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Adidas Next Generation Tournament
Turin, Italy to host first Final Eight!
Oct 30, 2007
The very first Final Eight in ULEB Cup history will have an Olympic-level host. The city of Turin, Italy, which hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics, was announced today as the official site of the new season-ending tournament to culminate Europe's second-best continental competition. At a press conference in Turin's municipal palace, Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu disclosed that the city's Palavela arena will welcome the eight best teams of the ULEB Cup regular season to decide a champion from among them in the new Final Eight, scheduled from April 10 to 13, 2008. Mr. Bertomeu was joined at the announcement by Paolo Bellino, Turin Olympic Park (TOP) General Director, and Renato Montabone, the City Sports Counselor. Sergio Chiamparino, Mayor of Turin, greeted guests after the press conference.
"I am very happy to come here to play the first ULEB Cup Final Eight," Bertomeu told the press conference guests. "Turin has a long basketball tradition: all basketball events have had a significant success and after the Olympic Games, the city is on the European and international sports map for its arenas- and especially for the professionalism of the organization of events, as represented by Turin Olympic Park. We are signing an agreement that covers the areas of Turin, the Piedmont, Italy and Europe to offer a great basketball and sports show focused on the finals."
"It was a long but direct negotiation," explained Mr. Bellino. "Turin is a well-known city worldwide, but there were other candidates. The first meeting with ULEB was at the end of June. We spoke with the Consiglio di Amministrazione di TOP, local authorities, chose the arena and now we are at the signing. We will play at Palavela for its sport vocation: we will have 9,200 seats for every game. We have chosen an arena that it is right for this event."
The ULEB Cup arrives for 2007-08 with a new format. Starting this season, due to an overwhelming demand for participation in the ULEB Cup, the competition has more than doubled in size, from 24 to 54 teams, now representing 25 countries. Among the participating teams for the new season are three former ULEB Cup champions - Pamesa Valencia, Hapoel Jerusalem and Dynamo Moscow - as well as numerous teams that are now or have been previously national and continental champions. The two Italian representatives in this year's ULEB Cup are Benetton Treviso and Upim Fortitudo Bologna.
The ULEB Cup season opens next Monday, November 5, with a special game that is part of the 50 Years of European Club Basketball celebration that Euroleague Basketball is staging throughout the 2007-08 season. The ULEB Cup opening game, ASK Riga of Latvia vs. Lukoil Academic of Bulgaria, is a 50th-anniversary rematch between the first European title opponents, who faced each other in both 1958 and 1959 for the continental trophy. That game will be among dozens that ULEB Cup broadcast partner Eurosport 2 will broadcast at a rate of three per week during the new season.