The O2 to stage BIG3’s first overseas events

Featured image credit: AEG Europe

US basketball league the BIG3 has announced that London arena The O2 will host its 2023 Championship Game and All-Star Game in what marks its first events to be held outside of North America.

Founded by rapper, filmmaker and actor Ice Cube, and entertainment mogul Jeff Kwatinetz, back in 2017, the three-on-three league will head to the UK on August 26, while also announcing that this season’s playoffs will be held on August 19 at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.

The playoffs on August 19 will decide which two of the league’s top four teams will go to London to face off in the Championship Game. The second annual BIG3 All-Star Game, featuring the best players from all 12 teams, will precede the Championship Game.

BIG3’s sixth season is due to commence on June 25 at the United Center in Chicago, before heading to American Airlines Arena (Dallas), Arthur Ashe Stadium (New York), FedEx Forum (Memphis), Kaseya Center (Miami), TD Garden (Boston), Spectrum Center (Charlotte) and Little Caesars Arena (Detroit).

Kwatinetz, BIG3 president and co-founder, said in a statement: “The O2 Arena has a rich history of hosting some of the biggest events in the world, and we can’t wait to add the BIG3 Championship Game to that list.

“Between our fantastic partners, leading lineup of players, and return to a full nationwide touring model, this is going to be the best BIG3 year yet and we can’t wait to see where this barrier-breaking season takes us.”

Ice Cube, who took over as chief executive of the BIG3 in September, has said he may feature among musical performances planned to run alongside The O2 event. Speaking to The Sun, Ice Cube said the initial London event could be followed by more overseas trips.

“What’s great about the BIG3 is that we can be anywhere in the world,” he said.  “We’re going to spread the love. Catch us when you can. If we have a good time, we’ll come back without a doubt. We’ve had cities that we’ve played in every year like Chicago and Dallas because they show us so much love. We’ve had a lot of games in New York…so if we have a good time we’ll be back.”

The BIG3 has owned all its teams since launch, but is currently in the process of opening up ownership to outside investors. Ice Cube added: “This year we are starting to sell teams to owners. It’s not out of our vision that we will have a team in London, coming over to the US every summer competing as well as having home games there. 

“That’s the dream of ours for a billionaire or someone with a few hundred million to buy a team and create their own roster. That opens it up for players all through the UK to try to join.”