The best teams in European club basketball will compete for a continental title next season in one of the world's emblematic capitals of sport and culture – Paris.
The Euroleague has announced that the French capital will be the host city of the 2010 Final Four, from Friday, May 7 to Sunday, May 9. The games to crown the 2009-10 champion will be played at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, an iconic venue in European sports history. The announcement was made during the first event of the new 2009-10 season, the Euroleague Draw, held in Barcelona on Wednesday. The choice of Paris follows last year’s successful Final Four at the O2 World in Berlin and continues the long-term agreement between the Euroleague and the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to partner on a wide range of basketball-related programming, presentation and development initiatives. It also marks the start of close cooperation with the French Basketball Federation and the Ligue Nationale de Basket of France, to make Europe's most important club basketball event another shining success in the City of Light.
"At the turn of a new decade, the Euroleague is delighted to be taking one of the biggest events in the world of sports to a city that needs no introduction as a spectacular setting for great entertainment," Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. "Paris has been a cradle of great basketball in Europe for a long time and understands how to showcase our sport. We are sure the fans in France will be thrilled to see the Euroleague's finest teams compete, just as fans from around Europe and beyond will be excited to witness a one-of-a-kind event in such a unique city."
Indeed, for the first time ever, fans can already register through the Euroleague's official website, www.euroleague.net, to receive exclusive access to 2010 Final Four tickets before they are made available to the general public.
Paris joins an all-star list of Final Four host cities this decade that has included such world-class destinations as Berlin, the 2009 host, Madrid 2008, Athens 2007, Prague 2006, Moscow 2005, Tel Aviv 2004, Barcelona 2003 and Bologna 2002. Because it has no Euroleague home team, Paris will become the fourth Final Four host in the last five years to offer a neutral court for the crowning of a new Euroleague champion.
Bercy has been the scene of much European basketball history since it opened in 1984. It has hosted three previous Final Four continental club championships – in 1991, 1996 and 2001 – as well as the 1999 European Championships for national teams, numerous French League Finals and French Federation tournaments.
In addition to the games themselves, which bring the best four teams from the Euroleague season together to decide a champion, the Final Four also features the annual NIKE International Junior Tournament and other parallel events. Paris won the right to host the 2010 Final Four amid widespread interest from other major cities.