London Leopards have announced that they intend to apply for a British Basketball League (BBL) franchise for the 2012/13 season and beyond.
Since supporters of the original Leopards reformed the club in 2004 the Big Cats have played in the England Basketball League Division One, winning the National Cup in 2005/6 and finishing runners-up in the league last season. With one of the biggest community programmes in the country and impressive home venues at the Brentwood Centre and Basildon Sporting Village, the club now feels ready to take the step forward to become a fully professional club.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that we are actively looking to join the BBL for next season” said club chairman Fred Dicker.
“This is a very big step for our club but although it has taken time it has been our aim since our formation in 2004.
“The application process is not an easy one, but I believe we have quality personnel at the club to make a successful bid. We need to put in place a management team that will provide the skills required to run a BBL franchise with a desire to be competitive in our first season.
“I am also delighted to announce Gareth Roberts has accepted my invitation to be our club’s first Managing Director. Gareth has, in the past, held various roles within the club. He, along with Ian Mitchell, has set up our community programme. Gareth is a very bright young man with plenty of new ideas and fantastic energy which can only be an asset to the Leopards organisation.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our fans, sponsors and match day crew for their support and unending determination making us the organisation we are today.”
The Big Cats are currently looking for sponsors and partners to help take the club into the BBL, and expect to make an announcement as to whether their franchise application has been approved in March 2012.