The Basketball Africa League has announced that the league’s expanded fourth season will tip off in South Africa in March 2024.
The 2024 BAL season will feature the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries playing 48 games across four African countries – South Africa, Egypt, Senegal and Rwanda – over four months, marking the first BAL games in South Africa and the first time the league will play in four different countries.
Also, for the first time, the 12 teams will be divided into three conferences of four teams each. Each conference will play a 12-game group phase during which each team will face the other three teams in its conference twice. The inaugural Kalahari Conference group phase will take place in March, followed by the Nile Conference group phase in April, and the Sahara Conference group phase in May. The top two teams from each conference and the top two third-placed teams from across the three conferences will travel to Rwanda for four seeding games, followed by an eight-game single-elimination ‘Playoffs’ and ‘Finals’ from May to June.
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The BAL will announce the host cities, venues, dates and information about how to purchase tickets in the coming weeks.
The BAL has also announced Afreximbank as an official partner of the 2024 season. The BAL and Afreximbank will collaborate on “BAL Advance,” a new program that aims to support the holistic development of BAL players and teams based on their specific needs, goals, projects and interests. The program will offer players professional development opportunities within the broader sports industry, including in event management, broadcasting, analytics, technology, and more.
“We are thrilled to expand our footprint in the BAL’s fourth season and allow more fans to experience the excitement of this historic league, including the first BAL games in South Africa, where there is already strong affinity for the game,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. “We look forward to building on the momentum of our first three seasons and to continuing to deliver a world-class basketball and entertainment product that represents Africa proudly on the global stage.”
National league champions from 12 African countries will once again qualify for the BAL, including through the Road to the BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Africa across the continent this month.
Rwanda Development Board, NIKE, Jordan Brand and Wilson will return as BAL ‘Foundational Partners’. The league’s roster of marketing partners also includes Envol City, Hennessy, AB InBev and RwandAir.
In addition to the games, the BAL will host a series of youth development and social impact programming in all four markets that will engage fans, players, coaches, referees, and the local community, including camps and workshops for young women as part of BAL4HER, the league’s platform for advancing gender equality in the African sports ecosystem.
In conjunction with the Playoffs and Finals, the BAL will also host its third Innovation Summit, an annual gathering of African leaders from business, technology, sport, and entertainment, to discuss trends and opportunities for the continued development of basketball on the continent.
Egypt’s Al Ahly are the reigning BAL champions, having beaten Senegal’s AS Douanes 80-65 in May’s 2023 season final.
(Pic courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images)