Basketball Ireland has confirmed a new, once-off format for the upcoming Men's Super League and National Division 1 seasons.
Following a meeting of the Men's National Competitions Committee (MNCC), it was agreed that both competitions will now be split into conferences, north and south, with games to begin on the weekend of 17/18 October.
Originally, the new season was to start in November. This was to allow teams adequate time to prepare with coronavirus restrictions in place. But the sooner-than-expected easing of the lockdown has brought the tip-off back to its traditional October slot.
The teams competing in each of the new Super League groups will be confirmed on Friday, with applications for the lower Division 1 still open.
The 16-game regular Super League season will see teams play home and away ties against teams from their Conference, along with one match against teams from the opposing Conference. The top two from each Conference will advance to the semi-finals and the league season concludes with a Super League final.
"The new conference system in both the Super League and Division 1 was unanimously agreed by the clubs," said Basketball Ireland CEO, and Chairperson of the MNCC, Bernard O'Byrne.
"This will help ease the financial burden on clubs, who continue to deal with the fallout from Covid-19. The playoffs will also bring an exciting climax to the league season.
"We can also now look forward to the traditional start date of the basketball season, following the governments recent decision to accelerate its roadmap and the reduction in phases."
Belfast Star are the defending Super League champions.