Plymouth to play in BBL this season

August 2, 2021
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    Plymouth RaidersPlymouth Raiders have played at Plymouth Pavilions since 1996

    Plymouth will have a team in the British Basketball League this season after reaching a temporary agreement on rent at their venue.

    Plymouth Raiders pulled out of the BBL last month after a rise in costs.

    But team sponsor Carl Heslop has reached an agreement with the BBL to take on the franchise after agreeing a one-year deal to play at the Plymouth Pavilions arena for 50% of the rent.

    Plymouth has had a BBL club since 2004 and won the 2007 BBL Trophy.

    "I am delighted that, working with the BBL, we have found a way forward to keep the club in the top-flight of British basketball," Heslop said in a statement.

    "The club has a storied history, and is at the heart of the community, and it is right that we found a way to continue its great work."

    But in a statement Plymouth Pavilions said: "As this is clearly unsustainable in the long term, the club accepts the use of the Pavilions is a short-term measure for the coming season only and has committed to work with the city to ensure a permanent home at the end of the 21/22 season."

    The club's fixtures from January 2022 onwards will be flexible should the venue be able to put on events that will bring in more revenue than basketball.

    "Given that the Raiders were supposed to move to the Life Centre eight years ago and we estimate the Pavilions has provided the Raiders the equivalent of £2 million of support over this period (taking into account reduced rent and loss of revenue) and the further discounted rent being offered for the coming season, it is clear to all that this cannot be anything other than a short-term solution," said Plymouth Pavilions' chief executive Sarah Phillips.

    "However, by once more getting behind the club and those looking to save it, we are happy to be playing our part in giving fans a season to look forward to and providing some breathing space to the new club management and the BBL as they work with partners in the city to secure a permanent venue from the beginning of the 2022/23 season and a sustainable future for the club."

    Plymouth had been the second side to pull out of the BBL ahead of the new season after Worcester Wolves left the league last month due to financial issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.


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