Pre-Season 2012 is about to get underway in the NBA, with the regular season tipping off October 30th, while the Euroleague is set to begin league play next week with two games on Oct. 11. This weekend, two efforts to bridge the two leagues will have six NBA Squads and six Euroleague squads squaring off on either side of the pond to expose fans to the other league. The early season NBA vs. European teams competitions have been held since 1978 when the Washington Bullets traveled to Tel Aviv to play Maccabi Tel Aviv.
NBA Europe Live 2012 presented by BBVA
The first contest will pit the Boston Celtics, 17-time NBA Champions, and Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, five-time Turkish Champions, today (Fri., Oct. 5th) at 21:00 Istanbul time (EEST: GMT +3). They will run in the new Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, Turkey, which opened on January 25, 2012 and is owned by Fenerbahce S.K., the owners of the Fenerbahce Ulker basketball team. The arena can seat 13,000 for a basketball game and 15,000 for a concert set up.
“Returning to Europe with two storied NBA franchises for the sixth installment of the NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA is a testament to our commitment to bringing more live games and events to our fans in Europe,” said Benjamin Morel, Senior Vice President, NBA Europe. “As part of our longstanding collaboration with Euroleague Basketball and with the support of BBVA and all of our partners, fans can look forward to an exciting blend of basketball action, interactive fan events and community-based initiatives as the sport of basketball thrives across the continent.”
Game two will see the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks travel to Berlin, Germany to met Alba Berlin, eight-time German Champions at the O2 World Arena. The match-up will feature the return to Germany for 2011 NBA Finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki. The game will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6th at 20:00, Berlin time (CEST: GMT +2).
“Since 2006 both of the leading basketball competitions, Euroleague Basketball and the NBA, have been coming together to offer fans spectacular basketball and this year is no exception,” said Roser Queralto, Euroleague Basketball’s Chief Business Development Officer. “Some of the best and historic teams from the NBA will face off with some of the strongest Euroleague and European teams for some exciting preseason games to warm up for the next season.”
The Celtics pack their bags after the Fenerbahce game and travel to Milan, Italy for a contest against EA7 Emporio Armani on Sunday, Oct. 7th at 18:00 Milan Time (CEST: GMT +2). EA7 Emporio Armani has taken the Italian Championships 25-times in their storied career and will share the hardwood inside the Mediolanum Forum, a 12,000 seat arena that has been the home to Olimpia Milano (the official name of the team) since 1990.
“BBVA is happy to be bringing the excitement of the NBA to fans in Germany, Italy and Spain – and through our partner bank Garanti Bank for the game in Turkey – as part of NBA Europe Live 2012 presented by BBVA,” said Mafe Laverde, Sponsorship Director, BBVA. “By serving as the presenting partner of NBA Europe Live, we will help bring world-class basketball to the cities of Berlin, Istanbul, and Milan and through this series of games, reinforce our global sponsorship strategy. As the official bank of the NBA, we intend to provide extraordinary content to fans through our brand, promoting the values of effort, innovation, and teamwork embodied by the two best basketball leagues in the world.”
The final game of the series will see the Mavericks get their passports stamped in Spain as they travel to Barcelona to meet up with the FC Barcelona Regal, 17-time Spanish Champions. The game will be held on Tues., Oct. 9th at 21:00 Barcelona time (CEST: GMT +2) in Palau Blaugrana, a 7,585 seat arena that the team has used since 1971 with the exception of a couple of years. Palau Blaugrana was the venue for roller hockey, judo, and taekwondo at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
Euroleague Basketball American Tour 2012
While the Celtics and Mavericks are touring Europe, the Europeans are coming to North America for a four-game set of their own. One of the most recognized sporting organizations in the world, Real Madrid, will bring their 2012-13 basketball squad to the US to open up competition with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Sat., Oct. 6th at 19:00 (CST: GMT -5) at the FedEx Forum, a $250 million arena that was opened in 2004 and can seat 18,119 for a basketball game. The Grizzlies were recently saddened to learn that long-time VP of Operations Dana Davis had passed away suddenly. The Grizzlies are in their second home since joining the NBA in 1995 as the Vancouver Grizzlies, entering the league at the same time the Toronto Raptors did. It was announced on Oct. 4th, 2012, the NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning and NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway have joined a group of minority owners that had already included pop star Justin Timberlake in the sale of the Grizzlies. Real Madrid has won 30 Spanish Championships and eight Euroleague titles since their founding in 1932. The two games they will play in the US and Canada will be the fifth and sixth games they’ve played against NBA teams, they currently hold a 1-3 record dating back to the first contest in 1988 when the Boston Celtics beat them 111-94 in Madrid.
“These games will be a great experience for the team, because even if Real Madrid has played against NBA teams four times before in the clubs history, this will be the first time that we play a game in its territory, having the possibility to promote even more the Real Madrid brand outside Europe,” Mr. Juan Carlos Sánchez, Basketball Director of Real Madrid, said. “They will be two very enriching games, where, as always, we will compete at our maximum to try to win, but we will also try to contribute to a great show for all the fans to enjoy this duel between the representatives of European and American basketball.”
Also tipping on US soil Sat., Oct. 6th will be Montepaschi Siena and the San Antonio Spurs at the Spur’s home court, the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The arena can hold 18,581, was built in 2002 and cost $186 million to construct. Montepaschi Siena’s parent club Polisportiva Mens Sana, founded in 1871, claims that they started playing local basketball games shortly after James Naismith hung the peach basket up in a YMCA in Springfield, MA in 1891. It wasn’t until 1973 that they started taking their club on the road and since then they’ve filled their trophy cases with seven Italian Championships, six Italian SuperCup championships and have appeared four times in the Euroleague final four. The San Antonio Spurs have earned NBA Title Rings four times, 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.
The Real Madrid boys will cross the border into Canada for a test against the Raptors of Toronto at the Air Canada Center. The AC Center can hold 20,511 for a basketball game, was opened in 1999 and cost C$265 million to build. Toronto has had an up and down history, going from a struggling new NBA franchise in the mid-90s, to a Playoff semi-finalist in 2001, but have fallen on tough times again as they have a hard time keeping their marquee players. Most notably Vince Carter who lead the team until he was traded to New Jersey in 2004 and then Chris Bosh, who left in 2010 to play in Miami with the Heat and LeBron James. This contest will be held on Monday, Oct. 8th at 19:00 (EDT: GMT -4).
The other contest to be held on the 8th will be Montepaschi Siena heading North to Cleveland to square off with the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. The arena holds 20,562 fans for basketball games and was opened in 1992 at the cost of $100 million. The Cavaliers have won three division titles and one conference titles, but have never won the NBA Title. They had their best opportunity when they had LeBron James from 2003 through 2010, but could never get everything together. Montepaschi will tip off with the Cavs at 19:00 Cleveland time (EDT: GMT -4).
After the crossover games are complete, the NBA squads will dig into their pre-season 2012 schedule and the European teams will begin their regular season match-ups.