- National Teams
The Euroleague has said it has its eyes set on a UK-based team following a Euroleague Commercial Assets Assembly meeting on Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain.
The outcomes of the meeting, which was held to review the previous season’s results and to discuss the current season’s activities and objectives, were outlined on the Euroleague’s official website yesterday, and also included hopes to deliver world class basketball events and increase media presence in the UK.
“On the subject of new markets, a proposed strategy to invest in the United Kingdom was presented that seeks to grow the Euroleague Basketball fan base there, to deliver a world class basketball events, to source local partners, to increase media presence, to introduce the CSR program One Team and, finally, to seek a competitive UK-based team for Euroleague Basketball competition. Plans were shown for the Turkish Airlines Final Four fan zone that will take place over the Final Four weekend at Trafalgar Square in London from May 10 to 12.”
British Basketball League Chairman Paul Blake has also recently said that it’s “part of the vision” for the league to have a team competing in Europe. In the interview with UK American Sports Fans he said:
“…it’s obviously part of the vision for the league, it’s part of the vision for the governing bodies, and also part of FIBA Europe’s vision, very very clearly, that British clubs are competing in Europe sooner rather than later.
“But it has to be done on the right basis, it can’t be done somewhat in the same manner that certain clubs are castigated for spending too much money on a tirade to win trophies, well you can do exactly the same at European level you can go and spend too much money on a dalliance that only lasts a season.
“We want clubs to be going back in that are playing in Europe sustainably year on year, not playing one year, having trouble for the next 3 or 4 years after that and then trying again. It’s gotta be year on year.
“And yet from my club perspective, with my club hat on, yes it’s doable. “
With the public statement of intent from the Euroleague, it is perhaps the biggest signal of intent yet to have a British team playing on the continent.
In May the Euroleague announced the 2013 Final Four will be held in London, with an option for 2014 also being likely.
London, and the rest of the UK, continues to remain an untapped basketball market, with the 2012 Olympics having had no noticeable impact. The NBA continues to hold pre-season and regular season games in London (including Detroit-New York in January), which sell out on every occasion, however, the domestic BBL still struggles to gain traction.
It will be interesting to see the interest the 2013 Euroleague Final Four receives, with the European competition having always been an afterthought to British fans who favour the NBA.