BIG3 and CBS Sports announced today that the professional 3-on-3 basketball league, founded by producer, actor, and music legend Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, have agreed to terms that will bring live basketball to CBS and CBS Sports Network. The 2019 season will open on the CBS Television Network in primetime on Saturday, June 22 (8:00 PM, ET).
During the 11-week season, games will air live on CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network on both Saturday and Sunday, with a champion crowned live on CBS on Sunday, Sept. 1 (3:00 PM, ET). CBS Television Network will broadcast more than 20 hours throughout the season, with CBS Sports Network set to televise more than 25 hours of additional live game coverage.
CBS Sports Network will also air the BIG3 Draft live on Wednesday, May 1 (10:00 PM, ET) when 120 professional players will vie for only 31 open roster spots on 12 teams, expanded from eight the first two seasons.
BIG3's successful first two seasons in 2017 and 2018 established it as the world's premier professional 3-on-3 league. In 2018, average arena attendance exceeded 14,000, up from 11,000 the year prior. This year will see BIG3 visiting 18 cities – up from 10 each of the two previous years. Three games will be played at each location, two days per weekend (for a total of six games). New teams include Aliens, Bivouac, Enemies, and Triplets. BIG3 has also signed major sponsorship agreements with global brands adidas and Toyota which will roll out activations throughout the league's 2019 season.
"Since day 1, BIG3 has always been about hard-nosed, fierce competition. Now we're ramping it up with more teams, younger players, and a shiny new TV deal with CBS Sports," said Ice Cube. "Our first two years were about showing that our vision was credible. This year is about taking the game to a whole new level. This is a big deal."
"The enthusiasm of the BIG3 from sports pioneer Sean McManus and his team of, David Berson, Dan Weinberg, and Greg Trager was infectious," said BIG3 Co-Founder Jeffrey Kwatinetz. "The future is bright for the BIG3, and it's an incredible advantage to build on the success of the BIG3 by partnering with the number one network and drawing off the experience of the team that broadcasts some of the biggest and most prestigious championship games in sports."
"We're excited to partner with such an exciting and fast-growing league that showcases some of the most recognizable basketball players in the world," said Dan Weinberg, EVP of Programming, CBS Sports. "Adding multiple hours of BIG3 coverage during the summer to both CBS and CBS Sports Network – including direct lead-ins – establishes more synergy and continuity between the broadcast and cable network, while delivering these action-packed games to a national audience throughout the entire season."
During the offseason, BIG3 added new top tier players to the league including Jason Terry, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Kendrick Perkins, Shannon Brown, Gilbert Arenas, Al Jefferson, Lamar Odom, Steve Blake, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Carlos Arroyo, Dusan Bulut and more.
Star players returning this year include Amar'e Stoudemire, Drew Gooden, Nate Robinson, Stephen Jackson, Carlos Boozer, Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, Chris 'Birdman' Andersen, Rashard Lewis, Metta World Peace, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley, Jermaine O'Neal, Brian Scalabrine and many more.
Teams will be coached by some of the top legends in the game, including Julius 'Dr. J' Erving, Gary Payton, Nancy Lieberman, Rick Barry, Lisa Leslie, and George 'The Iceman' Gervin.
In addition to Ice Cube and Kwatinetz, the league will continue to be guided by Chairman Amy Trask and Commissioner Clyde Drexler.