Today Basketball New Zealand announced the Secondary Schools National Basketball Championships have been renamed the Schick Championships, as Schick New Zealand has signed on as a community-level sponsor.

Chief Executive of Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ), Iain Potter, says the shaving-solutions company was excited by the opportunity due to the runaway popularity of basketball in New Zealand.

"The New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council (NZSSSC) released their annual census data earlier this year, which measures participation levels in secondary school sport and it showed basketball is continuing its phenomenal rise. We showed that to Schick and it got the conversation going."

Of the top 10 sports in New Zealand, basketball continues to show the most significant growth with a 4% increase over the last year and a 27% increase over the last five years. Only four sports have achieved secondary school participation of over 20,000: Netball, Rugby Union, Football and Basketball.

Chief Executive of Basketball New Zealand, Iain Potter, says the increase in participation does not come as a revelation as the organisation is already dealing with the increased numbers at the coal face.

"Basketball participation has been trending up for a number of years now. Schick did their research and realised that basketball is a great opportunity to get behind a sport that represents a wide cross section of Kiwis genders, ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. They can see it is a fresh and innovative sport," says Mr Potter.

Schick Brand Manager New Zealand, Susan Jackson, said theyre looking forward to working closely with BBNZ. "Were thrilled to be getting behind the next generation of Kiwi basketball stars and we are very excited to see the players of today and tomorrow flourish in the Schick Championships over the next three years."

Mr Potter says that Schicks vote of confidence is appreciated at a time when the sport is facing huge challenges. He says with such successful growth comes more demand for facilities, events and a strong high performance pathway - all come at a cost.

"With FIBA backing New Zealand and placing us in the Asia Zone, our national teams will be playing on a global stage, but we need support so the cream of the crop rising from the secondary school level can access a pathway that continues their elite development. Schick recognise this and see the Secondary Schools National Basketball Championships as an area they can support to help grow the game," says Potter.

The NZSSSC says the data "includes all students that had a meaningful engagement in each sport in the school setting. For example, the student represented the school in that sport or took part in a sport provided in-school over a period of six weeks or more, OR played for a club arranged by the school as the school had no teams in that sport OR took part in sport that was provided through the KIWISPORT initiative. This does not include students that took part in one off in-school events, such as school athletics / swimming sports or short term interform/house events."

The NZSSSC census data can be found here: http://www.nzsssc.org.nz/school-sport-data/nzsssc-census-reports

The 2017 Schick Championships will be held on 2 - 7 October in Palmerston North.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand