Turkish Airlines EuroLeague stars filled a meeting room at Euroleague Basketball headquarters on Monday for their annual behind-the-scenes look at how the competition is organized and to have their voices heard on plans to bring more prosperity to the continent's top competition.
A total of 16 players representing all EuroLeague clubs for the upcoming 2018-19 season took time out from their summer schedules to participate in the EB Institute Annual Workshops, which aim to engage and solicit input from the competition's top protagonists on the issues that affect them most.
Euroleague Basketball executives presented the players with a detailed overview of the company structure, its joint venture with IMG, and its many business and media partnerships, all of which contribute to a basketball economy that has been consistently ascendant throughout the league's 18 seasons but nonetheless needs to adapt for the future.
"Our idea, our wish and our expectation is that we should work together," Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, told the players. "We are far from where we started, but the next steps cannot be done without more stable, solid and consistent relationships with our stakeholders, with you, the players, players being the main ones. We will go through problems, of course, and we will solve them together. But the most important thing to understand is that the future is in our hands."
Next, the players learned about the evolving audience landscape that has seen live game television viewership challenged, especially among younger fans, by on-demand content in ever-changing digital formats.
"We know that younger generations want to be the ones in the spotlight," Roser Queraltó, Euroleague Basketball's Chief Business Development Officer. "They all would like to be where you are and we are giving them the opportunity to compare themselves with what you do on the court."
The discussion that followed focused on players being able to adapt to a changing media landscape in which their engagement with fans through all the digital and social platforms available to them.
"Technology develops really quickly in the time we live now, everything is one touch," Nihad Dedovic of FC Bayern Munich said. "I think social media is really important to get closer to our fans so that the fans can feel they are part of this game."
Monday's meeting marked the fifth summer in a row that player representatives have met with Euroleague Basketball executives, and one veteran of the meetings said that with each passing season, the knowledge base of the players is growing, as is their understanding of where the EuroLeague is going and why.
"It is very important because you are getting information straight from the main guys, from Jordi and from others," Paulius Jankunas of Zalgiris Kaunas said. "We know all the news, all the future plans and all the results from the last season and that's very important. When I started to play we didn’t have meetings like this and we didn't know the situation in the EuroLeague, the situations between the clubs and everything else. And right now every summer after the season we come here and get all the information we want and get all the answers to all our questions."
The EB Institute Annual Workshops proceed this week with the collectives of both EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup coaches meeting with league executives and the officiating department, and then continue next week as the marketing, communications and business executives of Euroleague Basketball clubs join the discussions.