The image is from Wikipedia Commons
|Other club(s) from||Andorra|
|Number of teams||18|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||LEB Oro|
|Domestic cup(s)||Copa del Rey|
|Supercup||Supercopa de España|
|Current champions||Real Madrid (35th title)
|Most championships||Real Madrid (35 titles)|
The Liga ACB,[N 1] known as Liga Endesa[N 2] for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional basketball division of the Spanish basketball league system. Administrated by the Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto (ACB), Liga ACB is contested by 18 teams, with the two lowest-placed teams relegated to the LEB Oro and replaced by the top team in that division plus the winner of the playoffs.
A total of 49 teams have competed in Liga ACB since its inception. Seven teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 35 times and FC Barcelona 18 times. Real Madrid dominated the championship from the 1950s through the 1970s when was organized by the Spanish Basketball Federation. From the 1980s onwards when the ACB took control over the league, FC Barcelona (15 titles) and Real Madrid (12 titles) both dominated, though Liga ACB also saw other champions, including Baskonia, Joventut Badalona, Baloncesto Málaga, Bàsquet Manresa, and Valencia Basket. In more recent years, Baskonia has joined a coalition of now three teams dominating Liga ACB alongside Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
Liga ACB is one of the most popular professional indoor sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 6,236 for league matches in the 2018–19 season. This is the ninth-highest of any domestic professional indoor sports league in the world and the fourth-highest of any professional basketball league in the world, behind the National Basketball Association, the EuroLeague, and the Women's National Basketball Association.
The competition format follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a season, which lasts from October to May, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 34 games. Teams receive one point for a win, and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, with the eight highest-ranked clubs at the end of the season plays the playoffs and the winner of the playoffs is crowned champion.
Promotion and relegation
A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Liga ACB and the LEB Oro. The two lowest placed teams in Liga ACB are relegated to the LEB Oro, and the top team from the LEB Oro promoted to Liga ACB, with an additional club promoted after a series of playoffs involving the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth placed clubs. Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history:
|Period (in years)||No. of clubs|
Until 2012, in the 29 editions played of the Liga ACB, only three teams declined promotion, due to acting as reserve teams or for lack of funds: CB Guadalajara and CB Cornellà in 1993 and CB Cajabilbao in 1994.
Since 2012, due to the financial crisis that started in 2008, only two teams (Canarias and Andorra) of a possible 10 could promote to Liga ACB. This started a discussion about the promotion requirements of the ACB, considered by the LEB Oro clubs as "disproportionate".
For clubs that promote and would make their debut in the ACB demands:
- An arena with a minimum capacity of 5,000 seats.
- An inbound of €3m. For clubs that return to the league after a promotion, an update of the inbound is demanded.
- A deposit of €1.7m that would be returned in case of relegation to LEB Oro. In case of a new promotion, this deposit is required to be restored.
- Conversion into a Sociedad Anónima Deportiva if the club remains in Liga ACB after its first season.
In 2012, Iberostar Canarias and Menorca Bàsquet achieved promotion to ACB, but neither could fulfill the requirements in order to promote. However, Canarias finally played in ACB after buying the berth in the league of Lucentum Alicante, previously sold to the association.
In 2014 and 2015, CB Tizona, also Ford Burgos by sponsorship reasons, did not promote despite achieving the place two years in a row. After its second failed promotion, the third in the city of Burgos, the club sued the Association any accused them of "distorting the reality". Also in 2015, despite having played in the league during the 1980s and 1990s, Club Ourense Baloncesto was not admitted in the league despite fulfilling all the requirements, after not passing an accounts audit. However, ACB would admit Ourense for the 2016–17 season if it fulfilled the requirements regardless of their position in the 2015–16 LEB Oro season.
On 24 April 2016, the National Commission of the Markets and the Competence argued that the inbound impedes, in an "unjustified, disproportionate and discriminatory" way, access of new clubs to Liga ACB.
On June 2016, the two promoted teams from LEB Oro (Palencia and Melilla) resigned promotion to the 2016–17 ACB season and requested to the ACB their sign-in before the 2017–18 season. However, as Gipuzkoa Basket, who finished in relegation positions in three of the last four seasons, resigned from ACB, the Association offered again its place to Palencia and Melilla under these conditions:
- An arena with a minimum capacity of 5,000 seats.
- An inbound of €2m. The second million delayed on the dates agreed between the club and ACB.
- A deposit of €1,6m that would be returned in case of relegation to LEB Oro. In case of a new promotion, this deposit is required to be restored.
- Conversion into a Sociedad Anónima Deportiva before the start of their second season in Liga ACB.
In April 2017, the National Commission for Markets and Competition declared the entering inbound and the deposit for the regulation of promotions and relegations as illegal, as they consider it "unjustified, discriminatory and excessive" and imposed a fine of €400,000 to the ACB. Subsequently, the ACB replied that it would appeal the decision of the CNMC, contending that it infringed on the self-organizing capacity of professional leagues, as recognized in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in the European jurisprudence, and which was unprecedented in Europe and in the rest of the world.
