An UNBEATABLE weekend as PHA travel to Birmingham for the Men’s and Women’s Trophy Finals

Last month, the Sport & Fitness team made the trip to Birmingham to support the British Basketball League deliver a showstopping event, as the Men’s and Women’s British Basketball League Trophy Finals landed at the Utilita Arena.

Following a rebrand in the off-season last summer, the League’s all-new UNBEATABLE format saw two showstopping Men’s Semi-Finals take place between the top four teams from the competition’s group stages on January 27th, before the two winners advanced to the Final on January 28th, where they competed alongside the two remaining teams in the Women’s Trophy for the first major silverware of the season.

With the Women’s Final already confirmed between London Lions and history-makers Essex Rebels, the Men’s semi-final ties saw high-flyers London Lions face off against the defending champions Caledonia Gladiators, while Cheshire Phoenix took on Leicester Riders.

In the lead-up to the event, PHA worked on securing journalist attendance, inviting influencers and generating coverage to create maximum exposure ahead of the Finals. Despite the quick turnaround following the Final Four teams being confirmed, within the week, we secured widespread coverage across the BBC network, alongside a host of other national broadcasts and news outlets. Additionally, extensive regional coverage created plenty of buzz in the build-up to the event and drove last-minute ticket sales. Along with the coverage across the regional broadcasters for each of the six competing teams, we also generated coverage on Sky Sports and BBC Sport Online, as well as ITV News.  Each opportunity delivered allowed players and coaches from the competing clubs to share positive messaging on their excitement of competing in the Trophy Final Four showdown.

Furthermore, we arranged for in-person visits with both ITV Granada and ITV Central for separate features on Cheshire Phoenix and Leicester Riders, which were broadcast on their sports segment on primetime evening news in the days leading up to the event.

We also worked closely with the entertainment acts, including securing an interview opportunity with Jaykae, one of Birmingham’s hottest musicians, who spoke on BBC Radio WM Breakfast to highlight his thoughts ahead of his performance at the half-time show of the Women’s Final.

With all the pre-event coverage out, Adam Rowe and I headed up to the ‘Second City’ on Saturday morning to welcome all of the media attending the Men’s Semi-Final games. This included looking after the media check-in process, setting up the press conference room and mixed zone area. It meant it was all systems go for the attending media to capture the pre and post-reflections of the key players out on the court.

An exhilarating day’s action got underway which saw both the London Lions and Cheshire Phoenix book their spot in Sunday’s Trophy Final.

Throughout the weekend we were on hand to arrange the post-game press conferences, mixed zone interviews and pull-together press releases which featured the crucial moments, as well as quotes from the head coaches and MVP’s which were then distributed to media across the UK. We also worked closely with the League’s broadcast partner, Sky Sports, to set up interviews which appeared on Sky Sports News the following day.

It was back to the arena on Sunday morning for Finals Day which saw a capacity crowd inside the Utilita Arena create an incredible atmosphere filled with energy and excitement. London Lions and Essex Rebels opened the curtain for the afternoon with the Women’s Final, as the Lions showed their ruthless class to collect a fourth successive Trophy Finals victory. In the Men’s Final, Cheshire Phoenix sent shockwaves around British basketball to defeat London Lions to win their sixth Trophy in club history, avenging their buzzer-beater loss in 2023.

We made sure all the attending media spoke to the key players and coaches after each game, both in press conference and mixed zone format, so thoughts could be shared on what had been a memorable Finals weekend, as another incredible chapter was written into the League’s history books. Similar to Saturday, we once more prepared the press release which was sent out and landed on key target outlets such as BBC Sport Online. We also distributed imagery of the renowned personalities in attendance, including comedian Joe Lycett which appeared on regional outlet Birmingham World.

The post-event coverage continued to flow, as we secured a huge opportunity with ITV Granada for Cheshire Phoenix to appear in-studio on Monday evening news, as well as further follow-up interviews for the winners on BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Merseyside. In addition, BBC Scotland, BBC East Midlands, ITV Central, and BBC North-West aired game highlights of their respective clubs’ from over the weekend.

Our efforts resulted in more than 40 pieces of coverage, including widespread broadcast exposure for all clubs across the UK, with each piece of coverage delivered telling the story of the weekend and building the excitement around the British Basketball League.

Now, the focus shifts to the long-awaited return of the All-Star Game which takes place on 17th March at the Copper Box Arena in London—we are already talking about ways to make sure the spectacle makes a huge impression and keeps drawing in media, celebrities, and fans from all over.

Get in touch with the team