So far, so good: FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 hosting receives high grades
Published on September 4, 2023

Record-breaking live attendance record. State-of-the-art and history-laden sports facilities. Excellent handling of the FIBA Congress Manila 2023. First class hotel accommodations and transport. Efficient bus service from hotel to playing and practice venues and back. Round-the-clock security. Memorable game experience. Comfortable VIP lounges. Colorful and vibrant entertainment numbers. Excellent broadcast coverage. Detailed organization by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and FIBA World Cup 2023 (FIBA WC 2023) Local Organizing Committee (LOC). Accommodating on-the-ground staff. Immediate resolution of every concern.

These are just some of the major qualities that earned the nod of a high-ranking FIBA official halfway through the staging of the FIBA WC 2023.

David Crocker, FIBA WC 2023 Executive Director, on Monday, September 4, gave the country’s lead hosting of the global showpiece high marks as the Final Phase, with eight teams left standing from the original 32, is all set to unravel on Tuesday, September 5, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“The [LOC] has delivered on every front. The experience of the players and the fans, which are the top priorities of the World Cup, have received only high praise. So now, we enter the quarterfinals and the pressure is greater on the teams so we need to keep delivering everything in a manner that allows them to perform at their best. And for the fans, the games have been fantastic and we have some exciting matches ahead of us,” he said.

SBP President Al Panlilio and Vice President Ricky Vargas, outside the Gilas Pilipinas dugout at the Smart Araneta Coliseum minutes before the classification game against China last Saturday, September 2, deferred much to other federation heads for assessment, but did agree that “90 percent” of the success of the FIBA WC 2023 could be attributed to a well-organized hosting.

“It’s best to get feedback from the delegates,” said Panlilio. “But from what I’ve been told, it’s all positive. From the time they stepped on the airport, all the way to the hotel, the treatment of the people, they are all smiling, very warm, and they find solutions for you. Hindi yung, ‘‘Di namin problema yan.’”

“In every event, they (delegates) approach us and say, ‘Congratulations, it was well done, Everybody happy, food is good, the program is good, the whole staging, everything, very, very happy.’”

Vargas, who likewise sidestepped questions on the country’s hosting effort – since it would be, in his words, “self- serving” – allowed, however, that “my own experience in the FIBA Congress has been excellent.”

The FIBA Congress, held August 23 and 24 and attended by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and 157 national federation delegates, unanimously voted on a new president in Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani, treasurer in Ingo Weiss, and Central Board members while naming Hamane Niang as FIBA Honorary President. A special ceremony was also held to honor SBP Chairman Emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan, who was awarded with a FIBA Order of Merit.

Gate attendance on opening day last August 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for the Philippines- Dominican Republic game went through the roof with 38,115 people confirmed, surpassing the 32,616 recorded on August 14, 1994 during the World Cup final between USA and Russia in Toronto, Canada.

Switching to smaller-capacity venues after the inaugurals had little effect on the spectator ratio.

Channel ratings of One Sports the past week increased – driven mainly by the games of Gilas Pilipinas, as basketball fans tuned in to show support in the FIBA WC 2023 campaign of the national team – with the game against Angola showing the highest performance.

Official accounts had the Big Dome in Cubao, Quezon City, where Gilas Pilipinas games were held, recording an average attendance of 6,207 through 18 games, with the crowd during the Gilas Pilipinas-Angola game peaking at 12,784.

In 20 games at the SM Mall of Asia Arena during the Group Phase, the average attendance was 6,566, with the USA-Greece showdown drawing 11,392.

For record purposes, the crowd for Italy vs Angola at the Philippine Arena was pegged at 21,214 before it swelled for the Philippines-Dominican Republic game.

Online interest in the FIBA WC has also been soaring.

As of August 30, FIBA WC 2023 has had an audience reach of 23B on traditional and social media. Audience reach sums up the projected number of people that, at the very least, viewed postings about FIBA WC 2023 on social media, as well as on news websites.

Also, as of the same date, FIBA WC 2023 has had total mentions of 334,000, with 245,000 of those total mentions coming from outside the Philippines. The total mentions are equal to the number of people that either posted or commented about FIBA WC 2023 on social media.

SBP Executive Director and Event Director for the WC 2023 Sonny Barrios said, “We in the SBP and LOC are pleased that the Group Phase was successfully completed – both from the organizational (staging) and technical (conduct of the games) points of view. We thank our basketball fans for their loyal support of the games, particularly those who braved inclement weather at times to personally witness the global spectacle in the sport of basketball that we all love. We excitedly await the Final Phase, featuring the top eight teams, as we again invite everyone to follow and cheer on the best of the best in basketball. Mabuhay!”

The Group Phases in Okinawa and Jakarta were highly successful as well.

As the tournament now enters the Final Phase in Manila, with the top eight teams competing, organizers are confident that the success of the tournament to date will carry over until the final buzzer of the championship game on September 10.