In its first season, the league exists out of 12 teams and is scheduled to begin in March 2020. The qualifying rounds for the season were held in October and December 2019. The national champion of each African country has the opportunity to qualify through the qualifying rounds. Meanwhile, six national champions directly qualify for the regular season.
On 3 March 2020, the BAL announced it was postponing its inaugural season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made following recommendations of the Senegalese government. The BAL intends to start its league at a later date.
The twelve teams for the inaugural BAL season had to qualify in their domestic competitions to be able to play in the league, similar to the other FIBA-organised competitions. Six teams qualified directly as their national champions while six winners of the qualifying tournaments would .
FIBA announced that the national champions of six member associations would be directly qualified for the regular season. These teams are from countries which are also hosts cities for the regular season, except for Final Four host Rwanda. On 23 October 2019, AS Douanes won the Senegalese national championship to qualify.
Each of the FIBA Africa member associations was able to register one team from its country to participate in the qualifying tournaments. A total of 31 teams played in the first round, which was divided into six groups in six different host cities. The qualification tournaments started on 16 October and will end 21 December 2019.
Location of venues of the 2020 BAL season. Red: Sahara Conferences; Yellow: Nile Conference; Green: Playoffs & Finals.
On 1 August 2019, the NBA announced the seven host cities for the regular season. Six cities in six countries would host the regular season games, with three assigned to each conference. The Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda was announced as venue for the inaugural Final Four.
In the qualifying rounds, 32 teams from 32 countries participated in the West and East Division. The first round began 15 October and ended 3 November 2019, with sixteen teams advancing to the second round. The second-round games began 26 November and will end 22 December 2019, with six teams qualifying for the regular season.
In the regular season, twelve teams play in two Conferences with six teams each. Each team will play five games, one against each opponent, inside its conference. The top three teams from each conference advance to the Super 6. The games will be played in six arenas divided over the African continent. The regular season will start in March 2020.