MIES, May 19, 2017 - The Basketball Champions League has made history. Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos says the competition has a hugely exciting future following the success of its debut season which climaxed with Iberostar Tenerife being crowned the inaugural winners.
"History was made here and I'd like to congratulate Iberostar Tenerife on becoming the first winners of the Basketball Champions League," he said. "They say even the longest journey starts with a single step and this was a massive stride in the right direction.
"The vibrant and passionate atmosphere in the arena in Tenerife was simply amazing and we couldn't have wished for a better stage for the final. The entire island of Tenerife was buzzing and this made for the ideal images to conclude this season. Our first Final Four weekend marked the climax of a remarkable year in which a brand-new sporting competition was born and began to take root in the hearts of passionate fans here and across Europe."
FIRST SEASON OF BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN NUMBERS
18 National Champions
40 Teams in Regular Season
60 per cent of Games won by less than 10 points
550,000 Facebook Followers
€1,000,000 Winners Prize Money in 2017-18
26,500,000 Video views
50,000,000 Facebook fans reach
Basketball Champions League, which is co-owned by FIBA and 10 national leagues, was launched to ensure that clubs from leagues across the continent can compete in top-class continental competition based on merit.
Comninos explained the rationale for the competition, saying: "This is about serving the clubs and providing a competition which enables them to develop and become stronger. European club competition drives up standards on the court and that will translate into stronger and better competition in domestic leagues and, ultimately, national teams.
"Basketball Champions League does not exist for its own sake but as part of a broader strategy to grow basketball across Europe. It is based on established sporting principles of inclusion by merit rather than commercial brand value, and is an integral part of the new European basketball eco-system.
"The competition was true to its values and delivered on its goals as our competition welcomed 18 national champions."
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Reaction to Basketball Champions League from Players and Coaches
Tekele Cotton (MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg): "I've enjoyed this Champions League a lot. They're on top of everything. I feel like for the first year, there are a lot of great teams in it, a lot of great competition in it. There have not been any games that we've been able to take lightly and the way that they broadcast their league and the way they do their (social) media is phenomenal. I'm glad to have been a part of it."
Thaddus McFadden (PAOK) is just happy to be playing in the Basketball Champions League: "It's well organized. You know how the NBA promotes things? It's like that. The league has got the highlights after every game. It's a great league to play in. I see nothing but good for the league, great teams. This first year has been amazing. You might expect that after 15, 20 years. But the first year? That's amazing."
Rodrigo San Miguel (Iberostar Tenerife): "I see that they put the results and information very fast and I think it’s great for fans to be able to monitor things instantly."
John Patrick (Head Coach of MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg): "We went into it wide-eyed, without really any assumptions and we were excited about the idea of playing in the Champions League in the initial season. It's certainly exceeded any experience we've had before, to be in an initial group with Sassari, Besiktas, AEK, Partizan, Zielona Gora. Our fans also caught on very quick to the level of the Champions League and understood pretty quickly what an elite competition it is so, it's been kind of a movement, understanding that this thing is for real and then that we can have some success has been motivating for everybody."