What is the British Basketball League and which teams are involved?

With over 300,000 people playing basketball at least twice a month in 2018 according to this article, basketball is a hugely popular sport in the UK. The Brittish Basketball League is the most highly-regarded basketball organisation in the country, arranging the biggest basketball games and working to improve the sport’s popularity throughout the UK.

In this article, you’ll find out everything you need about the BBL… Keep reading for all the info you need on the teams, the tournaments, the winners, the awards and more….

What is the BBL?

Founded in 1986, the British Basketball League is the highest level of men's professional basketball that is played in the UK. The best basketball teams from England and Scotland compete in the BBL championship (the flagship event) as well as three other competitions in the league including the Play-Offs, the BBL Cup and the BBL trophy.


Which teams are involved in the British Basketball League

Due to the financial risks of performance-based relegation, BBL clubs must be set up as a franchise and there is no promotion or relegation, just seasonal performance. If you’re an experienced business person, you can apply to run a franchise yourself. You just have to apply to the BBL Franchise Committee ( a detailed business plan.

Currently, there are twelve competing clubs in total from England and Scotland. They are listed below as followed….

Bristol Flyers

Cheshire Phoenix

Glasgow Rocks

Leicester Riders

London City Royals

London Lions

Manchester Giants

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

Plymouth Raiders

DBL Sharks Sheffield

Surrey Scorchers

Worcester Wolves



BBL Winners

Which teams have won the most revolutions of the tournament? The Newcastle Eagles are by far the most successful team having 7 wins under their belt. The below list shows the winners of all the BBL tournaments in order of most wins to least… some teams listed may no longer be competing in the leagues.


Championship Win(s)

Newcastle Eagles


Leicester Riders


Sheffield Sharks


Kingston Kings


London Leopards




Glasgow Rangers


Worthing Bears


Thames Valley Tigers


Brighton Bears


Chester Jets


Guildford Heat


Mersey Tigers



How long does a British Basketball League game last?

A British Basketball League game is comprised of 4 quarters, each lasting 10 minutes with a 2-minute break between the 1st & 2nd and 3rd & 4th quarters as well as a 15-minute break at half time. There is also extra time given for fouls and injuries.

NBA games are slightly longer, playing four 12 minute quarters the games last 48 minutes. Although, a fifteen minute half time break and regulation time stops for foul play and injuries usually raises the actual game time to around 2 hours.


BBL Tournaments

There are four official basketball competitions that take place throughout the BBL season. The main tournament is the BBL championship. There are also three other basketball competitions run by the BBL. These are the playoffs, the BBL Cup and the BBL trophy. Involved teams can also compete in the European Basketball Champions League and the FIBA Europe Cup if their stadiums are large enough. Read below to find out more about each competition.

BBL Championship

The BBL championship is the main event and arguably the most important basketball tournament in the UK. All involved teams play a 33 game all-play-all tournament between September and April each season. Competing teams earn two points for each match they win. The team with the most wins at the end of the tournament are the overall winners and are crowned BBL championship champions.


In the post-season playoffs, the eight top-ranked teams from the championship regular season compete in a knockout tournament. Teams play against their opposite ranking team in the league, so 1st place plays 8th, 2nd place plays 7th and so on…

A series of 2 game matches are played and an aggregated score determines which team will progress to the semi-finals. Semi-final matches are again seeded first to last as before. The semi-final game winners play each other at the post-season grand final at the O2 Arena in London. The winners are crowned as the playoff champions.


This is a straight knockout competition. The top four ranking teams from the previous season automatically progress to the quarter-finals. The remaining eight teams have to compete in the first round, the winners of this round progress on to face the four teams already qualified for the quarter-finals.

The semi-final stage is more drawn out, held over two legs with the highest scoring team over the two games progressing to the cup final and to battle for the BBL Cup title.

BBL Trophy

The 12 BBL teams, as well as 4 non-BBL teams, compete in this bracket-style competition. Similar to the BBL cup, in the first round, games are single knockout matches, but the semi-finals are played over two legs. The Semi-final winners progress to the Trophy Final at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow to battle for the title.

European Competition

The major European basketball competitions are the Basketball Champions League and the FIBA Europe Cup. In order to be eligible to enter the tournament, teams must have a stadium with capacity for 2000 people. The Leicester Riders, Glasgow Rocks, London Lions, Newcastle Eagles and Worcester Wolves are currently the only teams with stadiums large enough to enter. The Bristol Flyers and Manchester Giants are currently working on big enough arenas for entry.  


BBL Salary

How much are British basketball league players paid? The world of UK basketball salaries is a jaded mystery and nobody really knows how much they earn apart from the players. The official British Basketball League rules include a team payments cap, which is set at £200,000 per year, this excludes the salaries of top two players on each team.

One thing’s certain, they’re not paid nearly as much as NBA players, which is why a lot of talented players, including Luol Deng (a British Basketball player who was on the London 2012 squad) have also played for various NBA teams. He currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, earning a whopping $18 million per year (£13.9m).


BBL Awards

The awards that players, teams and coaches can receive for excellent performance in the league are listed below…

The molten BBL Player of the Year Award

This trophy is given to the best performing player in the league throughout the course of the season. BBL coaches vote for their top three players and they cannot vote for their own team.

The molten BBL Coach of the Year Award.

Named after Ed Percival, the late BBL and WBBL Chairman, the coach of the year award is presented to the coach of the team who has the best performances in the league throughout the season.

Molten BBL Teams of the Year

The Molten BBL Team of the Year, the Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year and the Molten BBL All-British Team of the Year are all voted for by the BBL coaches. The coaches each vote for five players who they think are the best. Again, they can’t vote for their own players.


Where are the basketball club stadiums?

You can use the map below to locate all of the BBL Club stadiums. Give it a go...

Do you play basketball?

At Jackson trophies, we have an excellent range of basketball trophies medals and awards that are perfect for celebrating your best teams, players and wins. Click here to head over to our basketball trophies section to browse our incredible selection.

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