The Euroleague Basketball Final Four symposium on the topic of “Sports Marketing and Communication: Three Visions of Reference” on Saturday morning was big success. Attended by dozens of members of the media, Final Four guests and students of the Masters in Sports Marketing and Communication that Euroleague Basketball has organized with the University Ca' Foscari in Venice (Italy), the traditional event at Athens Olympic Indoor Arena (OAKA) brought three experts from the field of sports marketing to share their respective strategic perspectives.
Paul Santen, Nike's regional brand manager for basketball and football in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, gave a brief overview of his company's history, talking about how Nike's “bottom up” strategy of connecting with people. “You fish where the fish are,” he said to explain why Nike feels it is just as important to connect with the people wearing their products as it is with the big-name athletes. He also spoke about the type of innovative ideas Nike uses today to remain at the top in its field, whether it be in the United States or Europe, and how the company continues to grow.
Benedikt von Dohnanyi, basketball director for Infront Sports and Media, touched on the “mix and match” that must be done when applying knowlede learned from Euroleague Basketball and American sports to the Chinese Market, as Infront helps the Chinese Basketball Association and the Chinese National team grow ahead of the 2008 Olympics. After watching the semifinals at the 2007 Euroleague Basketball Final Four in Athens, von Dohnanyi said “the way that fans engage the game is something we need to figure out in China.”
Sophie Goldschmidt, Vice President of Marketing Partnerships and Business Development NBA EMEA, spoke about the North American league's growth and its global expansion plans in the next 5-10 years, highlighting its participation in NBA Europe Live. “There were 84 international players in the NBA last season,” Goldschmidt pointed out, explaining that the league aims to make its appeal as broad as possible.
Ferran Marquez, Euroleague Basketball consultant, felt the symposium added a lot to the students of the Masters program. “I think it was really useful. After four months of learning the theories behind sports marketing, it was great for the students to have a chance to see how three of the best companies and organizations in the sports world use those theories in the field.”