The first week of EB Institute Annual Workshops continued with the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague head coaches sitting down with Euroleague Basketball executives on Tuesday and Wednesday to talk through goals and strategies for making the competition even more attractive to fans in the future.
The meeting strengthened an 18-year tradition of including the top echelon of the coaching profession at the center of planning and decision-making on issues that affect the quality of the basketball played on the court and the year-round connection between fans and their heroes.
In a five-hour meeting on Tuesday, the head coaches heard first from Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, about three key points: EuroLeague club finances; the competition’s business strategy, including the critical challenge to grow a younger fan base; and Euroleague Basketball’s need to have a stronger and more formal relationship with the coaches.
"The growth of our business is your growth, and in this sense we are in a partnership," Mr. Bertomeu said. "It's not only about sharing information; it's about working together."
With that in mind, coaches were presented next with an overview of the financial information about the competition, including the economic distribution to the clubs and a summary of EuroLeague club budgets.
"We all have to listen to the people that dedicate their time to think about the competition's future and collaborate as much as we can," Xavi Pascual, head coach of Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens, said. "As main characters, we can always have our vision and contribute to what we all want: to reach better audiences and better sponsors, leading to a better business and a better product."
On the subject of business strategy, the coaches also reviewed how the competition is performing in the entertainment marketplace, with special emphasis on understanding how younger fans consume basketball and the imperative to meet their needs going forward.
"It is important that coaches know what is going on around the system, the schedule, everything," Ergin Ataman, head coach of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, said.
On Wednesday morning, the head coaches returned to spend the full day with the Euroleague Basketball Officiating Department to review together, firstly, all the on-court situations that make games more clear and dynamic for the participants and for the fans.
"It is equally important for our referees as for the head coaches to bring our mutual knowledge of evolving practices and standards on the court to the same table and agree together on how to make the game clearer and more entertaining for the fans," Richard Stokes, Euroleague Basketball’s Senior Director of Officiating, said.
In addition to an overview of rule changes coming into effect for next season, the coaches and officiating department discussed officiating standards and interpretations in order to be on the same page about what situations are points of emphasis for next season. Additionally, they discussed ways to enhance communications between players, coaches and referees as the on-court protagonists of each and every game.
"The EuroLeague is a competition in which the coaches' point of view has always been very important," Pedro Martinez of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz said. "In that sense, getting to talk to the officiating department is good for us, in order to get to know what the officiating director has in mind and also for them to know our points of view. We are there every day and, of course, we have an opinion to share."