Basketball: Finals day boost: Sponsorship secured

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THE English Basket Ball Association has gained sponsorship and television coverage for its National Cup finals day, featuring three games, at Sheffield Arena on 5 March.

Chrysalis, the music, media and visual entertainment group, is sponsoring the event and will televise the finals on Wire TV, its nationwide cable service, in addition to offering the games to satellite and regional ITV companies.

The EBBA's National League and National Cup are generally eclipsed by the coverage received by the Budweiser League, which is administrated by the Basketball League Limited. In contrast to BLL's failure to replace NatWest's sponsorship of its League Trophy competition, the EBBA has landed a coup.

Chris Wright, chairman of the Chrysalis Group, spotlighted the qualities which over the past decade have

attracted many blue-chip sponsors to the sport, including Prudential, Carlsberg and Coca-Cola.

He said: 'Basketball is played and followed by people from all backgrounds and

deserves to be encouraged. I hope that Chrysalis can play a role in the continued development of the sport in the UK.'

Cup finals day will provide strong home support for two of the teams. Sheffield Forgers face Plymouth Raiders in the men's Trophy Final, while Sheffield Hatters bid to win their fifth successive women's title against Northampton 76ers.

The highlight is the men's final, when Thames Valley Tigers try to add the cup title to their League Trophy success, by beating Worthing Bears who they also face in a Budweiser League game at the Bracknell sports centre tonight.

The Tigers, currently third, have the chance to make their games in hand count over the next five days by beating second-placed Bears tonight and the leaders Manchester Giants on Wednesday.