The city’s first team to play in the British Basketball League will do so under a new name – Leeds Force.
Leeds Carnegie have rebranded with a more colourful moniker as they embark on their first season among the elite of basketball in this country.
Eight years after forming through the Leeds Metropolitan University programme, the club have been invited into the top tier of the sport thanks to the strength of their community and junior initiatives, as well as their National League pedigree.
Having consulted with members and players, the club has opted for the name Force because they believe it encapsulates what they stand for in a developing sport and what they can achieve for the entire community.
Part of the move includes structural changes, as the club becomes a fully stand-alone business seperate from the university.
They will retain all their junior teams and women’s team, and will continue to play at the univerity’s Carnegie Sports Arena, but they are now solely reliant on income from sponsors and gate receipts etc.
Leeds Force commercial director Mark Mills said: “The club has had a meteoric rise through the basketball pyramid in the UK. We now find ourselves at the pinnacle of the sport and as such it is only right that the club looks to forge its way as a stand-alone entity. This structure will enable us to fully engage with the professional nature of the BBL.
“Everyone at the club would like to thank Leeds Metropolitan University for their support as the club has developed into one of the most respected basketball organisations in the country but the time is right for us to take the future of the club into our own hands.”
Director of basketball Matt Newby added: “With the 2014-15 season approaching we are looking at a new chapter for the basketball fraternity of Leeds and West Yorkshire.
“The launch of the Leeds Force franchise is a huge achievement and to be stepping out at the helm of a new BBL franchise for the forthcoming season is an honour.
“We feel that the Leeds Force franchise offers something new and I would encourage the general public to come and watch a game, get to know us, the players and the game.”
The rebrand will cascade throughout the club as the women’s, academy and junior programmes will all take on the new name.
Leeds Force commence their new adventure at the end of September with their first game of the season being a trip to face Durham Wildcats on Sunday, September 28.
They have to wait a week for an historic first home game when they welcome Glasgow Rocks to the Carnegie Sports Arena on Friday, October 3.