A new era for the British Basketball League (BBL) has been welcomed by Cheshire Phoenix general manager James Brice.
The BBL and the British Basketball Federation have reached an agreement over the long term future of the league which includes a number of measures designed to aid the growth of the domestic game in the UK.
The new 10-year licence sees each of the 12 member clubs pledging to meet a number of criteria to help improve accountability with targets set for clubs over a four, seven and 10-year period.
Among the targets are improving player development through investment, commercial goals, the introduction of minimum player salaries, and increasing venue capacity at their respective arenas.
And, while Cheshire already tick a number of boxes with regards to the investment in the community and their player pathway, Brice says the agreement is something that can only be a good thing for the club and the league moving forward.
“It’s pleasing to have the long-term future of the league sorted so that we can now plan ahead safe in the knowledge that the sport is heading in the right direction and that we are a part of it,” said Brice.
“We already do a lot of what is now required, though.
“With regards to the player pathway, we have boys and girls teams in local and national competitions and we have strong links with colleges and are looking at linking up with the University of Chester in the not too distant future.
“All the measures that have been presented will be good for the league and the sport and it is something that we should be getting behind.”
While the Nix meet much of the criteria already, one particular condition will be difficult for them to meet.
One requirement put forward as part of the new agreement is for clubs to increase the capacity at their home arenas over the course of the 10-year deal.
Since 2015 Cheshire have been anchor tenants at the Cheshire Oaks Arena at Ellesmere Port Sports Village, an arena that has a 1,400 capacity and little scope for increasing it.
But Brice hopes that it won’t prove too much of a stumbling block and made it clear that the Nix had no plans to leave their arena, their home since vacating the Northgate Arena in Chester two years ago.
“We are anchor tenants at Ellesmere Port Sports Village and we have no plans or desire to move,” said Brice.
“But we are all right with what has been proposed and more than happy with the measures introduced.”
The new era for the BBL has been warmly welcomed by league chairman Sir Rodney Walker.
Cheshire, meanwhile, have made Tevin Falzon their ninth summer signing.
The 6ft 7in forward was born and raised in the United States and holds a Maltese passport.
Falzon attended Division 1 Sacred Heart University where he averaged 10.8 points per game and 8.2 rebounds.
The 24-year-old represented Malta at the 2016 FIBA European Championship for Small Countries before heading to Spain to compete in LEB Silver during the 2016-17 season.
Homegrown starlet Max Jones became the eighth player to put pen to paper with Cheshire.
The 18-year-old joined the club in 2015 and has been part of its Under-18 National League and British Basketball League programs for the past three seasons.