By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Eurohoops European Domestic Leagues ranking is back again and this time, strange as it seems, there’s only one change in the ladder compared to last season, proving two things.
First, we probably got it right and secondly, the status quo in most domestic leagues is stagnant, or the moves made are not really noteworthy.
This applies also to leagues that are trying to make it to the Top 10 but are not near that level yet, like BBL and BNXT League. Especially in the UK, the league is trying hard to make a push on marketing terms but with the noted exception of the London Lions, the rest of the teams don’t seem ready to make any kind of significant jump.
Once more the VTB is out since the Russian teams are still banned from every other competition, however, Zenit St. Petersburg still has a EuroLeague-level roster, and traditional European powers like CSKA, Lokomotiv, and UNICS are waiting for their return to the main stage in order to start spending again.
With that being said, there’s a significant change in the French ProA thanks to the deal with SKWEEK which extends to 2030. It has to be noted that SKWEEK belongs to FEDCOM, the owner of Monaco. Still, the way the league handled the Wembanyama phenomenon last season, left a sour taste. If that changes, then the French can make an even bigger jump.
- ACB Liga Endesa – Spain (-)
- BSL – Turkey (-)
- Lega Basket Serie A– Italy (-)
- Betclic ELITE ProA – France (-)
- easyCredit BBL -Germany (-)
- HEBA Basket League – Greece (+1)
- AdmiralBet ABA League (-1)
- Winner’s League – Israel (-)
- Betsafe LKL – Lithuania (-)
- Orlen Basket Liga – Poland (-)
1. ACB Liga Endesa
The Spanish league is practically untouchable by everyone else by any standard. With that being said, the league management must make a conscious effort to get a better price for their television rights and provide a solid stream of revenue to the teams.
Of course, this is not easy, nor news, and the league is trying to make this happen. The “product” after all is top class and you can make a case that the ACB is even better than the BCL or the EuroCup as a tournament.
Despite the financial crisis in Turkey, the league still remains a solid destination for quality players and has clubs either established in Europe like Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes, or with huge untapped potential like Galatasaray and Besiktas.
Add to the mix teams like Karsiyaka and Turk Telekom Ankara and you have a league that can still be considered as solid as it gets, despite the fact that not a long time ago the Turks were ready to challenge Spain for the top.
3. Lega Basket Serie A
Since last season Italy has emerged again after many years of questions, having two solid EuroLeague clubs in Milan and Virtus Bologna. However, the main point remains that Italy as a league in total has become attractive to good players and even “small” clubs are presenting something interesting.
It’s a far cry from the 80s and the 90s when Italy was in the run for the title of the “best domestic league” in Europe and there have been some pretty bad results in European competition by Italian teams, however, the league is a whole remains at least one step in front of their two main competitors, who follow in the ranking.
4. Betclic ELITE ProA
Kemba Walker. That name should be enough to explain why the French are hoping to get in the near future even part of the top 3 leagues – or higher – but France remains a very peculiar animal.
The main reason they keep the fourth spot is the new deal with the new streaming service Skweek, which is a breath of fresh air, especially on financial terms for a country that has already Monaco and ASVEL representing them in the EuroLeague. What France is still missing more than Italy is national interest for the sport and that’s the huge bet they have to win in order to make the next step.
On top of that, the fact that somebody in the league sold the streaming rights of last season – practically of Victor Wembanyama – to the NBA for just 133,000 euros will go down as arguably the most underrated rights sale ever.
5. easyCredit BBL
The Germans have established themselves for the second year in the Top 5 and they are also the World Champions. So why not higher? After all, Laso’s Bayern will be one of the most interesting teams of the season in Europe and Bonn won the BCL.
The explanation is quite easy. Bonn won the BCL only to lose their coach and their MVP to Paris, there’s still a lack of big names in the league with Serge Ibaka being the very notable exception, and last but not least, like in France, the national interest is debatable. Yes, the Germans are World Champions, but it’s a bit awkward to hear in the official press conference after the final that they just hope to get coverage from their national broadcasting company.
6. HEBA Basket League
Greek league is always a mixed bag, however, there are two things that pushed them just over their Balkan neighbors. This year the league ended up having just 12 teams since both clubs promoted from the second division were not ready for the jump. The league compensated for that in the schedule by adding play-ins for the playoffs and playouts for the relegation.
This might end up being a blessing in disguise (or not). What nobody can’t deny however is the fact that Panathinaikos went nuts this summer and suddenly you have two potential EuroLeague title contenders again fighting for supremacy.
7. AdmiralBet ABA
The talent of the area is undeniable, and the interest too, while both Partizan and Crvena Zvezda are aiming high this year with both teams having EuroLeague Final Four ambitions. But ABA lost a spot first because the Greek league thanks to the new version of Panathinaikos is really intriguing and also because, at the bottom of this 14-club league, there are huge financial issues.
To be exact, just months after the news of Cibona having a new – foreign – ownership, the historic club which was home to legendary Drazen Petrovic, faced the danger of bankruptcy and starts the season having a roster of just seven adult players.
8. Winner’s League
Israel has some great clubs, but not a good league. The league practically waits for Maccabi Tel Aviv to set the tone, Hapoel Jerusalem tries to follow, and there are good US import players for most of the rest of the clubs. However, since this is Maccabi‘s country and throughout the years there have been very few challengers, realistically you can’t expect Israel to get better than the 8th spot, unless one of the better leagues in bigger countries or with more top-level clubs, somehow collapse.
9. Betsafe LKL
Pretty much the situation is the same for Lithuania. This is the only country in the list in which basketball is clearly the no.1 sport, but it’s also a country of less than three million population.
Plus, like in the case of Maccabi, the league is a one-horse race for Zalgiris Kaunas with very rare exceptions.
10. Orlen Basket Liga
Poland sneaked into the list because VTB is out, as the sport is still riding the wave of the recent successes of the national team. On the other hand, neither Slask Wroclaw nor Legia Warszaw managed to rise to the occasion of playing in European competitions last year.
However, compared to the other domestic leagues, they still belong in the Top 10.