The Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 Has Surpassed All Expectations
Delivering a wealth of drama, engaging fans worldwide, and enhancing the player experience. These resounding achievements were underscored by FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis during a press conference on the tournament’s final day, marking the 19th installment of this prestigious event.
The World Cup unfolded across three host nations for the first time, with Jakarta, Okinawa, and Manila providing the stages for electrifying basketball action. This monumental endeavor, orchestrated amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, included the construction of two impressive venues in Jakarta and Okinawa, the renovation of the iconic Araneta Coliseum, and the spectacular Mall of Asia Arena. Notably, the Philippines Arena set a new World Cup record by accommodating an awe-inspiring crowd of 38,115 spectators.
The attendance figures for the World Cup are poised to break the 700,000 mark, with Okinawa boasting an impressive average occupancy rate of 85 percent and games in Jakarta attracting over 60 percent capacity. Final attendance numbers for games in the Philippines will be confirmed after the culmination of the tournament.
The World Cup garnered tremendous viewership, with the Japan versus Cape Verde matchup ranking as the most-watched program in the country this year, transcending sports programming to capture the audience’s attention. Remarkably, Slovenia versus Canada commanded over 40 percent market share, while South Sudan versus Puerto Rico and Lithuania versus Serbia achieved almost 35 percent and more than 25 percent market share, respectively.
Engagement across FIBA’s social media platforms reached remarkable heights, with over 10 billion impressions recorded, doubling the figures from the 2019 World Cup in China. The level of engagement also doubled, amassing a staggering 260 million interactions. Video views experienced a threefold increase, underlining the profound impact of captivating imagery in inspiring future generations to embrace the sport. During the tournament’s span, FIBA’s social media accounts attracted an additional 2 million new followers in just two and a half weeks.
The 2023 World Cup ushered in a significant advancement in player experience. Building upon the foundation laid in China in 2019, a dedicated program was instituted for the players representing the 32 participating teams. Every player enjoyed the privacy of single rooms in their respective hotels, ensuring comfort and focus.
Player lounges, supervised by former players who served as liaisons between players, teams, and organizing committees, offered players a space to relax and unwind. The input of former players extended to the design of these spaces, which featured amenities ranging from dedicated bars to barber shops in every player’s hotel.
The Players Commission Chairman, Dirk Nowitzki, personally visited player hotels in Okinawa and Manila, providing valuable feedback to FIBA and facilitating adjustments during the tournament to further enhance the player experience.
The connection between the World Cup and qualification for the 2024 Olympics added an extra layer of drama, even in the classification games. The significance of securing a direct Olympic spot or an Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) spot was keenly felt, driving intense competition and interest throughout the tournament.
FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis clarified that there are no specific rules mandating the geographical distribution of the four OQTs; the hosts must simply be one of the 24 participating teams. The Central Board will make the final determination, considering factors such as candidatures and conditions to ensure a high-quality experience for the players.
Notably, Andreas Zagklis emphasized that no prize money would be awarded to countries for their performance at the World Cup. Instead, FIBA has provided significant financial support to national federations, contributing over 80 million Swiss Francs to cover various costs over four years.
FIBA also boasts one of the most comprehensive insurance programs in sports, offering equal conditions to male and female players, as well as covering 3×3 and wheelchair basketball players. For the upcoming cycle, FIBA has budgeted over 15 million Swiss Francs exclusively for FIBA players’ insurance.
Additionally, FIBA contributed 50 thousand Swiss Francs to each federation to assist with their preparations for the 2023 World Cup. This support stemmed from the recognition of the high costs associated with preparing national teams for international competition, particularly in light of the evolving standards set by clubs, both in the NBA and FIBA leagues.
As we look forward to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027, Andreas Zagklis shared the exciting news that Qatar will host the event. Despite the expected heat, basketball enthusiasts can anticipate a fantastic experience with all the best players in the world congregating in one city, across four state-of-the-art venues.
In closing, Andreas Zagklis extended FIBA’s condolences to the Dominican Republic basketball family and the loved ones of team physiotherapist Bladimir Regaldo, who tragically passed away from a heart attack while returning home from the World Cup. He also wished Serbian forward Borisa Simanic, who underwent emergency surgery after losing a kidney during the tournament, a speedy recovery.