Welcome to this first event of the Euroleague Basketball Final Four. We have finally come to Prague to celebrate the Final Four after a very intense and competitive season, in which our fans have enjoyed again the quality of European basketball. The teams and the people that are now with me, I think it is not necessary that I introduce them. I only want to thank all of them, our players and our coaches, for devoting some of their time to be here with you. I think that there are no doubts that Maccabi Tel Aviv, CSKA Moscow, Tau Vitoria and FC Barcelona deserve being here.
These four teams, as well as the remaining 20 that have not been able to qualify, have offered our fans a great season, in which important things have happened for European basketball, and for Euroleague Basketball. We have managed to increase the number of our fans in the arenas by 4%. Almost 1,400,000 people have attended our games. We have greatly increased our presence in television. We started with 16 countries. Today 120 countries from all around the world can see our teams. We have found new partners, such as ISF and Sportingbet. They have joined us together with Molten, which has a long partnership relationship with us. We have launched our online shop with the merchandising programme of Euroleague Basketball and its teams. Now we have a Final Four event that is more than four basketball games. It is a time at which all the people from the world of European and international basketball gather together in Europe, coexist with our teams and enjoy them.
A Final Four with the best of European professional basketball, but also with the best of basketball of young players, in our International Junior Tournament. A Final Four in which there are tourism and leisure activities, but also working sessions to improve our product, such as the Symposium about basketball and television. A Final Four with 900 applications for media accreditations. A Final Four in Prague with 16,000 spectators, 13,000 of them coming from outside the Czech Republic, from 42 different countries. The tickets were sold out before the names of the teams were known.
This is the new Final Four concept that we are intending to have and with which we will continue in Athens in 2007. These data make us feel satisfied and be grateful to all those who have made it possible. First of all, those who have made it possible are the people who are with me here. And I thank them. Secondly, I express my gratitude to Prague, its authorities, the Mayor and the citizens, for their hospitality towards European basketball. Now no one will be able to say that Prague is not one of the meccas of basketball. Thirdly, I want to express my gratitude to Ceska Sportovni, our partner. With its professionalism and its enthusiasm, Ceska Sportovni has made it possible for everything to work properly, for the teams, media, etc. to do their job as best as possible, and for the fans to enjoy the event.
A Euroleague Basketball like this must think about the future. And we are doing so. We think that the time is coming for Euroleague Basketball to be present in more countries. We must give the opportunity for more teams to have access to this competition. Because there are many teams that are asking for it, because there are basketball projects being developed in many countries, and because we must respond to this new reality that we ourselves have promoted. I hope that in the future we can open a debate with our friends from FIBA Europe to talk about these matters. But we must go back to the present, and the present is Maccabi Elite, CSKA Moscow, Tau and Winterthur FC Barcelona, their coaches and their players. Some are newcomers, others are veterans, and others are winners of previous Final Four editions. Thanks to all of them and I wish them the best of luck.