In May 2017, the ACB ratified to file a contentious-administrative appeal and request for precautionary measures before the National Court, on the occasion of the resolution of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), as well as to refuse any resolution or decision, present or future, which relates to that act. Also, the ACB approved to establish a negotiation plan with the CSD and the FEB regarding the number of participating teams and the conditions to access to the competition in the next seasons.
In June 2017, the ACB agreed not to require the promotion requirements that have been the subject of the resolution (entering inbound and the deposit for the regulation of promotions and relegations) and the participation fee. Also, the ACB agreed to continue negotiations with the CSD, the FEB and the CNMC to try to establish by mutual agreement new conditions for promotion. In view of the possibility of reaching an agreement that establishes economic and financial requirements in a consensual way before July 5, the Assembly has agreed to establish two new access criteria, provided that there is no pronouncement of the National Court on the precautionary measures regarding the resolution of the National Court, nor agreement with the different bodies that replace it. These conditions were:
- A deposit of €1.9m that would be returned in case of relegation to LEB Oro, guaranteeing at least the value contributed by the clubs in their moment of promotion.
- A minimum budget (for all clubs) of €2.3m to play in the league.
On 10 July 2017, the ACB ratified the agreement with the FEB endorsed by the CSD, to change the conditions to make them easier for promoted teams from LEB Oro. The ACB had also reached a principle of agreement with FEB and CSD regarding a reduction of competition to 16 clubs in 2019 and the model of promotions and relegations in the coming seasons. However, this text has not obtained the necessary support of the clubs in the General Assembly and has not been approved, agreeing to continue the negotiations to find the model of competition appropriate to the interests of the teams overall. These new conditions consist of:
- A deposit of €1.6 million, to pay in four season, that would be returned in case of relegation to LEB Oro, guaranteeing at least the value contributed by the clubs in their moment of promotion.
- A minimum budget (for all clubs) of €2 million to play in the league.
Ten days later and two years after the denounce of CB Tizona, Gipuzkoa Basket and CB Miraflores, also from Burgos, were promoted to Liga ACB. These were the first promotions since the one of Andorra in 2014. Also, Miraflores became the first team to make its debut in ACB since 2009.
Ranking of clubs on equal points
If points are equal between two or more clubs, the rules are:
- If all clubs involved have played each other twice:
- If the tie is between two clubs, then the tie is broken using the point difference for the two matches those clubs have played against each other
- If the tie is between more than two clubs, then the tie is broken using the games the clubs have played against each other:
- a) head-to-head wins
- b) head-to-head point difference
- c) head-to-head points scored
- If two legged games between all clubs involved have not been played, or the tie is not broken by the rules above, it is broken using:
- a) total point difference
- b) total points scored
- If the tie is still not broken, a new tiebreak process is initiated with only those teams that remain tied.
Qualifying for European competitions
The top teams in Liga ACB qualify for the EuroCup. The three highest-placed teams, apart from EuroLeague clubs, play in the EuroCup. In addition, the other clubs are free to participate in the Basketball Champions League regardless of their sporting merits.
The first basketball league in Spain was the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto, organised by the Spanish Basketball Federation, whose first edition was played in 1957 by six teams from Madrid and the province of Barcelona.
Until 1983 it continued being organised by the federation and consisting in only a Round-robin tournament, where every teams faced all other twice, one at home and one away, with two points per win and one point in case of a draw.
In 1982, the Spanish Basketball Clubs Association was founded and one year later took the helm of the organisation of the league, with several changes in the competition format as they introduced the playoffs and the overtimes in case of draw.
Titles by club
As Liga ACB is officially considered as the continuation of the defunct Liga Nacional, both competitions are considered in this table. In 60 years of history of the Spanish basketball league, only seven clubs lifted the trophy at least once.
|Real Madrid||35||12||1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019|
|Barcelona||18||21||1959, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014|
|Joventut||4||10||1967, 1978, 1991, 1992|
|Baskonia||3||5||2002, 2008, 2010|
All-time Liga ACB table
|47||Ciudad de Huelva||1||39||11||28||–||–||–||–||–||1997–98||1997–98||17|
League or status at 2019–20 season:
|2019–20 ACB season|
|2019–20 LEB Oro season|
|2019–20 LEB Plata season|
|2019–20 Liga EBA season|
|Clubs that no longer exist|
- ACB Most Valuable Player Award
- ACB Finals Most Valuable Player Award
- ACB Best Young Player Award
- All-ACB Team
- ACB Player of the Month Award
- ACB Best Coach
- AEEB Coach of the Year
- ACB contests
ACB statistical leaders
Liga ACB all-time scoring leaders
Player nationality set by the player's national team affiliation. In bold, active players. In gold, players with more than 6,000 points, considered by the ACB as historic players.
Stats through end of 2018–19 ACB season:
|4.||Juan Carlos Navarro||689||8,318||12.07|
Liga ACB all-time rebounding leaders
Player nationality set by the player's national team affiliation. In bold, active players. In gold, players with more than 2,500 rebounds, considered by the ACB as historic players.
