SINGAPORE — Another first for Singapore as the prestigious FIBA Intercontinental Cup is set to enter a new chapter of its long history in 2023, after FIBA and Sport Singapore agreed to a three-year partnership that expands the event to also involve Asia for the first time and better reflects the modern club basketball landscape.
The Singapore Sports Hub is destined to become the first-ever venue in Asia to host the FIBA Intercontinental Cup as it will provide the stage for the 33rd edition of the tournament, from 21-24 September 2023. The competition will be played later in the year so as to adapt more efficiently to the domestic and continental leagues’ calendar, and the schedule of international players, and to better accommodate participating clubs.
“This agreement serves both as the realization of a basketball dream that dates back generations as well as a launchpad into the future era of global club basketball. Singapore, as a melting pot of cultures, is perhaps the ideal place to bring that vision to life,” said FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis.
“The first edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in 1966 was an inspired event conceived by visionaries. They envisioned a competition that would assist in uniting different cultures through basketball but only dared to dream that one day the event would develop to the point where clubs from all corners of the globe compete in it,” added Zagklis.
The participating teams will be increased from four to six teams, with the additional Chinese club to be jointly selected by FIBA and the Chinese Basketball Association. The four teams representing the same four continental leagues as in the past two editions will remain the same, while the sixth participant will be announced by FIBA at a later date.
The four teams representing their continental leagues will include the champions from the 2023 Basketball Africa League, a professional league featuring the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries operated in partnership between FIBA and the NBA. The other two teams will be the champions of the European Basketball Champions League 2022-2023 and the champions of the Basketball Champions League Americas 2022-2023. The only confirmed team for this year’s FIBA Intercontinental Cup is the NBA G League Ignite, a developmental team that was founded in 2020 to prepare top prospects for the NBA Draft.
“The FIBA Intercontinental Cup is an important showcase for top club teams from outside the NBA and reflects the strength of professional basketball leagues around the world. We’re excited that NBA G League Ignite and the champions of the upcoming third season of the Basketball Africa League will be represented at this year’s tournament in Singapore, where we recently opened an office and where there is growing affinity for the game,” said NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum.
The announcement of Singapore hosting the FIBA Intercontinental Cup coincides with the hosting of the FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup 2023 at the end of the month. Sport Singapore deputy chief executive officer Toh Boon Yi shared that he is pleased that Singapore is able to showcase its ability to host such a world-class sporting event and further advance the interest of the sport to the locals.
“Building on the success of the FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup 2022, which will return for another edition this month, we are happy to host the FIBA Intercontinental Cup that will treat fans here to world-class high-impact basketball action. Ranked top five in our annual National Sports Participation Survey, basketball has always been a popular sport among Singaporeans. The FIBA Intercontinental Cup will further enhance the interest and inspire more people, especially the youth to play and watch the sport,” shared Toh.
“Come September 2023, Singapore will once again showcase its capability and innovation to the international sporting community as we welcome athletes, officials and fans from around the world. FIBA Intercontinental Cup will be an important addition to our events portfolio that advances our nation’s sporting, social and economic aspirations,” added Toh.
Spanish club Lenovo Tenerife are the current trophy holders after winning the 32nd edition of the competition, in which they competed as Basketball Champions League 2021-22 winners. That was the second event in a row which featured the champions of continental leagues from four different world regions. Real Madrid remains the most decorated club in competition history, having conquered the trophy on five occasions.
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