FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, and the East Asia Super League have signed a 10-year agreement for a champions league in Asia starting in October 2021.
In the past three years, EASL has hosted four competitions involving clubs from Japan, China, South Korea, the Philippines and Chinese Taipei. The Terrific 12 event in Macau last September featured 12 top-of-the-table teams from East Asia, including four B-League teams.
It attracted 117 million viewers worldwide, and if this new tournament is an official FIBA event instead of a preseason competition, it’s likely to create a lot of excitement.
FIBA Secretary-General Andreas Zagris has made it clear that EASL’s contribution to improving the level of basketball in East Asia has been endorsed and that FIBA’s strategy for international club competition will be pursued together.
“We are confident that we will grow with top teams from Japan, Greater China, South Korea and the Philippines to be one of the three major basketball competitions in the world by 2025,” EASL CEO Matt Beyer said.
The meaning of “three in the world” would be to aim to be next to the NBA and Euroleague. Eight teams from East Asia are expected to take part in the 2021-22 season and the following 2022-23 season.
Teams will compete in home-and-away group stages that have been incorporated into the regular season of each country and play semifinals and finals in February.
It also aims to expand the number of participating teams to 16 by 2023. It should not be trivial to set up an international competition in a situation where the new coronavirus infection spreads worldwide, but there is definitely a need. There are many basketball fans in East Asian countries and the Philippines, and the market is also large. Its popularity should increase further as the exchanges between Asia progresses.