The first Sino-Euro Basketball Business Summit, bringing together experts to shine a spotlight on the crossroads between Europe, China, basketball and business, was held on Friday morning at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Beijing. The summit came less than a week before the 2016 Euroleague Basketball China Tour lands in that country for two much-awaited exhibition games and several more cultural exchange activities.
The tour features Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion CSKA Moscow playing against the Sichuan Blue Whales, the Chinese Basketball Association champions, on Wednesday, September 28 in Chengdu, and against the Guangdong Tigers on Friday, September 30 in Shenzhen.
The summit opened with a welcome speech by Lance Zhang, Executive Vice President of Euroleague China, who then handed the floor to Luca Scafati, Head of Business Development at Euroleague Basketball. Among the topics he discussed were Euroleague Basketball's transformation process from a new competition started in 2000 to a true league beginning this season, as well as the parallel growth of the company's business model, including recent deals with joint-venture partner IMG and with HLBN in China.
"Our main objective is to make the Euroleague a more and more appealing product, able to reach the biggest number of fans in the world and at the same time provide the means to make our league and clubs financially sustainable," Mr. Scafati said.
The relation with the CBA and the Chinese basketball clubs was another important subject.
"We have established an office in Beijing in order to strengthen our relationship with the local basketball community, the CBA and its teams, sports companies and public entities," Mr. Scafati said. "We work every day to create profitable exchanges with the local basketball community. Events like next week's exhibition games, International Coaches Clinic and One Team session, in addition to this business summit, exemplify that desire for exchange. We have seen the CBA grow rapidly in recent years in terms of attendance, audience and global recognition. We would like to learn from them how they have achieved these remarkable results and at the same time share with them our global experience."
The summit continued with a panel discussion in which keynote speakers and opinion leaders of the Chinese basketball community talked about the similarities between European and Chinese basketball, the growth success of the EuroLeague and its clubs, and how the Euroleague can be taken as an example for the development of Chinese basketball in general. Along with Mr. Scafati, the panelists were: Hou Zhenwei, manager of the Beikong Basketball Club; Shang Ping, former Panathinaikos Athens player; and Henry Li, VP of desports.
The second part of the summit has seen one the keynote speakers, Aaron Painter GM of Microsoft Business Solutions for the Greater China Region, presenting state-of-the-art digital solutions to enhance fan engagement and interaction as well as CRM software.
The 2016 Euroleague Basketball China Tour will continue on Tuesday, September 27 with the start of the three-day International Coaches Clinic, in collaboration with Giorgio Gandolfi – Sport Marketing, Events and Communication, in Chengdu. The clinic forms part of the official CBA educational program, making the presence of CBA coaches mandatory.
The clinic headliners are former FC Barcelona head coach and 2010 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion Xavi Pascual, former Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins, and former Montepaschi Siena and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan head coach Luca Banchi.