Europe Cup is a competition that FIBA started in 2015 to replace what was known as FIBA EuroChallenge.
It is often overlooked by basketball fans (if their favourite team is not participating in this competition) as it’s only the fourth-tier level competition in the European basketball landscape and the gap in quality between this competition and the EuroLeague or even the EuroCup and Basketball Champions League is huge. Some fans consider that FIBA should merge the Europe Cup with BCL or eliminate this competition from the calendar as there are too many continental cups.
But the FIBA Europe Cup still represents interest for many teams around the continent and the 2023-24 season is arguably the strongest in recent history. One of the reasons is the presence of teams from the ACB league, the strongest domestic league in Europe. In previous seasons Spanish teams refused to play in the FIBA Europe Cup even with their presence in the group stage guaranteed. But now Bilbao and Zaragoza are both playing in the competition. Many other teams from other strong domestic leagues like the Italian Lega Basket (Brindisi and Varese), Germany’s BBL (Chemnitz, Rostock, Gottingen) or Turkey’s Super Lig (Bahcesehir, Manisa) are also present, just like last season’s champions Anwil Wloclawek are here to defend their title.
It might not be the competition with the best teams from Europe, but it offers a chance for teams that finished in a good position in their domestic league but couldn’t qualify for the BCL to play in a continental competition. Also, for the fans of some mid-level teams from Spain or Italy, this is a great chance to see their favourite teams compete for a title. No matter what this competition is growing every year and this is a piece of good news for all the basketball fans.
Photo credit: FIBA Europe Cup