In the 1980s a lot of British kids loved basketball. They wore Air Jordans, Chicago Bulls vests and new era caps, listened to hip-hop and took their cultural influences from the States. Basketball played its part as a typically American sport.
These days in the UK basketball is played by nearly 218,000 people every week. It’s a sport that’s bursting at the seams onto the mainstream stage in a very big way. However, on-going funding for British Basketball has never been an easy task. David Lammy MP for Tottenham in London recently questioned Sports Minister Tracy Crouch over the lack of funding for basketball compared to sports such as canoeing, rowing and equestrianism. Despite the difficult funding challenges that face the sport, international flooring specialist Gerflor have embraced the rousing attitude of the commercial leagues to help them grow the sport by being appointed as the official flooring partner for The British Basketball League (BBL).
David Carter, Sport Marketing and Communications Manager Gerflor UK said, “the BBL had approached Gerflor based on previous conversations which they’d had with other clubs who already play on Gerflor’s world-renowned Taraflex® sports surface and of course they loved its performance and safety qualities.” David Carter went on to further comment, “our new Taraflex® Evolution 7.5mm has increased shock absorption. The first floor to be installed will be going in at the Copper Box arena ready for the 2018/19 season which begins in September. This is a fantastic first location as it was constructed as an Olympic venue, and of course our relationship with the Olympics is a long and happy legacy.”
Gerflor have more than 70 years’ of experience with their Taraflex® sports flooring. It offers a wide range of colours and is suitable for a variety of applications. Taraflex® sports floors have been made since 1947 and is used by the largest international sports federations (volleyball, handball, badminton, table tennis) for decades. Through partnerships with these federations, Gerflor has been present at the Summer Olympic Games since 1976. This range of sports flooring has an Olympic pedigree stretching back over an incredible 42 years.
Taraflex® is available in 17 colours and three wood-effect designs. The Evolution product offers a P1 category shock absorbency 25% to 35% and meets the EN 14904 Standard for indoor sports surfaces. Taraflex® is also recognised for providing durability, safety and comfort without impairing performance.
Bob Hope, Commercial Director, British Basketball League and Women’s British Basketball League commented, “Gerflor is renowned in the world sports business as one of the best suppliers of sports flooring. We reviewed a range of sports flooring companies and after due consideration selected Gerflor flooring because of its superior quality.”
There’s no doubt that basketball in the UK is loved by uber-keen enthusiasts. It’s these fans who are passionate about facilities that they play on, and quite rightly when schools, clubs and leisure centres are looking at new surfaces they will bang the drum for getting the best quality sports flooring they can. Globally, clubs have great community programmes and Gerflor’s Taraflex® is at the beating heart of these communities, with over six million children every day playing somewhere in the world on a Taraflex® sports surface. Bob Hope went onto further add, “the partnership with Gerflor is tremendously beneficial as we move the BBL to a higher professional level.”
David Carter also said, “this is not just about investing in the BBL to be chosen as the official flooring partner, this is about providing the clubs at various stages with world class floors to play on. This raises the profile of the sport and the interest levels in the sport which will drive further investment which in turn helps the sport.”
David Carter further commented, “In these tough economic times we recognise that it’s the commercially successful leagues rather than governing bodies who are going to engage with the players of tomorrow. Whilst of course governing bodies will play their part, the youngsters will be attracted by players earning money and enjoying life as a League player”. He continued, “At Gerflor we want to be involved in this to facilitate as many people as possible, being as active as possible and more importantly enjoying it rather that seeing activity as a chore. The sport, whilst being ‘technical’ in its execution, is a great spectator sport even for the uninitiated. “Many games”, he added, “end up with nail biting finishes and countless glimpses of absolute brilliance on the court. What’s more the BBL put an emphasis on all franchises on community involvement. A pre-requisite of any club is that they prove they are out there interacting with their communities.”
Bertrand Chaumet, UK Managing Director, Gerflor, stated: “We are proud to be working with what some say is the Basketball League with the biggest potential anywhere in the world. At Gerflor we are used to working with sports at the highest level together with supplying sport surfaces to grass roots community venues and schools, as well as the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.” Bertrand Chaumet went on to further comment, “at this time, when governing bodies have limited funds, it is the incredible inspiring attitude of commercial leagues such as the BBL that engage with the community and grow the popularity of this wonderful sport even further.”
Bob Hope also added, “I have found Gerflor excellent to deal with. They are experts in sports flooring, know what they are talking about and are very approachable.” He concluded by saying, “the recent Play-Offs saw the Playoff Final between London Lions and Leicester Riders at the O2, London. It broke all attendance records with over 15,000 fans and has unprecedented levels of worldwide TV exposure, which Gerflor enjoyed as an official BBL partner with their logo printed on the playing surface.”