Paul Blake to make way for new BBL chair after decade of service

Newcastle Eagles owner Paul Blake says he wants to concentrate on “club business” after stepping down as the BBL’s chairman after a decade of service to the league

Eagles Fab Flournoy with managing director Paul Blake
Paul Blake hands Newcastle Eagles player coach Fab Flournoy his BBL Coach of the Month award

Newcastle Eagles owner Paul Blake says he wants to concentrate on “club business” after stepping down as the BBL’s chairman after a decade of service to the league.

Blake has helped to transform the game in Britain in ten years as the British Basketball League’s chairman, and is moving on as the competition moves into a new era with big city franchises back in the league.

He will be replaced by Ed Percival, who will be the league’s first independent chairman. Although Blake (pictured above) had always made sure he was strenuously impartial, there were those in the league who favoured an independent appointment.

The Eagles have a busy agenda ahead of them with a possible venue move in the pipeline.

Blake said: “I advised the board back in February that I would be looking to step down post season, primarily to focus on up and coming club projects but also because I felt along with other directors that a number of areas we have all been working on over the last three to four years were starting to move forward and a natural point to look toward an independent chair.

“The areas we have been focusing on include launching the BBL Foundation, finding a route to a sustainable TV relationship, building franchise numbers including teams in London, Birmingham and Manchester, putting a commercial department back into place at BBL head office and building our ticket sales capacity at BBL Finals events.

“We now have working relations with British Basketball in the management of GB events and a commercial partnership. We are working closely with EB, Basketball Scotland and British Basketball on building communication with the UK basketball market.

“Basketball has just surpassed rugby union in terms of participation according to Sport England’s latest figures; we are now the number three team sport in terms of participation behind football and cricket.

“The next stage for BBL is to build on its governance and the natural progression is to see an independent chairman for the league.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer