Throughout lockdown the association, which is moving into its 60th year, has planned for the new season, following Basketball England's Return to Play guidance, and started to formulate what the league's reboot would entail.
One of their committee's ideas was a wish list of essential items to provide to clubs and officials. After working to secure sponsors, it was decided each of the association's 23 teams would be provided with the following ahead of the 2020/21 season:
In addition, each official would receive:
Karl Rowlands, chair of the EDBA said: "As an Association, we had to ensure that we were showing how serious we were taking the risk, despite the low occurrence in the area.
"In turn we expected the same from our clubs, all the way down to the individual responsibility of the players and officials.
"We had to help but the cost was likely to be extortionate. We decided as an association to go out and seek sponsors that could assist – the sanitiser company for example agreed to supply us with sanitiser for an endorsement and mention on our Facebook page and website."
The response has already been positive, with feedback from local clubs, players and officials all praising the move.
The idea has also attracted interest from other league associations who have contacted EDBA about their costing model, where they acquired their items from, and the thought process behind the 'COVID packs'.
The initiative has come at a great time for the association after a a challenging period throughout the last six months.
The end of the 2019/20 season and the suspension of all basketball activity due to COVID-19 came just a few days before the association's scheduled end-of-season finals, with the three biggest games of the calendar all getting cancelled after a significant period of promotion and excitement.
The subsequent COVID imposed 'off-season' was also difficult, but it did provide some time and space to plan appropriately. Before long, momentum began to build once more.
To keep teams and members engaged, the association's social media efforts went into overdrive, ramping up their output with features on players, officials and updates on preparations for 2020/21.
The EDBA social accounts recorded record levels of engagement, and that momentum then helped to catch the eye of potential sponsors that could make the 'COVID packs' a reality.
After working tirelessly for their members to get them back on local courts safely, the pay off for Rowland and the EDBA is simple: "Have the packs cost us money? The simple answer is 'yes', but what price can you put on health, and getting players, officials, spectators and volunteers back to the game we love?"
25 Jan 2021
24 Jan 2021