May 25, 2024

Los Angeles gets rights to first Big3 home market based team

The Big3, the 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by rap and movie star Ice Cube in 2017, announced Friday for the first time it had sold the rights to a team based in its home market of Los Angeles to a group of investors led by DCB Sports for $10 million. The team will play its home games in Los Angeles.

The team will begin play in 2025 when the league goes from its current model of traveling from city to city for games with multiple teams to having teams based in specific markets.

The league’s plan is for three more ownership groups to be announced before the 2024 Big3 season, which begins June 15 in Oakland. Toronto and the U.K. are expected to be among the locations for the 12-team league next season.

“We can plant our roots in these cities,” Ice Cube said. “It is great to come through with, like, a rolling All-Star event, but if you want to really unlock the fan-base potential, connecting to cities does that.”

The Big3 wants ownership with roots in the cities it plays in. DCB managing partner Gary LaDrido attended USC for undergraduate studies before earning an MBA from UCLA. He said in a statement the Big3 is “dynamic and nuanced, and the product on the court appeals to a global audience.”

This season’s play has stops in 10 cities over the summer, concluding with the championship, celebrity and All-Star games Aug. 18 in Boston.

The league believes having teams in specific cities will not only connect with fans, but also allow it to establish roots with its community outreach branch, including the Young 3 youth league.

Big 3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz said the plan always was to have teams attach to cities instead of being run centrally by the league. He said Friday’s announcement is a step toward creating a bigger footprint in communities around the world.

“We do things in the cities when we go there,” Kwatinetz said. “We do the Young 3 and try to get involved with a lot of youth organizations and charities. The truth is that you can only do so much, you know, dropping in a city for four days than you can if you have a team rooted in the city.”

The Big3 features players with experience in college, the NBA and international play. Former NBA All-Stars Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague have signed to play this season.

The Big3 made headlines in March when news broke of a $5 million offer to Caitlin Clark to join the league. Clark was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft by Indiana last month. Last August, Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown became the first active NBA player to play in the Big3 when he played in the league’s All-Star game in London.

Games are broadcast on CBS, and half of non-CBS games domestically will be streamed on X. According to the league’s statement, it is averaging 14,000 in-arena fans each weekend and averaged another 515,000 viewers on CBS last year.

“The league’s momentum and influence continues to grow each year; among their fans and the impressive roster of premier 3-on-3 players set to compete this summer,” DCB partner Matt Sherman said. “In addition to building out the Los Angeles franchise, we hope to help drive innovation within the global basketball ecosystem and be a catalyst for growth and connectivity internationally.”

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(Photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images for Idol Roc Entertainment)