PARIS (Basketball Champions League) - The Basketball Champions League was officially launched at Maison du Sport in Paris on Monday, with more than 200 guests present for the special occasion.
Teams will qualify for the Basketball Champions League through their national leagues, which is the competition's most important criterion.
The following countries will have direct qualification in the regular season: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain and Turkey. The exact allocation of spots will be decided by the Board of the Basketball Champions League.
In its inaugural season (2016-17), a guaranteed minimum of €4.5 million will be distributed among the participating clubs. Every club will receive at least €100,000 in financial support as well as funds towards TV production costs of home games. Increased payments, depending on sporting performance, will also be implemented, with the winner of the Basketball Champions league standing to take home €500,000.
Markus Studer, FIBA's Chief Operating Officer and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Basketball Champions League, said: "The fundamental principle of the Basketball Champions League is that it is a competition based on a sporting criterion. This will not only protect the national leagues but also dramatically increase their value while also helping our sport grow."
La Maison du Sport and French National Olympic Committee President, Mr Denis Masseglia, hosted the event which was witnessed by high-ranking officials including: French State Secretary of Sport, Mr Thierry Braillard, who gave a speech; FIBA President, Mr Horacio Muratore; FIBA Europe President, Mr Turgay Demirel; Cyriel Coomans, First Vice-President of FIBA Europe; Patrick Baumann, FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member. They were joined by the members making up the Basketball Champions League Board as well as by representatives of the signatory leagues and of 40 clubs. Among them was Mr Nikos Laskaris, the President of Greek club Aris, who delivered a speech on behalf of all clubs.