Prior to the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague opening game on Monday, October 17, members of the Euroleague Commercial Assets board and shareholders both met to discuss the outlook for the upcoming season and to review plans for enhancing European basketball competitions in the future. Members unanimously approved the strategic plan for the 2012-15 seasons, which seeks to resize the number of participants in European club competitions, opening them up to all European countries meeting the minimum requirements, and solidifying their pyramid structure. The proposal would limit European club competitions to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, with 24 teams, and the Eurocup, with 48 teams. As the limitations approved affect Eurocup qualifying rounds and by consequence FIBA Europe, Euroleague Basketball will formulate solutions to dialogue with FIBA Europe.
The objective of the changes approved is to increase the stability of consolidated club projects and to ensure elite competition by including the best clubs from the highest-ranked countries in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. At the same time, the plan seeks to extend the European club competitions calendar and to avoid the coincidence of Turkish Airlines Euroleague game days with other elite sporting competitions.
Members also discussed adaptations to the competition system, including fixing the participation of eight teams in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. The regular season would continue to have four groups of six teams with a round-robin format lasting 10 weeks, but the Top 16 would be changed to two groups of eight teams each and last 14 weeks. The best-of-five playoffs and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four would remain as they are now.
The proposal would maintain the current licensing distribution, with the sole modification of reserving one additional B license for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague as a long-term wild card. The plan would also restrict the number of licenses per country to a maximum of four in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, with a transition period for those countries affected.
Next, the clubs approved a new proposal for the competition's economic distribution, more directly linked to the economic results of the company. The proposal forecasted profit representing 4.5% of total revenues for the 2011-12 season, as well as an increase in revenues of 6% coming from sponsorship agreements and television-related income that has helped consolidate the company's balance sheet with a high level of liquidity.
Additionally, the clubs were presented first with comparative data over ten years that showed arena capacity increasing from 12.5% of clubs with over 10,000-seat venues in 2000-01 to 45% last season, while the Final Four experienced a seven-fold increase in gate revenues, double the arena attendance and 2.6 times the media accreditations. Altogether, the board and shareholders heard that competition revenues quadrupled over the last 10 years.
Members then heard the strategic action plan for the next three years that includes an increased communications and promotion of the brand, upcoming commercial marketing objectives, a status review of developments in key markets such as China, and the new social responsibility program "One Team". The clubs were reminded, too, of changes in the refereeing criteria with regards to behavior on court as communicated at the recent coaches meeting in Istanbul. To conclude the assembly, and in accordance to the agreement reached in the first Euroleague Commercial Assets assembly in Rome in 2009, FC Barcelona will substitute Real Madrid as a member of the Euroleague Commercial Assets board.