Bring it on! Clubs across Europe look forward to Basketball Champions League 2017-18
MIES, Switzerland (Basketball Champions League) - Clubs across Europe are looking ahead to the second season of Basketball Champions League following Wednesday’s confirmation of a strong line up of 56 clubs from 32 countries including 21 national champions.
Clubs know they will have to be at their best to take the title from Champions Iberostar Tenerife and Alejandro Gómez, chief executive UCAM Murcia, one of Tenerife’s three Spanish rivals in the Basketball Champions League, says his club will make changes to ensure they are competitive.
"To be a real force to play in a competition like the Basketball Champions League 2017-18, we'll surely need to acquire new players," he said.
"Basketball Champions League has raised enormous expectations, not just in our club but in the whole Murcia Community.
"We want to be strong and quick off the blocks in both the Basketball Champions League and the Spanish league and take every opportunity we can.
"With our inclusion in the Regular Season we are handling a lot of options. We're going to play at least seven European high-level matches. This is going to test our capacity as a club and is going to be a gift for our fans."
Fernando Galindo, president of Madrid club Movistar Estudiantes, described playing in the Basketball Champions league as ‘a huge landmark for our club, our fans and our sponsors.’
"On the 70th Anniversary of our debut in major Spanish competitions we are returning to Europe in the Basketball Champions League," he said.
"We know the upcoming year will be a challenge but we see it as a year to make history.”
Juanan Morales, President of Divina Seguros Joventut said his club shared the anticipation and excitement.
"We are ready to go and full of expectations," he said.
"The Basketball Champions League is a good option and gives our fans more international games in a European competition. As a club, we want to keep on growing."
In Lithuania, Algimantas Ercius, Director of BC Neptunas Klaipeda welcomed a second shot at the Basketball Champions League.
He said: "We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to play in the Basketball Champions League. The inaugural season was a success on many levels – most of the clubs had enjoyed significant financial benefits, TV production was held on the highest level, and the whole organizational part was also very impressive.
"Our fans loved the competition and the attendance at games grew bigger and bigger as the season progressed.
"Now, it is obvious that the League is taking a huge step to make the second one even better – bigger financial rewards, more tools for the clubs from the organisation in order for them to gain more valuable experience in marketing fields and many other benefits await participants of the season 2017-2018.
"We had no doubts regarding our choice (of European competition) for this season and I think everybody in the organization is excited about the upcoming tournament".
Emmanouil Laskaris, Executive Director of Greek club ARIS Thessaloniki shares the view that the Basketball Champions League is getting stronger and tougher.
He said: "It is obvious that in its second year, the Basketball Champions League will reach a higher level and will be more competitive than in the maiden season. The fact that 21 champions will take part says a lot.
"We continue to support a competition which is guided purely by sporting criteria. We are expecting a high-level event and will do our best to progress further than last year."
Top coaches also welcome the chance to compete in the Basketball Champions League. Ilias Papatheodorou, head coach of PAOK says that the presence of teams from strong leagues in the qualifying rounds means a lot in terms of standard of competition.
"It is very important for us to participate in the Basketball Champions League, a competition that even though started only a year ago, is of high quality and the new season is anticipated with even greater interest.
"There are more competitive, quality teams in both the 24 that we already know that will participate in the Regular Season and those in the qualifying groups, where there are teams from high quality leagues like Spain, Turkey, Germany, Italy and Russia.
This will give us the opportunity to play with very serious and high quality opponents, and that is why we aim to create a team that can play an important role in the competition."
Sotiris Manolopoulos, head coach of AEK Athens agrees: "Everyone understands that the Basketball Champions League is becoming more competitive and a glance at the participating teams proves that,” he said.
"I'm convinced that the competition will improve at every level and we have to prove ourselves where it really matters – on the court.
"AEK, as an organisation, as a basketball club, will do its best to support the Basketball Champions League and the coming season promises to be very interesting."