CHESTER Jets director Mike Burton is hoping for a TV deal to revitalise basketball after three clubs walked out of the BBL.
Brighton Bears and Birmingham Bullets have decided to sit on the sidelines for the 2006-7 season. Big guns London Towers have also opted to leave to give the league a 'short, sharp shock'.
But Burton insists it is not a major surprise, although he feels their decision may well be more final than they intend.
He said: 'It is sad but they have been a little disenchanted for a few years now.
'There hasn't been a TV deal for the last four years and they have been waiting for some time. And the league needs TV.
'But if you leave for a year, history shows you never come back. It's been done by Derby and by Leicester. It is usually financial reasons for leaving but once you've left you lose credibility in the community, and I think that may happen to London.'
The league has been
feeling the pinch after the collapse of ITV digital as Sky Sports would not take basketball back under its wing. But directors are hunting TV promoters - if not for the money, then for the sponsorship it attracts.
'We got our TCS sponsorship because we got two hours on Grandstand in 2002,' said Mr Burton. 'I got the phone call as I was watching the other semi-final and we wore their name all over our shirts. We need it to put an outstanding team on the floor who are going to compete.
'Without it we are in a stable situation which isn't moving forward or back.'
This turned out to be one of Towers' reasons for leaving, feeling the league was making little progress.
But Burton added: 'They've got to have reasons, but if they feel it isn't moving why don't they get on and do something themselves? They haven't done anything to help the situation. They withdrew their director-ship so for the last 18 months the league's had one less director.
'London used to be huge but now they are probably the worst-supported club.'