Euroleague Basketball has unveiled a new Turkish Airlines Euroleague competition system that will be implemented starting with the 2012-13 season. As in the current format, the new one will consist of five phases: the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Round, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. The new competition system will feature modifications to two phases and a shift of game days throughout the season.
The first modification will be made in the qualifying round, in which eight teams, instead of 16, will play in a single-venue tournament format to earn one spot in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season.
The regular season will remain the same, a round-robin format in which the 24 qualified teams will be divided in four groups (A, B, C and D). Every team plays its group opponents twice each, for a total of 10 games, with the four best finishers from each group advancing to the next phase.
The second competition system modification will expand the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 by dividing the best teams coming from the regular season into two Groups (E and F) rather than the previous four. With this change, the Top 16 Draw will be eliminated. The two new Top 16 groups would be composed based on regular-season standings, as follows:
Group E: A1, B2, C3, D4, C1, D2, A3, B4
Group F: B1, C2, D3, A4, D1, A2, B3, C4
The effect of the change to two groups means that the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 will expand from the current six games to a total of 14 per group. The top four teams of each group will advance to the playoffs, which will continue as best-of-five series whose winners will qualify for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Likewise, European basketball’s signature event will remain in its current single-elimination format, semifinals and title game, to crown the competition’s champion.
Besides these competition system modifications, another important change to be implemented in the 2012-13 season will make the official Turkish Airlines Euroleague game days Thursday and Friday of each playing week. This change to Friday games has already been tested during the current season on two occasions, in regular season Game 1 between Gescrap BB and Olympiacos and in Game 3 between Panathinaikos and Zalgiris, with positive results in both arena attendance and TV audiences.
With these improvements, Euroleague Basketball seeks to bring more entertainment to all fans by increasing the opportunities to witness the best teams of the continent facing each other and by finding stable weekly game days that avoid the coincidence of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague clashing with other elite sporting competitions.