The countdown to the 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four began officially in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, on Wednesday, three months before the big event, with the unveiling of this season's Final Four logo. Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, was joined by Josean Querejeta, President of Saski Baskonia; Ramiro Gonzalez Vicente, General Deputy of Alava; Gorka Urtaran, Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz; and Bingen Zupiria, Basque Government Counselor for Culture and Linguistics.
The specially-designed logo is a combination of the most emblematic elements of Vitoria-Gasteiz's identity with significant basketball features. The archetypal architecture of Vitoria-Gasteiz is represented by its famous Four Towers, located in the old town. The centuries-old Four Towers – the Cathedral of Santa Maria, Church of San Vicente Martir, Church of San Miguel and Church of San Pedro Apostol – are an essential part of the history of the city and together form its classic skyline. They play a symbolic role in the logo, sprouting from a basketball to also represent the four teams that will compete in May to lift the trophy. In between the towers, Fernando Buesa Arena, the venue where the Final Four will be played, can also be seen.
The culture and tradition of the Basque Country are also represented in the logo through a subtle wink at its gastronomy, with a skewer crossing the Final Four letters recreating the most iconic Basque dish, the pintxo, a finger food – often consisting of seafood or meat layered over a piece of bread – held together by a toothpick.
The 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four will be the first time that Europe's premier basketball event lands in Basque Country. The games on May 17 and 19 will crown this season's kings of European basketball and parallel events throughout Vitoria-Gasteiz will bring tens of thousands of fans and a host of basketball-themed celebrations and events to the region.
Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball
"It's always a pleasure to be in Vitoria, for many reasons, above all to speak about the Final Four, which has been a long-time aspiration that the city has finally achieved. And also to share with you where we are in the process of creating an event in which all of us have placed a lot of hopes and which we are convinced is going to be a success. We are going to have an opportunity, as we've been doing since the start of the season, to put Vitoria in the mouths of all basketball fans in Europe, something that has not happened to this level before now.
"I want to take advantage of this opportunity to thank again those who have made this possible. Those of you who have been around longest know that Vitoria has waited 19 years for what's coming this May, 19 years in which the club has been asking for the Final Four, always with the support of the local government institutions, from the Euskadi government, the deputation of Alava and the city hall of Gasteiz. And finally, this year we had the possibility to bestow on Vitoria-Gasteiz the chance to host the Final Four. And for that we have to express our thanks and recognition to the deputation of Alava, the city hall of Gasteiz, the government of Euskadi and the club Baskonia for having made this possible and for giving us a chance to work in a truly extraordinary atmosphere where our working team – which can be demanding, I admit – is working with great ease thanks to all the people at the government institutions and the club who are helping us to make this Final Four what we all hope for, which is a great moment for all of us, and above all, for the fans of basketball in the Basque Country, who deserve it the most after waiting so many years."
"What we wish to accomplish with the logo is to make sure that the symbol of the event is not a cold institutional look with the EuroLeague in the middle. What we try to do is link the event with the place, and in this sense, the values we have identified – among many here – as the ones that best transmit where the Final Four is going to be celebrated: on one side, obviously, the local gastronomy, and on the other, the monuments of the city that will host the Final Four. As such, both of those elements are included, the architecture of the four fundamental ecclesiastical monuments of the city – the Cathedral of Santa Maria, Church of San Vicente Martir, Church of San Miguel, and Church of San Pedro Aposto – which are all represented here. And, with the gastronomy, we had to be a little more imaginative and creative, and you can see the pintxo toothpick that bisects the Final Four logo, and is therefore the gastronomic reference within the corporate image of the event. Obviously, within the activities that we'll have, these will be part of the touristic offerings and, above all, enjoying the gastronomy here will be in the center of those activities."
"This is the main reason to be here today, but it's also a chance to say that we are happy because once again the Final Four has set a record in terms of ticket sales, because in just six hours all the tickets available were sold. We only have left a few in the secondary market and the 700 that are reserved for the clubs that reach the Final Four, but everything else was sold in six hours, which demonstrates once again that this event continues at the center of people's interest and – above all and what is most relevant here – that Vitoria is a place people want to visit, and for that we can all be proud."
Gorka Urtaran, Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz
"In the name of the three institutions, the Basque Government, the deputation of Alava and the Vitoria-Gasteiz city hall, we want to show our satisfaction to host the EuroLeague Final Four in May. For us it is a big challenge, but also a great chance for us to show how we are in Euskadi, Alava and Vitoria, our city. I think it is a great chance to show the world that we are a first-level destination, a touristic, green, gastronomic and attractive destination. We can show that we are able to organize high-level events such as the Final Four. I also want to thank the work being done by the EuroLeague and Baskonia, which is fundamental, and also the basketball federations and the whole city, because the city will be fully involved with this event. And I am sure that we will be able to show the world that we can organize this kind of event and we will surpass all expectations. The logo I think is spot on, because it depicts one of the most iconic sights of our city, which are the four towers. Four towers that will become four huge teams – hopefully Baskonia will be one of them – that will be enjoying that Final Four in our city next May. In addition, it has Buesa Arena, one of the top arenas in Europe, and also the toothpick for the pintxos, promising that here everyone can eat well because we celebrate things around food, something that everyone likes."
Josean Querejeta, President of Saski Baskonia
"Good afternoon everyone. It's a shame that there are only four towers in the logo and not eight or twelve because then we [Baskonia] would have more options, right? But, with this presentation of the logo we open the last phase, the last three months before the celebration of what probably is the biggest sports event in our city ever. The date arrives in 90 days, and our territory will be the center of world basketball. But not everything will be basketball. We are working hard to get the whole city involved with activities for everyone. We recently presented the congress of medicine, which will bring some of the best specialists on the planet to our city in March. We also had solidary initiatives like the bracelet whose proceeds will be used to buy basketballs for more than 300 teams with 4,000 kids who play in our territory. You will also get to know other activities that we will be introducing soon, at a cultural or gastronomic level or that impact the city on an economic or mobility level. We have been asked about the works at Buesa Arena, and we have already finalized some improvements to the arena, which you have been able to see. We had new LED lighting installed last September that allows us to make presentations of high caliber. Also the video scoreboard has been in place since last October. We have also renewed the screens on court and added screens on the second level of the stands. We started the work to begin using a new, open high-speed wifi in April that will serve 20,000 people. And we will also refurbish the locker rooms and the press room for the event. It's a shame that after 19 years of trying to get the Final Four organization, in three months it will already be over, but it will be the first Final Four, and hopefully there will be another in a shorter amount of time. I want to thank the institutions and Jordi for their constant collaboration."