The Basketball Africa League (BAL) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) today announced a 5-year extension of their existing collaboration that will see the BAL continue to play games at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda each season, including the BAL Playoffs and Finals in 2024, 2026 and 2028. The BAL and RDB will also collaborate on youth development and social impact programs.
The extension will see “Visit Rwanda” – the country’s marketing and tourism initiative – continue as a Foundational and Host Partner of the BAL. Through the agreement, Visit Rwanda will continue to be showcased on BAL team uniforms and at the BAL Combine. [RwandAir – Rwanda’s national airline – will continue as the Official Airline Partner of the BAL and facilitate travel to and from Kigali for select BAL teams and staff.]
“The Rwanda Development Board, as a Foundational Partner, has been integral to the launch and continued growth and success of the Basketball Africa League over our first three seasons,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. “Coming out of our most competitive and compelling season yet, we’re excited to renew our collaboration with RDB that will bring BAL games as well as youth development and social impact programs to Rwanda for years to come.”
“We are excited to extend our collaboration with the Basketball Africa League,” said RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi. “We have seen tremendous success and return on investment over the last three years and look forward to doing much more together. In the first two years of the partnership Rwanda saw a net benefit of 9.1 million dollars to the Rwandan economy. BAL has proven to be a great unifier, and we remain committed to showcasing the best Rwanda has to offer in terms of tourism, investment opportunities, talent development, made in Rwanda products and much more to the world. With the BAL and other major events, Rwanda is the home for sport, not just basketball in Africa.”
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Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir CEO, said: “RwandAir is proud to be a partner of the Basketball Africa League and we are excited to see the Rwandan Development Board continue to bring world-class basketball to Rwanda.
“We know how sport can bring communities together as teams compete to win and celebrate the power of teamwork and know the extended partnership will further strengthen those bonds.
“We are also focused on our goal of delivering world-class customer service as we bring people together through our extensive route network, and we look forward to flying fans and players over the coming years,” Hon Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, Rwanda’s Minister of Sports noted:
“This partnership renewal seals our commitment of being home of the most prestigious basketball league in Africa. We will keep ensuring that this partnership strengthens the core of our sports industry, from talent development programs to capacity strengthening initiatives to further job creation opportunities for Rwandans.”
On May 27, 2023, Egypt’s Al Ahly defeated Senegal’s AS Douanes 80-65 to win the 2023 Finals, which took place at BK Arena and reached fans in 214 countries and territories in 17 languages. In conjunction with the 2022 and 2023 BAL Playoffs and Finals, the BAL and NBA Africa held a variety of youth development and social impact programming in Rwanda, including in collaboration with RDB. Activities to date have included Jr. NBA, Special Olympics and coaches clinics; an environmental day of service; innovation summits that brought together African leaders from business, entertainment, sports, social entrepreneurship and beyond to discuss the enormous growth opportunities on the continent; and a series of workshops for young women from the local community as part of BAL4HER, the league’s platform for advancing gender equality in the African sports ecosystem and celebrating women in the sports industry who serve as role models to young women across the continent.
The BAL’s Foundational Partners also include NIKE, Jordan Brand, Wilson and New Fortress Energy (NFE). The league’s roster of world-class marketing partners also includes the Attorney General Alliance (AGA-Africa), Envol City, Hennessy, SERTEM and Société Pétroliere (SP).