The second week of the EB Institute Annual Workshops hit the ground running on Monday and Tuesday as club professionals in media, content, marketing and ticketing brainstormed with Euroleague Basketball executives to identify best practices in their fields with an eye towards engaging and entertaining fans in the coming 2019-20 season and beyond.
More than 20 club executives in media relations spent all day on Monday reviewing many detailed aspects of communications strategies and tools in order to enhance the EuroLeague's visibility and interactivity in the sports and entertainment landscape.
Central to the discussions was the primary role that players and coaches have as the protagonists of the competition to engage with fans and the media and how clubs can maximize those efforts for the good of the game. The attendees paid particular attention to the fast-changing nature of the media landscape, taking it as an opportunity to reach new audiences and make new fans.
"In every department, I think it's great when the Euroleague brings all the clubs together," Claudio Limardi of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan said. "We are the 18 best teams in Europe not just from a basketball standpoint, but from an organization standpoint. And the fact that we are all moving in the same direction, trying to make the model sustainable, always more fan-friendly and revenue-oriented, that's great for every department: marketing, communications, the sports side, everything. So, I think it's one of the most important times of the year.
"Everything from a communications standpoint is changing overnight. So every year while we are switching to digital communication and using new platforms, new ways of reaching the fans, the opportunity to meet people with great experience who are facing different challenges is always great. It's most of all a learning experience, even for me who has now been to eight of these meetings."
Wednesday brought an even larger number of marketing and ticketing executives from the length and breadth of Europe for day-long meetings to strategize about new campaigns and initiatives designed to give fans everywhere an even more exciting experience built around the best club basketball in Europe.
The marketing meetings revolved around rewarding loyal fans with new opportunities while also taking the EuroLeague experience to new settings beyond the traditional platforms in the arena and on television, all with the objective of inspiring the next generation of basketball lovers.
"When you take a deep look, we kind of share the same problems, and we have the same kind of understanding for the sport and the things that are important for us," Alvaro Vitores, Partnership Activation Manager for Real Madrid, said. "So it's great to share thoughts and to discuss the decisions that EuroLeague takes and actually to validate them or complain if we are not happy.
"Being able to see that we all have similar goals and to see where the market is going, and try to adapt ourselves to the future, is really interesting. It's just like in the game: if you stay still, doing the same things that you've done, next year the new guys are going to eat you. And it's the same in marketing."
In the ticketing workshop, fans were the focus again as the teams traded ideas on how to tailor their offerings of the game experience and everything that surrounds it to the entertainment needs of a wide and varied range of customers.
"Naturally, the ticketing meeting is enlightening," Oren Atar, Ticket Sales Director for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, said. "Everyone comes here and says all the good and bad things that are happening in their clubs. Every year, I hear things that I don't know, so I learn and I try to make it happen during the next season. So, eventually, if you come and you listen, if you renew your thoughts and learn, you will sell better."
The marketing and ticketing executives were poised to continue focusing on commercial themes on Wednesday at the Euroleague Basketball Sports Business Summit, a highlight of the EB Institute Annual Workshops, which bring together a broad spectrum of professionals from Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup clubs to make the game better for all stakeholders.