Lagos (Nigeria) has been selected as one of the host cities for the newly inaugurated Basketball Africa League (BAL).
According to a press statement from FIBA, the other host cities selected alongside Lagos include Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco), and either Monastir or Tunis (Tunisia) will host the inaugural BAL regular-season games.
In a related development, Kigali (Rwanda) has gotten the nod as the host city for the first-ever BAL Final Four and BAL Final.
Additionally, the BAL announced that NIKE and Jordan brands will be the exclusive outfitter of the new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin in March 2020.
The announcements were made by BAL’s 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.
“Today’s (Tuesday) 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, Lagos and the other five selected 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.
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.