Ice Cube sells first Big3 team for $10 million

BY Preta Peace Namasaba May 16, 2024 9:50 AM EDT
Ice Cube. Photo credit: Ice Cube

Hip-hop legend Ice Cube has sold his first Big3 basketball league team in a historic $10 million deal. A consortium led by investment firm DCB Sports, including a mix of professional athletes and celebrities, has bought the rights to a Los Angeles-based franchise. The league is expected to sell three more teams before the start of the 2024 season.

“This is a historic day for the Big3. We could not be happier to entrust part of our league to Gary and this seasoned group of sports investors ahead of our most important season yet. We have all-star basketball talent, millions of loyal fans around the world, and we are one of the most viewed sports programs of the summer on CBS,” Ice Cube said about the new deal.

Founded in 2017, Big3 is a 3-on-3 basketball league that features former NBA players and international players. The league started with eight teams and expanded to 12 teams in 2019, all of which were centrally owned. It operates under a touring model, with teams not representing any cities or geographical regions and traveling to different cities each week during the summer season. The sale of its first team is set to bring about significant changes to the Big3 layout.

The league is currently transitioning to a city-based model, which is common in more established professional sports leagues. While the touring model has helped Big3 to raise awareness and build its audience, the adoption of this new model will allow teams to establish more meaningful connections with fans in specific markets. It also presents an opportunity to implement cost sharing, as the Big3 will not have to cover all of the operating costs of its 12 franchises.

“Basing our teams in home cities allows Big3 to engage local communities and fanbases and bringing in ownership groups each with their own sports expertise, business, and capabilities beginning in 2025 will allow Big3 to grow exponentially. I know that DCB Sports will do right by the people of Los Angeles and together, we’ll continue to change the game,” Ice Cube explained the Big3’s future plans.

In 2025, all BIG3 teams will have home markets, starting with the first one in Los Angeles. The league is planning to announce three more ownership groups before the 2024 season begins on June 15th in Oakland. After this season, it will confirm eight more markets. Toronto and London, which have previously hosted the 2023 Championship and an All-Star game, respectively are the top contenders for a franchise.

The Big3 has millions of loyal fans worldwide and averages half a million viewers on CBS during the summer. The league is poised for growth and hopes to attract investors based on its potential during its formative years. Ownership groups with unique sports expertise will help establish engaged fanbases around the world, enhancing the league’s impact. Ice Cube’s vision and strategic partnerships signal a bright future for the global evolution of 3-on-3 basketball.