Basketball Champions League changes knockout stage format
The knockout stages of the Basketball Champions League will change this upcoming season.
As opposed to a two-legged round of 16 and quarter-finals, the Basketball Champions League knockout stage will consist of a “best of three” series in the upcoming season. The changes come after heavy criticism was placed on the two-legged knockout stage format with many teams calling it an “unjust” system.
Previously, after the 32-team group stages, the top four teams from the four groups advanced to the round of 16. There, a two-legged playoff took place with the team scoring the most points over the two legs advancing to the next round. Thus, some games ended in ties and the margins of victory played a significant role on the overall outcome of the two matches. The quarter-finals followed the same format.
For example, AEK played to a draw against Strasbourg in 2018, a result that was enough for the Enosis to qualify for the next round due to their overall point total. Last season, when AEK and PAOK met in the round of 16, PAOK defeated AEK in Athens in the second leg, however due to AEK’s high margin of victory in the first game, PAOK’s win was not enough against their Dikefaloi counterparts.
However, that is now in the past and in the fourth edition of the competition, both the round of 16 and the quarter-finals will consist of a “best of three” series. The margin of victory will no longer play a role and games will not end in ties. The first team to reach three wins will advance to the next round. The clubs with a higher seed from the group stages will have home court advantage in the series.
This new system is expected to increase the competitiveness of the Champions League, increase the fans’ interest, and boost revenue (TV, advertisers, ticket sales, etc).
The regular season, consisting of 32 teams separated into four groups of eight teams, will remain the same along with the Final-4. The Final-4 will be hosted by one of the four teams involved and will consist of a single game knockout.
Greece will have three representatives this year’s Basketball Champions League including AEK, Peristeri, and PAOK. All three Greek clubs have earned an automatic ticket to the regular season and will not have to play in the qualifying rounds.