Happy 10th birthday, Eurocup! The Continent’s no. 2 club competition will tip off season no. 10 tonight with seven matches, definitely highlighted by the showdown between Tony Parker’s Asvel Villeurbanne against a Valencia Basket side bringing in a lineup which includes Victor Claver and A.J. Ogilvy – not to mention Team France’s Nando de Colo and Florent Pietrus.

Official press release on the giddy night and highlight video from last year’s Unics Kazan-Cajasol final runs below the break.

(Eurocup Basketball) – The tipoff on Tuesday of the season-opening game between Spartak and Cedevita in in St. Petersburg, Russia will mean that the Eurocup’s 10th-anniversary season has begun, too! Over that decade, thousands of basketball players from 127 different clubs have entertained more than a million fans in 27 countries across the continent. The Eurocup, originally known as the ULEB Cup, has brought elite-level basketball to arenas and audiences all overEurope and the world. As such, it has also played a major role in the continued growth of the basketball not just throughout Europe, but globally, with Eurocup teams having been home to Olympic, World, European, South American, African and Oceanic champions over the last decade.

The reach that the Eurocup has enjoyed cannot be overstated. Among the 27 countries that have competed, 17 of them have had at least three different clubs participate, which shows how the Eurocup has met its goal of broadening the talent and fan bases of the game. Similarly, some of Europe’s major national leagues have seen 10 or more teams qualify, showing that the Eurocup can also be a springboard for important basketball growth projects. Indeed, 11 of the 24 teams now competing in the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague have played at least one season in the Eurocup. The inclusive nature of the Eurocup is even greater, if possible, when it comes to the competition’s exposure on television. Eurosport, beginning its seventh season as broadcasting partner of the competitions, brings Eurocup action to more than 50 million homes in 57 countries and 17 languages.

This season, 32 teams from eight countries will vie for the honor of lifting the Eurocup’s 10th-anniversary title. The winner’s journey will last 16 games through countless hours of travel to many countries. At the end of a decade’s worth of great basketball, it will have proven to be a journey well worth the effort for clubs, players and fans alike.

“This decade of dedication to the Eurocup on the part of the clubs is evidence that our sport is always finding new and ambitious projects, markets and fan bases,” Euroleague Basketball president and CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. “The Eurocup stands for inclusiveness. Any club ready to grow and prosper in the right ways on and off the court can aspire to this elite competition, where their efforts will be rewarded.”

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