Paul Blake is pressing BBL bosses to look again at the league’s lop-sided playoff structure in a bid to better reward the top four finishers.

The former league chairman favours a return to the three-game series to decide the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

And Blake revealed tentative talks have already taken place at the top level with clubs encouraged to put forward fresh proposals this summer.


“There is very little to choose between the BBL’s top eight right now and I wouldn’t like to call any of the four quarter-finals,” he said, ahead of Newcastle’s first leg clash against Bristol Flyers at Sport Central on Friday.

“That’s fantastic for the league and it’s been one of the most competitive regular seasons I can remember.

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“But as a result there’s very little advantage finishing in the top four and I feel we need to look at how that can change.


“Playing two-legged quarter-finals between two evenly matched teams doesn’t give the higher-placed side any real benefit.

“Moving back to a three-game series – with the top seed at home in games one and three – would seem a fairer way of doing things.”

The BBL scrapped the three-game playoff quarter-final series in 1999 with franchises struggling to secure venues and security at short notice.

But fast forward almost 20 years and more clubs can exert a greater influence over their homecourts. At the same time there is a common desire to revisit the former system.


“We’re in a transitional period right now with more clubs moving towards securing permanent homes and enjoying better relationships with their primary venues,” added Blake.

“I can only see that situation improving in the next few years and I think it’s worth looking at whether we’re in a stronger position as a league to shake up the playoffs.

“We may need to squeeze an extra week into the end of the season to allow for last-minute fixtures but that could happen.

“It’s a conversation that’s well worth having as far as I’m concerned and it’s already being talked about within the game.”

Newcastle’s last experience of a three-game playoff series was an agonising 2-1 quarter-final reverse at the hands of Danny Lewis’ London Towers.

But the Eagles would jump at the chance to return to the previous system with this weekend’s two-legged clash against the Flyers hardly stacked in the top seed’s favour.

Sixth placed Bristol will host third-placed Newcastle on Sunday in the second leg of the quarter-final.

And Blake added: “The slight advantage we have is that we only need to make a long trip once in between the two legs. Bristol travel here on Friday and return home the same night so that’s tough on them.

“But on the other side of the coin they have home advantage in the second leg so it’s swings and roundabouts.

“A third game – if required – back in Newcastle would certainly represent some kind of reward for finishing higher.”

The Eagles host Bristol from 7.30pm at Sport Central on Friday in a repeat of last season’s nailbiting quarter-final. Tickets are still available and you can get an instant offer in your inbox by signing up to our newsletter: