“Good afternoon. Thanks for coming. I want to thank the mayor for your words and hospitality, for hosting us in this unbelievable room where so much history has happened. Today is the day for the Final Four, the last and most important day of our season, a season that has been one of the most competitive ever since the creation of Euroleague Basketball 11 years ago. A season with the most countries ever, 18, where the teams have been working hard from the qualification to get here. It’s time to express our congratulations to the four teams, Panathinaikos, Montepaschi Siena, Maccabi Electra and Real Madrid. They deserve our respect. Congratulations.
“I want to stress a couple of the many accomplishments we have achieved this season. Our clubs have increased attendance by 11%, which talks of the health of the league and good work of our clubs. The introduction of the Game of the Week based on the selection of the best game with special efforts and television productions. This game has been broadcast in 120 countries every single week, something that has never happened in the history of European Basketball. This has given us an extra motive to stay with the concept of stability and for our clubs has given a reason to be more competitive and to increase the visibility and promotion of European basketball.
“The Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four has brought 16,000 fans to attend the games at the Palau Sant Jordi. The games will be broadcast to 170 countries around the world and we have 700 media accredited to see the best games of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season.
“But the Final Four is more than games. Other activities started this morning at Raval together with our players to build a new court at a school. Also we have a charity concert sponsored by Los 40 Principales to help UNICEF build a new school in Africa. Both activities are under the Euroleague for Life banner. Today we start Nike International Junior Tournament. We love this tournament. It started here in Barcelona eight years ago. But this year we have a new team. Team China is joining us. We have for the fans the Devotion Fan Zone. We have time also to help the people together with ESADE and coach Ettore Messina in the business coaching symposium. And Saturday night is for our players at the EFES Pilsener Euroleague awards ceremony.
“Thanks to Turkish Airlines for its great cooperation and commitment in our first season together. We also thanks our traditional sponsors, Nike, Sportingbet, Efes Pilsen and Mondo and the ones for this event like Jacques Lemans, Sony, Intersport and Gatorade. We have to thank our 57 broadcasters. We thank the police for their organization and of course the city of Barcelona and the B:SM company that runs this event together with us. Their experience, energy and commitment make this event what it is. We are proud to stay here in Barcelona for the Final Four, where we feel at home.
“I have to finish by expressing our gratitude to the real protagonists, the coaches and players. Thanks to them, the Euroleague is the most important basketball competition in Europe. We are trying to do our best to make your job comfortable.”