Patrick Comninos (CEO Basketball Champions League)
The BCL CEO Patrick Comninos met with media this morning in Antwerp.
Here some of the most interesting quotes from the roundtable:
“For us, Antwerp was a big bet. But that’s our mentality: we want to break barriers and that’s why we decided to play in the biggest arena available here in Antwerp. We knew that setting up the event in just 4 weeks was challenging, but thanks to a great collaboration by local authorities we managed to fill the arena with +17.000 people and create a wonderful atmosphere. The fact that we could make another statement after last year’s Final Four in Athens is huge, even considering that we moved to a country with less basketball heritage. We are proud of that.
“The road to play in the BCL is totally transparent. There’s a clear way to access the tournament and public criteria that are based on performance in domestic leagues. All criteria are made public well in advance so that teams can plan long-term decisions, knowing what it takes to compete in BCL and what are the economic benefits that they can have. On Sunday, the winner will take home 1 MLN € with the trophy”.
“Sunday will be challenging for us, being the first time that the host team is not playing in the final. But we are very confident that we will have a buzzing arena and happy that teams with such incredible heritage like Bologna and Tenerife.”
“Virtus Bologna, as Tenerife, will get qualified to next year’s Basketball Champions League if they win the finals, otherwise they will have to get one of the spots that are assigned to each country through their domestic league standings.”
“In 3 years, we have had games in 37 different countries, with more than 100 countries. All national leagues and clubs that want to take part into BCL they know that they can, if they perform well on the court. We truly believe in inclusive competitions and in the value of the results on the court.”
“Cases like the one of Fribourg, Suisse national champions, make us really proud. They had an exciting run in BCL, and following that, the attention around basketball in their home country has grown to the point that they had 6.000 attendants for the Suisse cup final. The fact that FIBA and BCL can provide a boost for the development of basketball around Europe is something that inspire us to move forward.”