Basketball Hawke's Bay's bumper after-school mini-ball league is already bursting at the seams but it's set to become even bigger thanks to a new sponsorship boost.

About 1900 primary and intermediate students aged 5 to 12, from 75 schools, compete in 16 age-group divisions in Basketball Hawke's Bay's (BBHB) league.
It is played throughout the year across three venues: Centennial Hall and Pettigrew Green Arena in Napier and the Hastings Sports Centre.

When term 2 begins on April 29, the competition will become known as the Breakers Hawke's Bay Miniball League because of the Bay-founded restaurant chain.

BBHB general manager Chris McIvor said despite the region's limited indoor court space, the naming-rights sponsorship funds would enable BBHB to grow the league, as well as the other competitions its close to 4000 registered members play.
BBHB recently announced a small surplus for 2018 on the back of a 10 per cent growth in numbers.

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McIvor said the new sponsorship would help reduce pressure on fees for players.

Some of the money also would go towards helping underprivileged kids become involved in the sport.

"Basketball is the fastest-growing sport in New Zealand schools and mini-ball is our biggest competition but kids are still missing out. So a focus of the spend from our end will be towards 'hardship' players and getting them into our programmes," McIvor said.

Breakers Restaurants Ltd CEO Stefan Burt said the company had a "proud history" of sponsoring since its first outlet opened in Napier in 1997.

It's the major sponsor of national under-16 girls' surfing champion, Natasha Gouldsbury, 14, of Taranaki, and also had sponsored Kiwi pro surfer Paige Hareb when she was a junior.

Burt said the company's investment in the Bay was to repay the community for its support for 21 years.

The Napier City, Taradale and Hastings owner/franchisee Simon Withnall are behind the drive where, each term, every division-winning team will receive a free team celebration dinner at a Bay restaurant.

Though the initial agreement only covers the remainder of 2019, Burt said the sponsorship would be worth five figures a year when it was renewed ahead of the 2020 competition, as expected.

Breakers CEO Stefan Burt (left) and Basketball Hawke's Bay general manager Chris McIvor looking at a brighter future for youngsters through mini-ball. Photo/supplied
Breakers CEO Stefan Burt (left) and Basketball Hawke's Bay general manager Chris McIvor looking at a brighter future for youngsters through mini-ball. Photo/supplied