The partnership will showcase Rwanda as a world-class tourism and investment destination and highlight Africa’s growing sports industry. Games will be played at the Kigali Arena, and the Kigali Convention Centre will serve as the practice facility for all 12 BAL teams. Visit Rwanda will be showcased on BAL team uniforms, and the BAL and RDB will collaborate on youth development and social responsibility initiatives in Kigali during the season.
In addition, RwandAir, the country’s national carrier, will be the league’s Official Airline for the inaugural season and has facilitated travel to and from Kigali for select BAL teams and staff. RwandAir operates one of the youngest state-of-the-art fleets out of its Kigali hub. Earlier this year, RwandAir became the first African airline to vaccinate all staff and crew against COVID-19.
BAL President, Amadou Gallo Fall expressed delight for reaching the long-awaited milestone.
"We’ve spent a lot of time engaging and coming here in Rwanda many many times, and to be here today getting ready to launch this historic inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League, in so many ways, is special," he said.
“As we set to tip off our league and make basketball history, teaming up with RDB and RwandAir reflects our belief that sports, and basketball in particular, can be an economic growth engine for the continent. Rwanda is leading the way for tourism in Africa, and this partnership will highlight an African continent that is creative, vibrant and ready to tell its story,” added Gallo.
Commenting on the partnership; the CEO of RDB, Clare Akamanzi stated that the partnership presents an invaluable opportunity to showcase the wonders of Rwanda.
“As a Founding and Host Partner, we will reach millions of basketball fans from all around the world and promote Rwanda’s natural beauty, budding sports tourism, and conducive investment and business environment. Hosting the BAL in Rwanda is also a testament to Rwanda’s successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are pleased to welcome all the players and visitors to Rwanda for a safe and seamless experience,” he noted.
RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo explained that the airline is honoured to be the official partner of BAL.
“We’re excited to play such a pivotal role in uniting teams across Africa for the inaugural season. In addition to vaccinating all RwandAir employees, we’ve implemented stringent health and safety protocols on board and at the airport. These measures mean that players and staff will have the highest level of reassurance and peace of mind on their journey to and from Kigali,” he said.
The Minister of Sports Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju said that within the protocols set to prevent the spread of Covid-19, only few fans shall be able to physically attend matches after buying tickets and showing proof of a Covid-19 negative test results.
She further encouraged fans to attend and follow this league to support participating local team ’Patriots BBC’.
Twelve teams from across the continent will compete in the inaugural BAL season.
The Kigali Arena will host all 26 games of the competition, with the first BAL Finals taking place Sunday, May 30.