The Eagles are coming: welcome Newcastle!
Graphic: Mārtiņš Zaļūksnis
The Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles is the second club from the United Kingdom which will play in the European North Basketball league.
"We`re very proud to be joining the Bristol Flyers in the ENBL," said owner Paul Blake. "When we looked into the league and the calibre of the opposition it just seemed like the perfect move."
“It’s been a long-held ambition of the club to test itself against top European clubs and we feel the time is right to take the next step,” he explained.
“We have a world class basketball arena and a head coach who’s proved himself on the international stage with Great Britain."
"Hosting leading European clubs has become a regular feature of our pre-season programmes and the feedback we get from the visiting teams is always 100 per cent positive."
“Everything points towards playing competitive basketball against overseas opposition."
“Joining the ENBL is an excellent opportunity to enhance our reputation on the global stage and to take Newcastle Eagles to the next level.”
"The players who we`re speaking to as part of this summer`s recruitment process all see the step into Europe as a huge positive."
The Eagles will play seven games in the group stage, including at least three home fixtures at the Vertu Motors arena.
The Vertu Motors arena opened its doors in January 2019 and has a 2800 capacity for the basketball games.
The new arena has already hosted multiple international events, including the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers fixture between the Great Britain and Latvia.
“The Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles are the most successful British basketball team with 27 trophies in 19 seasons,” said the ENBL Secretary General, Edgars Zanders.
“The franchise from the northeast England will be an amazing addition to the ENBL’s 2023-2024 season.”
The Tyneside club was founded in 1976 as the EPAB Sunderland.
The Eagles will have their first European experience in 33 years – they faced Thessaloniki PAOK from Greece in the 1990-1991 European Cup Winner`s Cup, then as the Sunderland Saints.
The Saints made back-to-back appearances in the British Basketball league`s final in 1990 and 1991, falling twice against the Guildford Kings.
The Eagles won their first BBL Championship trophy in 2005, when they defeated the Chester Jets in the title game, 78-75.
They registered the third three-peat in BBL history in 2007, after two consecutive successes against the Scottish Rocks – now known as the Caledonia Gladiators.
The 2007 final was held in the Metro Radio arena in Newcastle.
The Eagles have added four more BBL titles in 2009, 2012, 2015 and, most recently, in 2021.
Their trophy case includes six BBL Cups, won in 2006, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2021.
There is another cup competition, known as the BBL Trophy.
The Eagles have seven BBL Trophies under their belt.
They posted two consecutive wins in 2005-2006 and 2009-2010, followed by another three triumphs in 2012, 2015 and 2020.
The Eagles head coach Marc Steutel was recently appointed as the Great Britain`s men`s National team head coach.
He already coached the British team in the World Cup Qualifiers as Nate Reinking was regularly unavailable due to NBA commitments.
The Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles is the new name for professional basketball in the North East.
A solid home market, a growing club scene and proximity to major European markets make the UK an attractive European basketball destination.
Location also plays a part – the Baltic Sea and the North Sea region has been sometimes called as the Northern Mediterranean – an area with strong maritime and trade traditions.
Basketball is a global game and the ENBL is happy to extend its presence across the whole region.