Don't worry, it'll be okay
From the outside, it doesn't look like the Greek capital is hosting the Final Four which begins tomorrow.
ATHENS - From the outside, it doesn't look like the Greek capital is hosting the Final Four which begins tomorrow. There are no billboards advertising this weekend's tournament, and there is barely any mention of it on television.
Most of the city's residents are interested in another event that will take place there soon - the Champions League soccer final.
Even so, there's no doubt that all 18,000 seats in Athens' Olympic indoor stadium will be filled tomorrow, mostly with fans of Panathinaikos.
CSKA Moscow promised to fly in 200 fans, but it's questionable whether that will come to fruition.
Spain's Tau Ceramica, as usual, will suffice with 500 to 700 fans. And the other Spanish entry, Malaga, is not expected to be supported by more than 1,000 fans in the team's first Final Four appearance in history.
Euroleague basketball officials have lost some sleep over the Greeks' organizational skills in preparation for the tournament. It certainly doesn't remind them of Tel Aviv in 2004 or Prague in 2006.
"They're driving us crazy," complain two young Israeli Euroleague employees. "Everything is done at a slow pace, but not like the Spanish siesta but more like that in the eastern Mediterranean basin. 'Don't worry, it'll be okay.'"
The sight of Greek volunteers running around in a non-air-conditioned tent in 32-degree weather, and arguing with journalists is also not doing much for the health of Euroleague officials, including the media relations director, Diego Fernandes.
"I hope everything will work itself out in the last moment," Fernandes says with a smile. "Lots of effort and resources have been invested."
For the time being, the reality appears to be different.