If you don’t follow basketball you may not realise just how big the game is across Europe and that it’s not all about the NBA (National Basketball Association) in the USA!
To put it in perspective, the EuroLeague is one of the most popular indoor sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 8,780 for league matches in the 2017–18 season. That was the fifth-highest of any professional indoor sports league in the world (the highest outside the United States), and the second-highest of any professional basketball league in the world, only behind the NBA
About the EuroLeague
The EuroLeague, called the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague because sponsorship reasons, is the top-tier or NBA of European professional basketball club competition, and has been run since 2000.
The competition replaced the FIBA EuroLeague which had been run by FIBA since 1958. They are essentially the same competition with the change of name being simply a re-branding.
EuroLeague is made up of 16 teams, and each play each other twice, once at home and the second leg away, with a total of 30 games per team. The top 8 teams at the end of the regular season then advance to the playoffs, which are held as four individual 5 game playoff series. The winners of each of the four playoff series advance to the Final Four, The Final Four is two semifinals games, a third place game, and the championship game.
The 16 Clubs
Anadolu Efes Spor Kulübü is based in Istanbul, Turkey. It is the most successful club in the history of the Turkish Super League (BSL), having won the league’s championship 14 times.
Alba Berlin are the biggest basketball club in Germany and compete in the German League and the EuroLeague or the EuroCup.
ASVEL Basket are the only French club in the League, they’re based in Villeurbanne, Lyon, France.
FC Bayern München Basketball are part of a part of the FC Bayern Munich Football, they compete domestically in the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) and the EuroLeague.
BC Khimki are one of 2 rival clubs based Moscow.
Club Deportivo Saski-Baskonia, is based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The team plays in the Spanish Liga ACB and the EuroLeague.
PBC CSKA Moscow are a Russian club associated with the same name football club. They have had lots of recent success in the EuroLeague and are the successful team in it over the years. They also dominate the Russian VTB United League.
FC Barcelona Bàsquet are the oldest Spanish club in the Liga ACB and are owned by the super rich Barcelona FC
Fenerbahçe Basketball, are the only Turkish team to have won the EuroLeague, and are probably the most successful club in their own Turkish League.
Košarkaški klub Crvena zvezda are the only Serbian club in the league, based in Belgrade, Serbia, and part of the Red Star multi-sports club. They compete in the ABA League, the Basketball League of Serbia as well as the EuroLeague.
Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. are part of the Maccabi Tel Aviv Sports and based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The team plays in the Israeli Premier League and the EuroLeague.
Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano are an Italian club based in Milan, they are the most successful team in the Italian League.
Olympiacos B.C. Are one of 2 Greek clubs in the League, they’re part of the big multi-sport club Olympiacos CFP, based in Piraeus. They’re one of the strongest clubs in the EuroLeague.
Panathinaikos B.C. are the other Greek club in the league and based in Athens, they are part of the huge multi-sport club Panathinaikos A.O.
Real Madrid Baloncesto are part of massive Real Madrid Football, and are one of the biggest spenders in the EuroLeague.
Basketball Club Žalgiris are the only Lithuanian club in the league and are based in Kunas.
The relationship between EuroLeague clubs and football
A lot of the big basketball clubs in Europe happened to be owned by or part of football clubs. Real Madrid are owned by the same name and biggest football club in Europe, then Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Fenerbahce (Turkish football club based in Istanbul) Bayern Munich and all connected with the same named major football clubs.
CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid basketball teams are well known to be two of the biggest spenders in the EuroLeague, both teams had budgets of over €36 million last season, while the basketball section of Real Madrid registered last season record earnings of €15.5M.
One interesting thing about European basketball that almost never gets discussed is money. Information about financial data in European basketball remains limited and most of the numbers are not public.
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