For a fourth consecutive year, Turkish Airlines EuroLeague player representatives helped plan for the new season by meeting at Euroleague Basketball headquarters in Barcelona on Tuesday to discuss topics aimed at improving the competition going forward for fans and participants alike.
Players from the EuroLeague clubs going into the 2017-18 edition of the competition reviewed with Euroleague Basketball executives the results of the recently completed 2016-17 season, which ushered in a new era that features the best teams in Europe facing all the others, a first among major sports on the continent.
The players saw reports demonstrating how audience and interest in their feats on the court exploded under the new system, with fans attending and following games at higher rates than ever. Those figures included audience jumps of 166% in digital and 32% in television, as well as 13% in arena attendance. Such growth allowed for a 56% rise in Euroleague Basketball revenues and a 50% increase in economic contributions to the clubs.
Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball's President and CEO, informed the group of plans to further integrate players, as key contributors and beneficiaries of the league, in a strengthened and regulated relationship.
"We are delighted to have a chance to explain to the players our collective objectives, to involve them in our activities and to listen to their concerns, as they are central and key to the league's success," Mr. Bertomeu said. "Their importance will only grow as the league and its clubs grow, making these conversations a cornerstone for the future, increasing the frequency and formal nature of this relationship."
Additionally, the players heard about the company's business strategy, which centers on further positioning the EuroLeague among the elite sporting products on offer in the marketplace; growing the brands of the league, the clubs, the players and the coaches; and serving the passionate existing fan base while attracting new and younger fans to basketball. Central to the discussion was the role of the players in such future strategies.
"As a young player, I can learn a lot of things in a setting like this, and I did that today," Luka Doncic of Real Madrid said. "The idea of reaching young fans through technology caught my attention because it's something I can relate to and it's very logical to focus on that for the future."
The group was advised of studies underway to determine the impact of the new competition format on players in both the EuroLeague and the 7DAYS EuroCup, one of these being a detailed report on club travel plans with the objective of ultimately improving player health.
The players were also advised of post-career opportunities offered through the Euroleague Basketball Institute's Sports Business MBA, which in its previous format has seen several ex-players receive diplomas that helped launch them into fruitful careers off the court.
"After this meeting, for me personally, this means that now I understand better the logic of this league," Milko Bjelica of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade said. "It's very important to involve players more, important for the growth of the league, and for sure, most important for the fans to watch a stronger and more interesting league."