What promises to be a magical week in a special city got started with the promise of glory on Monday as the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions trophy landed in Istanbul, where it will stay until being raised on Sunday night by the winner of the 2016-17 season!
A bit of pomp and circumstance marked the arrival as President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu led a Euroleague Basketball contingent that landed at Istanbul Ataturk Airport in a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague-branded airplane and was greeted on the tarmac by Mr. Ilker Ayci, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines.
The leaders of Europe's premier basketball competition and the company that has been its title sponsor since 2011 posed with the trophy, which four of the most prestigious clubs in sports – CSKA Moscow, Fenerbahce Istanbul, Olympiacos Piraeus and Real Madrid – will battle for this weekend at the Sinan Erdem Dome in the Turkish metropolis.
"We are very happy to be back in Istanbul after our successful 2012 Final Four experience here. Basketball has seen outstanding growth in Turkey in recent years, and this week, once again, fans here will witness the best players on the continent playing for the title of EuroLeague champion," Bertomeu said. "I would especially like to thank Turkish Airlines and Mr. Ayci for the warm welcome we have received and all the support they have shown as an integral part of bringing the Final Four back to Istanbul."
Turkish Airlines will continue to play a central role in the festivities all weekend long, including at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague FanZone at Marmara Forum and as host of the 2016-17 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Awards Ceremony on Saturday night.
"It is a great pleasure to witness again a new Final Four, the final phase that millions of basketball fans around the world are waiting for," Mr. Ayci said. "We are very proud to receive this cup at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Turkish Airlines' home, one more time. A trophy that will recognize the efforts of these four basketball teams, who have demonstrated their commitment to sport, teamwork, responsibility and perseverance for these past months."