The countdown to the crowning event of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague was set in motion on Wednesday during a press conference in Cologne to present the most important sports events coming to the German city during 2020.
Cologne will welcome the Final Four for the first time next spring for a weekend's worth of non-stop basketball drama and fun between May 22 and 24. Cologne follows Berlin, which hosted the 2009 and 2016 Final Fours, to become the second German city this century to stage the battle to become the continent of Europe's best basketball team of the season.
A press conference celebrating Cologne's upcoming role as host was held on Wednesday at Lanxess Arena, the venue of the 2020 Final Four and the world ticket sales leader for arena venues during the first half of 2019. Lanxess Arena boasts a capacity of approximately 16,000 fans in the Final Four configuration.
The press conference, which featured the signing of the agreement for the organization for the 2019 Final Four, was attended by Henriette Reker, Mayoress of Cologne; Alex Ferrer, Marketing and Communication Senior Director at Euroleague Basketball; Robert Voigtsberger, Head of Department for Education, Youth and Sports; Stefan Locher, Managing Director Lanxess Arena; Manuel Hartmann, DBF Head of the Department of Match Operations League & Competitions; Markus Frisch, Cologne Marathon representative; and Gregor Timmer, Head of Cologne Sports Office.
Henriette Reker, Mayoress of Cologne, stated: "Cologne is proud to host the final tournament of the most important European club competition in basketball for the first time this year. You will find a proven team in Cologne, which will provide a wealth of experience for a professionally organized Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four 2020. The sports city of Cologne is looking forward to basketball fans from all over Europe, to whom we can promise a fantastic atmosphere and warm hospitality."
Alex Ferrer, Marketing and Communication Senior Director at Euroleague Basketball, stated: "We are very happy to bring the Final Four to Cologne, a sports city with one of the best facilities in Europe, the LANXESS Arena. Germany is one of our most important strategic markets and we are very satisfied with the response we have received from the local audience. During the event, not only the fans attending the games will be welcome to enjoy this celebration, but the whole city of Cologne will have the opportunity to participate in one of the various parallel events spread around the city, like the Fan Zone or the Adidas Next Generation Tournament."
Robert Voigtsberger, Head of Department for Education, Youth and Sports, stated: "Organizing the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four as part of the Cologne Sports Year is a fantastic opportunity to sustainably strengthen the sport of basketball in Cologne. The great attention will not only be used internationally but also locally with us in Cologne. With accompanying projects in schools in Cologne, basketball can become more attractive and enthusiastic among children and adolescents in Cologne. Because next year the European Basketball Championship will also be held in Cologne."
Mr Stefan Locher, Managing Director Lanxess Arena, stated: "Having the Lanxess Arena host the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four this year feels overwhelming. We have been in contact for more than 10 years. Now that we finally achieved to bring this fantastic tournament into the city of Cologne, I am looking forward to a great weekend that we are going to have in May. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four is one of the most important indoor sports tournaments existing in Europe. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we can enable over 18,000 people to experience this entertaining event live in one of the world’s biggest multifunctional arenas."