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CEBL is boosting Canadian basketball globally while creating opportunities for players at home

Basketball holds immense significance, extending far beyond the boundaries of the sport itself. It exerts economic, social and cultural impacts, offering opportunities for players, coaches, businesses and communities worldwide. According to 2023 estimates, basketball stands as the third-largest revenue-generating sport, contributing approximately $7 billion annually, following soccer at $50 billion and American football at $17 billion.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), established in 2018, has the primary goal of nurturing Canadian talent and expanding the sport’s reach. Before CEBL’s inception, the National Basketball League of Canada was the nation’s sole professional basketball league, grappling with consistent challenges concerning team stability. CEBL has sparked a transformative shift in Canada’s basketball landscape, ushering in fresh opportunities for the sport. CEBL boasts a distinctive set of rules, requiring each team to comprise at least 70% Canadian players, with the remaining roster spots reserved for international talent, including at least one non-American player. Furthermore, every team participates in a U SPORTS player draft, providing Canadian university athletes with a platform to develop alongside seasoned professionals.

Currently, the CEBL boasts a league with ten teams: Niagara, Montreal, Ottawa, Brampton, Scarborough, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Manitoba. This league was founded by Canadians, for Canadians, with a resolute mission to cultivate Canadian players, coaches, sports executives and referees. As of today, the CEBL claims the highest proportion of Canadian players of any professional league in the country, with an impressive 75% of its players hailing from Canada.

The CEBL has experienced remarkable expansion, growing from six to ten teams, and it anticipates the addition of two more teams for the 2025 season. To date, nine players have transitioned from the CEBL to the NBA, while 28 CEBL players have earned invitations to NBA G League training camps during October. The Canadian Elite Basketball League has undeniably spearheaded a revolution in the Canadian basketball landscape, fostering fresh opportunities for the sport. With its unique rules mandating a 70% Canadian player composition and provisions for U SPORTS player drafts, the CEBL has played a pivotal role in promoting the growth of both homegrown talent and university-level athletes.

In a world where the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted sports, CEBL stood out as the sole professional sports league in Canada to experience growth during those challenging years. Moreover, CEBL held the distinction of being the first professional sports league to resume play in Canada after the pandemic-induced shutdown in March of 2020. Beyond its impact on players, the league has provided newfound opportunities for local musicians, artists and other talents to showcase their skills during halftime and before games. The league championship, held over a weekend in one of the team’s home arenas, features tournaments, concerts, speeches and coaching clinics.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League recently shared impressive growth statistics from its 2023 season, reporting a remarkable 52% surge in total attendance compared to 2022, with nine out of ten CEBL arenas hosting at least two sold-out games. Additionally, the total broadcast viewership in 2023 surged by a substantial 75% compared to the previous year. A standout moment from the 2023 season was the record-breaking attendance of 10,580 fans at the Winnipeg Sea Bears vs. Edmonton Stingers playoff game.

Canada is a nation filled with passionate sports enthusiasts, a source of pride for all its citizens and a distinguishing feature on the global stage. The long-term vision for the Canadian Elite Basketball League involves establishing a minimum of sixteen franchises across the country. As a league, it aspires to represent Canada in international basketball competitions and take a leading role in developing all facets of this rapidly growing sport, from grassroots basketball to the professional level.

Source: CEBL