Applaud Him: Ice Cube’s Big3 Secures TV Deal With CBS Sports

BIG3 league continues to explode and has reached an exclusive TV deal with CBS Sports for the 2019 season.

The BIG3 league has experienced great growth over its first two seasons, but after its two-year deal with FOX Sports expired at the end of last season, Ice Cube’s baby was left without a TV home.

While Cube made headlines for teaming up with LL Cool J and a pool of billionaire investors in an attempt to buy 22 Disney sports channels, the BIG3 league was ramping up for its third season with some new policy, upgraded talent and an extended schedule that starts at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on June 22nd and ends with the Big3 Championship at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center on August 24th. 

Everything was set, except the station that fans would be able to view the games on. That dilemma has been solved as CBS SPORTS and BIG3 announce their agreement on an exclusive television deal.

“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,” said Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz.

Under the new agreement, CBS TV Network will broadcast more than 20 hours of coverage throughout the 2019 season. CBS Sports Network will televise more than 25 hours during the professional 3-on-3 hoops league’s 11-week season.

The 2019 season will open on the CBS Television Network in primetime on Saturday, June 22 (8:00 PM, ET).

“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.”

The Big3 Explosion 

Since its inception in 2017, Ice Cube and Kwatinetz have established the Big 3 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, coached by WNBA legend Lisa Leslie.

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BIG3 has also signed major sponsorship agreements with global brands Adidas and Toyota which will roll out activations throughout the league’s 2019 season.

Coinciding with the growth of the Big3 is the improved talent pool, featuring several former NBA stars, notable personalities, and World Champions.

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.

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These group of formidable athletes join returning names like 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 and Brian “Veal” Scalabrine.

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Before any of the new BIG3 hopefuls can hit the court, however, they have to get drafted by one of the 12 squads. 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.

“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.”

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.