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FIBA WBC 2014 Final in Santiago Bernabeu?
Quote:[Image: bernabeu.jpg]

MADRID (2014 FIBA World Championship for Men) - Spanish Basketball Federation (FECool President José Luis Sáez would welcome the idea of having the final of the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Men played at the Estadio Santiggo Bernabéu.

Mr Sáez last week told Spanish sports daily Marca that the home of football powerhouse Real Madrid could make a great venue for the final - if the stadium gets a roof.

"If the Bernabéu had a roof, it would be a great venue for the final of the 2014 FIBA World Championship," he said after being one of a record 108,713 in attendance for the 59th NBA All-Star Game played at American Football venue Cowboys Stadium, in Texas, in mid February.

The FEB did not issue any official statement regarding Mr Sáez's comments or on the matter of the Bernabéu being considered as a potential venue for the tournament in four years time.

Spanish newspapers have reported that it is Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez's personal dream to get a roof built as part of a massive revamp of the stadium which was first built in 1947 and has a capacity of 80,354 for football games.

The successful staging of the NBA All-Star Game in a venue that was not purpose-built for basketball has re-invigorated the mentality of thinking outside the box and trying to make major sporting events big hits in environments that aren't their own.

Boxing in particular has proved successful in doing just that, holding bouts in the unfamiliar - and slightly unusual - setting of football stadiums.

Famously, the Rumble in the Jungle - which saw Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman in 1974 - was held at the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire with 60,000 strong in attendance.

Last June, Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko defeated Russian Ruslan Chagaev to successfully defend his world heavyweight titles in front of 61,000 fans at German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 FC's Veltin's Arena in Gelsenkirchen.

Back to basketball and two months earlier, a new NCAA Final Four attendance record was set when 72,922 gathered at American Football ground Ford Field to see North Carolina beat Michigan State 89-72 in the championship game on 6th April.

In an interview with FIBA last month, famed veteran Israeli journalist Noah Klieger recalled attending and reporting on numerous international basketball tournaments held in the open air back in the 1950s and 1960s.

That concept mostly vanished over the next few decades but made a welcome return in October 2008 as the NBA held its first outdoor game since 1972 at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, California.

In a pre-season game, the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns struggled with temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) and wind gusts of up to 24 kilometres per hour (15 miles), which resulted in poor shooting percentages for both teams and a low-scoring game (the Nuggets won 77-72).

However, the second edition of the outdoor exhibition game at the same venue last October was much more successful with the Golden State Warriors beating the Suns 104-101 in temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) and the wind virtually non-existent.

Taking the above examples into consideration, it is not inconceivable to expect that competitive basketball games - as opposed to exhibition ones - could be played in football stadiums in front of crowds ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 in the very near future. And the lack of a roof may not be the deal-breaker it is made out to be.

The idea is interesting indeed. Especially since it would not be a friendly game but a final and final of one of the biggest basketball tournaments. Would it be possible to sell all the tickets, especially if Spain doesn't make to the final? I think many people will buy tickets just to witness such event.

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