Euroleague Basketball is pleased to announce the city of Istanbul as the home of the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. The state-of-the-art Sinan Erdem Arena, which opened in 2010 to host the FIBA World Championships final stages, will host European basketball’s premier event in early May 2012. Euroleague Basketball President and CEO was joined by representatives of two partners in the event, Turgay Demirel, the President of the Turkish Basketball Federation; and Firuz Baglikaya, the President of Detur Group; as well as Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas and Hamdi Topçu, Chairman of the Euroleague’s title sponsor, Turkish Airlines, to make the announcement on Sunday at a media conference hours before tip-off of the 2011 Turkish Airlines Euroleague title game at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.
The 2012 Final Four brings the event back to Istanbul for the first time in two decades. Partizan defeated Joventut Badalona in the 1992 Final Four at Abdi Ipekci Arena. Sinan Erdem Arena, which has a capacity of over 16,000 for basketball, has become a leader in hosting premium sporting events. In addition to being the home of Euroleague club Efes Pilsen, Sinan Erdem Arena is also scheduled to host the year-end WTA Championships in each of the next three years plus the world indoor track and field championships and the world swimming championships in 2012.
Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu:
"The reason why we are here is obvious if you look at the people I have the honor to have with me at this table. I have to say that we are glad to announce that the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four will take place in the beautiful, amazing city of Istanbul at Sinan Erdem Arena in early May, as always, according to the Final Four tradition. The exact dates will be decided when the calendar is approved by the Euroleague General Assembly. We have waited a bit to announce this decision, but we wanted to close all details before making an official announcement. We have been working closely with basketball authorities in Turkey, especially with the Turkish Basketball Federation. The Euroleague is going to Turkey for many reasons that helped us make this decision. First, Turkish basketball has dramatically improved in the last years. We are very happy about the way basketball has grown in Turkey, at both club and national team level. Turkey has proven to have a high-level organization in the latest World Championships in August and September last year. The experience of Turkish Basketball Federation is a guarantee for us to have an excellent Final Four in Istanbul next year. We have two Istanbul-based Euroleague teams with a long tradition in our competition, Efes Pilsen and Fenerbahce Ulker, as well as some Eurocup teams. I definitely cannot forget the fact that we have enjoyed an unbelievably good partnership with Turkish Airlines this season. I want to take advantage of this moment to thank them for their commitment to the Euroleague and their contribution to make this event possible in Istanbul next year. I am confident that, coordinating with the Turkish Basketball Federation, one of the most active in Europe, we will deliver our fans an excellent event this year. I hope I see you all there next year."
Turgay Demirel, the President of the Turkish Basketball Federation:
“I am very proud to be able to finalize negotiations with the Euroleague to host the event in 2012 in Istanbul, the sport capital of Europe for the coming year. Istanbul has been a very good host for many sporting events and the arena is very good. We hosted the FIBA World Championships and next year top clubs will compete in our beautiful town. We look forward to hosting all of you. We also thank Turkish Airlines for promoting this brand all over the world. I look forward to hosting you all Istanbul next year.”
Hamdi Topçu, Turkish Airlines Chairman:
“I greet you all with respect. One year ago, I was speaking with Jordi about hosting the Final Four in Istanbul and he told me was almost impossible, but Jordi opened the press conference with today’s good news, so I am very happy. Please allow to thank the people who really worked hard to bring the Final Four to Istanbul: The President of the Turkish Basketball Federation Turgay Demirel and Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas were involved and I spoke on the phone today with the Turkish Minister of Sports Faruk Ozak. The city of Istanbul has hosted big things lately, so it is now new. The Government, municipality and other state organizations, including us, will work together and we hope to deliver the best to everyone. Turkish Airlines in the last eight years has proved itself as a great international brand with all its activities and services. Turkish Airlines has done many sponsorships and partnerships and one of the majors ones is with Euroleague Basketball. Turkish Airlines is already contributing and will continue to contribute to this the best it can over the next five years. This partnership will help our brand and also contribute to Euroleague Basketball. I want to thank again very much Jordi, the Turkish Basketball Federation and all those that have contributed.”
Istanbul joins a list of major European cities that have honored Euroleague Basketball by hosting the Final Four in recent years, including Barcelona this season, Berlin in 2009, Madrid 2008, Athens 2007, Prague 2006, Moscow 2005, Tel Aviv 2004, Barcelona 2003 and Bologna 2002. In addition to the games themselves, which bring the best four teams from the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season together to decide a champion, the Final Four also features the annual NIKE International Junior Tournament and other parallel events.