Stats through the end of the 2018–19 ACB season:
|5.||Juan Antonio Orenga||616||2,933||4.77|
- Most Points in a game
- Most Field Goals Made in a game
- Most Three Point Field Goals Made in a game
- Most Free Throws Made in a game
- Most Rebounds in a game
- Most Assists in a game
- Most Steals in a game
- Most Blocks in a game
- Prolific Scorers
- Players with 20 rebounds games
- 12 games: Arvydas Sabonis (9 RS, 3 PO).
- 4 games: Jerome Lane (4 RS)
- 3 games: Tanoka Beard (3 RS) and Ken Johnson (3 RS).
- 2 games: Clarence Kea (2 RS), Warren Kidd (2 RS), Terry White (2 RS) and Claude Riley (2 RS).
- 1 game: Fernando Romay (1 PO), Felipe Reyes (1 RS), Granger Hall (1 RS), Clyde Myers (1 RS) and Greg Foster (1 PO).
- Double-Doubles (d-d)
- All-time RS: 205 by Granger Hall in 387 games, 137 by Arvydas Sabonis in 189 games, 119 by Claude Riley in 278 games, 116 by Larry Micheaux in 235 games, 100 by Tanoka Beard in 168 games
- All-time PO: 37 by Arvydas Sabonis in 46 games, 22 by Granger Hall in 46 games, 20 by Larry Micheaux in 33 games
- Most d-d in a single RS: 33 by Tanoka Beard, 1997–98
- Most d-d in a single PO: 11 by Arvydas Sabonis, 1992–93 & 1993–94
- RS games streak recording a d-d: 17 by Arvydas Sabonis, 1989–90
- Luka Dončić with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on 9 May 2018
- Fran Vázquez with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 blocks on 7 January 2007
- Dejan Tomašević with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, Pamesa Valencia vs Unicaja Málaga on 12 May 2004
- George Singleton with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks on 12 February 1994
- Nacho Suárez with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists on stage 13 1990–91; and 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists on stage 19 1990–91
- Mike Smith with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals on 21 October 1989
- Most Points in a game
- Fewest Points in a game
- Largest Margin of Victory in a game
- Victory with fewest points
Since several years ago, the Liga ACB is the European domestic league with the highest average attendance, always surpassing the 6,000 spectators per game since the 2002–03 season.
All averages include playoffs games.
|Season||Total gate||Games||Average||Change||High avg.||Team||Low avg.||Team|
|1995–96||1,984,706||409||4,853||6,757||Estudiantes Argentaria||3,400||Xacobeo 99 Ourense|
|1996–97||1,692,188||341||4,962||+2.2%||6,517||Estudiantes Argentaria||3,357||Baloncesto Fuenlabrada|
|1997–98||1,703,784||341||4,996||+0.1%||7,784||Pamesa Valencia||2,826||Ourense Xacobeo 99|
|1998–99||1,753,105||331||5,296||+6.0%||8,050||Pamesa Cerámica||3,414||Real Madrid Teka|
|1999–2000||1,766,883||335||5,274||–0.0%||8,603||Pamesa Valencia||3,607||Cantabria Lobos|
|2000–01||1,705,898||331||5,154||–3.0%||8,425||Unicaja||3,159||Club Ourense Baloncesto|
|2001–02||1,933,425||332||5,824||+13.0%||12,018||Adecco Estudiantes||3,385||Canarias Telecom|
|2002–03||2,009,153||332||6,052||+3.9%||11,171||Adecco Estudiantes||3,735||Cáceres CB|
|2003–04||2,045,619||335||6,106||+0.9%||11,176||Adecco Estudiantes||3,424||Polaris World Murcia|
|2004–05||2,203,588||336||6,558||+7.4%||11,055||Adecco Estudiantes||3,903||Unelco Tenerife|
|2006–07||2,254,576||336||6,710||+6.9%||9,727||Real Madrid||4,528||Akasvayu Girona|
|2007–08||2,088,989||323||6,467||–3.6%||9,641||MMT Estudiantes||4,184||Akasvayu Girona|
|2008–09||2,073,773||292||7,102||+9.8%||9,090||TAU Cerámica||4,858||Ricoh Manresa|
|2009–10||2,135,484||326||6,551||–7.8%||9,765||Bizkaia Bilbao Basket||4,194||CB Murcia|
|2010–11||2,018,072||324||6,409||–2.2%||9,345||Asefa Estudiantes||4,200||Meridiano Alicante|
|2011–12||2,171,673||329||6,621||+3.3%||10,412||Asefa Estudiantes||4,424||Assignia Manresa|
|2013–14||2,213,116||329||6,202||–2.0%||9,242||Real Madrid||3,515||CB Valladolid|
|2014–15||2,091,134||328||6,375||+2.7%||9,406||Real Madrid||3,599||MoraBanc Andorra|
|2017–18||2,101,755||327||6,427||–0.4%||10,194||Kirolbet Baskonia||3,169||Delteco GBC|
|2018–19||2,026,760||325||6,236||–3.0%||9,316||San Pablo Burgos||3,283||Delteco GBC|
Historic average attendances
All averages include playoffs games.
Individual game highest attendance
Spanish clubs in international competitions
|Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3|
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