAL Final Four and BAL Final in Kigali, Rwanda in late spring 2020. The BAL Final Four and BAL Final will be single-elimination games.

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NIKE and Jordan Brand will outfit the league’s 12 teams with official game uniforms, warmup apparel, socks and practice gear, with six teams featured in NIKE and the other six teams in Jordan Brand. The collaboration with NIKE and Jordan Brand marks the BAL’s first partnership.
The announcement about the NBA and FIBA’s launch of the BAL, which would mark the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America, was made at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 16.
The NBA and FIBA also plan to dedicate financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa’s basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment. 

Basketball Africa League

This announcement comes after long-standing NBA executive John Manyo-Plange, current Head of Business Operations for NBA Africa and a native of Ghana, has accepted the position of Head of Strategy and Operations for the BAL, reporting to Amadou Gallo-Fall. Manyo-Plange will play an instrumental role in launching the new professional league in partnership with FIBA that will feature 12 club teams from across Africa and is scheduled to begin to play next year.

Manyo-Plange joined Amadou Gallo-Fall to launch NBA Africa in 2010 and has led many aspects of the NBA’s continued growth in Africa over the past decade. He has helped secure marketing, media and consumer products partnerships, in addition to leading the operations around the three sold-out NBA Africa Games and the launch of The NBA Academy Africa in Senegal.

With the excitement around the continent and with Senegal taking the leading role in the development of leading the way in creating the sports and entertainment industry in Africa, many will question - what is in it for the NBA and why now? 

Africa is an untouched market for sports and entertainment and with countries such as Senegal, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco putting their money where their mouth is, is it time that we all looked at Africa with a different eye?

NBA hopes to become the number one lifestyle brand in 2023 and with this new launch and partnership, it is set to take the continent to the next level with through.

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