FIBA Europe Cup
With 56 teams from all across Europe taking part in the FIBA Europe Cup, this tournament is sure to become one of the most talked about sporting events in Europe this year and for years to come. With 17 national champions and 13 runners-ups, there are plenty of high quality teams which bodes well for the standard of play and competition that will be served up to basketball fans.
There are two conferences and each conference has 7 groups with four teams in each group. The top two teams from each group will progress, being joined by the four best ranked third placed sides, leaving the tournament with 32 teams for the Round of 32. The Round of 32 will follow in the same style as the Regular Season and the two topped ranked teams from each group will make the Last 16 with the season climaxing at the Final Four which will be held from the 29th of April to the 1st of May in 2016.
The Europe Cup comes in to take the place of the FIBA EuroChallenge which was the 3rd tier club basketball competition in Europe. The EuroChallenge was founded in 2003, initially being known as the FIBA Europe League, until 2005 and then being referred to as the FIBA EuroCup between 2005 and 2008.
No team managed to win the EuroChallenge more than once and the full list of winners runs:
- Unics from Russia
- Dynamo St. Petersburg from Russia
- Joventut Badalona from Spain
- Girona from Spain
- Barons LMT from Latvia
- Virtus Bologna from Italy
- Göttingen from Germany
- Krka from Slovenia
- Beşiktaş from Turkey
- Krasnye Krylia from Russia
- Reggio Emilia from Italy
- Nanterre from France
This means that Russia had three winners, Spain had two winners, Italy had two winners and Latvia, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey and France all had one winner. With one win and one loss in a final, Krasnye Krylia Samara would be ranked as the most successful team when it comes to ranking the historical performance of teams in the EuroChallenge. With three wins and four runners-up spots, Russia was by far the strongest nation with respect to performances in the EuroChallenge.
Other defunct basketball tournaments in Europe
The loss of the EuroChallenge tournament means that there is another tournament to add to the list of defunct European basketball tournaments in Europe.
Other examples include:
- EuroCup Challenge
- Korac Cup
- Saporta Cup
The EuroCup Challenge, run by FIBA Europe, was deemed to be the 4th tier club basketball tournament in Europe and it took place between 2002 and 2006. The finalists of each season were promoted to the EuroChallenge. Winners include Aris from Greece, Mitteldeutscher BC from Germany, CSU Asesoft Ploiești from Romania, Ural Great Perm from Russia and CSK VVS Samara from Russia.
With two winners and one runner-up, Russia had the strongest national showing in the EuroCup Challenge.
The Korac Cup, hosted by FIBA, was held between 1971-72 and 2001-02. It was deemed to the third tier club basketball tournament, ranked below the FIBA European Champions Cup (now known as the Euroleague) and the FIBA Cup Winners Cup, which would later be known as the FIBA Saporta Cup.
Cantu of Italy had the best record in the Korac Cup, winning the trophy four times and being runners-up on one occasion. Partizan and Limoges both won the trophy three times while Olimpia Milano, Virtus Roma, FC Barcelona, Split and Joventut Badalona all won the trophy two times.11 teams won the Korac Cup once.
With 10 titles and 13 runners-up spots, Italy were the strongest nation with respect to the Korac Cup.
The FIBA Saporta Cup was the name of the tournament which pitted national cup winners against each other. The tournament was named after Raimundo Saporta, who had been a director of Real Madrid. The tournament was founded in 1966 and it ceased operating in 2002.
Real Madrid and Cantu both won the trophy four times. With Cantu also winning the Korac Cup four times, they were seen as a formidable European team at this level of club basketball. Another strong team at this level of European basketball was Olimpia Milano, who won the trophy three times. Spartak Leningrad, FC Barcelona, Vare3se, AEK, Cibona and Treviso all won the trophy twice while 13 teams won the trophy once.
With 15 titles and 9 runners-up spots, Italy were the strongest nation in the Saporta Cup.
The SuproLeague ran for one season, the 2000-01 season. To this point, there was only one cup, the FIBA European Champions Cup, the Euroleague, but for this season, the major European teams split into two camps, the SuproLeague and the Euroleague.
Maccabi Elite won the tournament, defeating Panathinaikos in the final, but at the conclusion of the campaign, it was agreed that it was best for Europe to have one leading basketball tournament for club teams. The Euroleague brand was negotiating from a position of strength, which meant that they led the way the following season but the SuproLeague triumph of Maccabi is recognised as an official win.
While there have been plenty of European tournaments over the years, there is still some level of choice for current basketball fans. The Eurocup is the second tier of Euroleague basketball and this looks set to be one of the leading sporting events in Europe this season and for many years to come.
Of course, for many basketball fans around the world, the Euroleague is the most exciting event and this is the one that they will focus on. At the end of the 2014-15 season, Real Madrid ended a very long wait to grab another European title and when it comes to finding the best players in European basketball, this is inevitably the club event that gives players the chance to shine. The 2015-16 seasons across the various European leagues look set to provide basketball fans in Europe with plenty of betting opportunities and plenty of chances to be excited by the best players and teams.