On Wednesday in Istanbul, Euroleague Basketball marked its 15th anniversary by thanking all clubs, leagues, partners and fans for their support and commitment through the years. ECA Board and ECA Shareholders meetings this week was held in Istanbul. A decade and a half later, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague has multiplied by many times its fan base, media exposure and economic growth as it looks forward to a future full of optimism and high expectations.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Temel Kotil, Turkish Airlines Vice-Chairman & CEO said, "Thank you very much for having the 15th anniversary of the Euroleague in Istanbul. Also, all the best for the next 15 years. Also thanks to Fenerbahce for being in the Final Four. I personally pray for all the teams, for their success, but I will pray extra for Fenerbahce. Life is based on competition. Some type of competition, like in Africa between lions and gazelles, is a different one. But the best competition is in sports. When I am watching the Euroleague or other sports activity, I feel like the guys who are playing have wireless communication by heart, you know? And through this, it's bringing us the best between the winners of these games.
"As an airline business, we are very similar. And our teams, when they are serving on the plane, they only worry about the feeling of the passengers. They are our boss and we approach them that way. So we're seeing here that sports and the airline business are very similar. In this way we are honored to sponsor for five years until now the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and in the coming five years we continue, from today until 2020."
İrfan Önal, Director General of Promotion, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism said, "Tourism, culture and sports have a common element and a unique interaction. The synergy between them contributes to the interaction of different communities and enables them to understand each other more clearly, and that's what creates a more peaceful world. The Turkish Airlines Euroleague is definitely the most visible international platform to combine these three concepts and to present Turkey as an international brand. We are more than glad to become a part of this cooperation and to enhance this relationship further in the future."
Mr. Zeljko Obradovic, Head Coach, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul said, "Hello everybody. It's great have all of you in our house. It's a good thing to celebrate the past, but I also think that the future is a thing to consider. I came here because they told me that all the games would be full of fans and I am very happy because it does happen in all Euroleague games. As a coach I believe in a very simple thing: you must give opportunities to young people, to young players, to play basketball. To make everything we can for them to become good players but also to make everything in our hands to keep them here. I know that competing against the NBA is very difficult, but this should be something very important for us. So the future is very simple: work hard from our side, and don't forget that the most important part of this organization are our players. Thank you."
Mr. Theodoros Papaloukas, Euroleague Basketball Legend said, "It's important to have partners this size that can help you improve, and also the clubs who are trying to increase the level of the game. Basketball is changing every day, improving, getting better, and that's why we understand the commitment of the fans. You can tell by the numbers, that people are getting the Euroleague a little more, and that's very important because that's making something different. The future will be difficult for everybody, but that makes it more interesting. It will be a goal to make more people come closer to this, because it is a really good project. I wish that we go on for many years, because I know that people are working very hard and trying to do their best. They are fighting every day for this. And now, nine days before the Final Four, which is the biggest event in Europe, everybody will be ready and everybody will be there to try to bring the glory back home. I wish everything will go well, and that the Euroleague will have more successful years. Maybe in another 15 years we will talk about the example of the Euroleague."