The association hopes that their World Cup is no longer seen as the second one, losing to FIFA'S World Cup
It is difficult to compete, for any sport that celebrates a world championship of its specialty, against the one of Soccer that FIFA organizes. That was understood by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which sacrificed 2018, the year in which it had to hold its tournament, to reprogram the qualifiers by geographical areas, and dispute the championship next year in China, far from the fever produced by soccer. The plan is to return to the traditional format every four years, but without coinciding with the maximum event of FIFA.
Leer en español: Mundial de Baloncesto China 2019: ¿Será la nueva era de la FIBA?
At first glance, the decision seems logical and positive. Therefore, we want to review the details that will result in this change of year for the Basketball World Cup and the new allocation of qualifiers by geographical regions. The first thing that must be said is that, at the level of advertising and marketing, the World Basketball Championship always lagged behind of football, that is because FIBA's tournaments overlapped with FIFA's, being a terrible disadvantage.
As a fan of the Giants Sport, I remember another point against the main tournament of the FIBA national team, and it was the date on which it was celebrated. The Basketball World Cup was usually played a month after the soccer tournament, which historically has been played in June and July, while it was traditionally held in August and September. The effervescence drops markedly the months after the World Cup, even with the same activities related to football, and with more reason, the same would happen with basketball or any other specialty.
You may be interested in reading: Know the changes of the FIBA 2019 basketball world championship
The changes and their effects
Previously, the FIBA in its eliminatory (gave quotas to the maximum tournament) with events that were called pre-world and held just the year before the World Cup in each of the geographical areas attached to the aforementioned association, with a country serving as headquarters for every continent. For the Olympic Games, the same thing was done but with the difference that the name given to these contests was Pre-Olympic.
Although, the events of nations that are celebrated in short space of time usually generate greater interest, it is not less certain that this system by groups to parties of roundtrip (respecting the geographic zones) very similar to the qualifiers of the soccer world cup, generate greater parity because all nations have more time to make the necessary adjustments for the next game and be more competitive. It is also a way that small countries with little history such as the Virgin Islands in the American zone, for example, can host several parties and thus extend the reach of basketball.
In the case of Latin America, selections such as Brazil or Puerto Rico, with Olympic and world tradition, still do not ensure their presence in the edition of China 2019 in the absence of two days, while others like Canada or Venezuela, are very close to achieving it. There is excitement until the last moment and I repeat, it motivates greater parity because it gives more opportunities to nations that are not power. Protected in these two points of view, a resounding success.
What remains to be evaluated has to do with the World Cup as such, which will be developed in a nation that is power and exports talents in this sport as is China. Only in 2019 we will know if the commercialization of the tournament will have fewer obstacles than when it was the same year as the World Cup, but everything points to yes, because it is usually a 'dead' year in the soccer of nations, only with the celebration of the Copa America, which has little impact on the rest of the planet.
In terms of fans, it is necessary to remember that it will not be a year of Olympic Games, another contest that generates a mobilization that can overshadow world championships of other sports disciplines. The success to generate interest in the fans and expand the spectrum of basketball can reach in the medium term with these changes, especially for the edition of 2023. For now, it seems a wise and smart decision not to compete with the 'monster' of FIFA. Something similar did baseball with the World Classic, and it did better. Although in this case, it is an invitational tournament that does not dispute previous eliminations. My opinion is that it will work.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from: 'Mundial de Baloncesto China 2019: ¿Será la nueva era de la FIBA?'
* Writer's opinion does not represent this newspaper
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