In a surprising and quite disappointing move, Vancouver has opted to pull out of hosting the Under-19 FIBA World Championships scheduled to be played July 12-22nd, sources told DraftExpress today. Citing significant additional risks
which could not be eliminated or mitigated, the Canadian Basketball Association has left FIBA to find a new host city, board of organizers and financing for supporting this not so simple endeavor. The U-19 World Championships has been described as the world's most prestigious basketball youth event.
According to sources, these risks were mostly financial, as Canada Basketball had struggled to bring in sponsorship money to cover the costs associated with hosting a tournament of this nature. TV rights in Canada were deemed effectively worthless in a country that draws mediocre ratings even for the Toronto Raptors, let alone a tournament geared towards hardcore hoops junkies and NBA scouts. Adding insult to injury, FIBA owns the International TV rights to competitions of this nature.
The hosting rights to the U-19 Championships now return to FIBA, who will reportedly announce a new destination in the next few weeks. This is the second setback the tournament has suffered, as it was initially scheduled to be held in Malaysia, but was moved due to organizational difficulties. Before picking Vancouver, FIBA also considered bids from Italy and China. Those two countries now emerge as top candidates to host the event.
Teams that will be participating at the event include the US (likely made up of a team of star American NCAA freshmen, coached by Washingtons Lorenzo Romar
), Australia, France, Spain, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Serbia & Montenegro, Brazil, Argentina, Lithuania, Nigeria, Canada, Mali, and 3 teams from Asia. It is considered a must-see tournament for NBA scouts, and the event that Andrew Bogut
used in 2003 to pave his way to becoming the #1 pick in the 2005 NBA draft after winning MVP honors over fellow first-round pick Linas Kleiza