By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
While the debate for the FIBA Windows remains open in Europe, the home game of Sweden against Turkey proved that the idea behind the qualifying games during the season could work on every level.
While it’s true that top talent is missing, in total, 11,390 Swedish fans filled the stands of the Globe Arena in Stockholm and witnesses the win of their national team against Turkey.
Yes, Turkey was not at full strength; however, Sweden celebrated one of its biggest wins in the international stage in front of their crowd and turned heads all around Europe. The reaction of Jonas Jerebko on twitter needs no further explanation.
Swedish basketball making strides! LOVE to c all these passionate fans show up and help bring turkey down! ????? https://t.co/ldOygX4CMI
— Jonas Jerebko (@JonasJerebko) February 25, 2020
Despite their issues, the windows can work and can create a push for basketball in countries where the sport is not having yet a dominant position.
This game was a prime example of this ability in a country where the local basketball league was established in 1992, and the biggest arena available for league games has a 3.500 capacity.
However, a national team game against a powerhouse like Turkey has motivated fans that usually don’t show up in basketball games to be on the stands.
How big of a difference-maker was the national team game for the interest of Swedish fans? Djurgardens, which represents Stockholm in the local basketball league, holds its league games in a 500-seat gym.
It’s evident that the windows still need modifications and yet have problems to solve, which were well documented in Europe since last year.
But on the other hand, the Swedish example plus – as FIBA announced – eleven out of the 32 games being sold out and an occupancy rate of 81 percent, are proving that there’s a strong audience for national team games during the season, at least in the countries where basketball is trying to become mainstream.
And if the top EuroLeague and NBA talents were available, then the basketball growth would have been phenomenal.