The 2018-19 season was special for many Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup teams on the court, but every single one of them found success off the court by making sure that One Team, the social responsibility program of Euroleague Basketball, continues turning the power of basketball into a force for positive change.
The One Team programs conducted by the 40 teams between the two competitions affected the lives of more than 1,000 participants over the past year alone. One Team salutes all of the teams for their work to achieve real social impact in their communities and now that the season has concluded the time has come to highlight the best programs from 2018-19.
The programs conducted by Anadolu Efes Istanbul, Arka Gdynia, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, FC Barcelona, Tofas Bursa and Unicaja Malaga have been chosen as finalists for the third edition of the One Team Awards. The winners of the One Team Gold Program, One Team Silver Program and One Team Bronze Program will be announced in September during the ninth One Team Annual Workshop.
"We had yet another season of great programs delivered by our 40 clubs. The involvement of team managers, coaches and players has been outstanding, and all of them deserve special recognition for their commitment to One Team," Roser Queralto, Euroleague Basketball Chief Business Development Officer, said. "They all deserve awards. However, there are some programs that stand out from the rest thanks to some innovative initiatives – whether in content, communication or partnerships – to further evolve their work with those in need in their communities."
thinkBeyond, global experts in providing consultancy and strategy delivery to sports teams and leagues that want to exceed their business goals and ignite positive social change, was once again involved in the judging process, which assessed basic One Team criteria like program planning and delivery, marketing and communications activities, and the involvement of ambassadors and commercial partners.
Unicaja Malaga, last season's One Team Gold Program, is again a finalist for its participation in the Down Malaga program. Down Malaga was founded 20 years ago by a group of parents whose children have Down Syndrome. The program featured 14 young people, aged 15 to 25, who were taught life skills through specially designed basketball drills during eight sessions. Unicaja’s program set a new standard by making use of its sponsors and showing how activating its marketing and partnerships increases the value of One Team. Moreover, Unicaja piloted an innovative and brilliant funding structure, which we hope every club will use as a model.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul is a finalist for the third year running for its work with Special Olympics Turkey. Focused on 20 participants aged 15 to 22 years old, the project encouraged the social inclusion of intellectually disabled people and contributed to their personal development through basketball. Efes took an already strong program and made valuable adaptations to see it continue to grow. One area where this program truly shined was in its communication strategy. Overall, Efes ran a well-structured program that the club clearly put a lot of thought into and made good use of volunteers, demonstrating how to overcome a lack of resources.
In its first year in the One Team program, Arka Gdynia joined forces with the City Hall of Gdynia as a social partner to create a new program helping a group of 10 wheelchair users aged from 12 to 21. Their success is a great example of what is possible for a first-year program. Arka involved club sponsors and doubled its impact by using players from its U12 team at all sessions as volunteers. The program promoted the life skills that are relevant to their beneficiary group and also showed how the power of the club can be used to increase community sensitivity and awareness of a potentially excluded group
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan teamed with Laureus Sport For Good Italia to work with 20 10-year-old boys and girls from the Primaria Baroni school in Gratosoglio, a Milan suburb where people from different backgrounds live at risk of social exclusion. This program showed that different kinds of local partnerships can co-exist and identified life skills that are relevant to different groups. The partnership with Laureus benefitted all involved from a communications standpoint in particular. Results from this program were excellent with a number of children telling stories in the end about how it made positive changes in their lives.
FC Barcelona and its Foundation began a new One Team program this season in partnership with a juvenile correction facility, Quatre Camins Centre Penitenciari de Joves. The program included 20 male participants between ages 18 and 24 who participated in the program on a weekly basis from October to June. Barcelona delivered fantastic supporting information, helping the participants understand what One Team is all about. Moreover, the use of a female coach in an incredibly tough setting was a success.
The Tofas Bursa program was organized with Renk Autism, a non-governmental organization committed to serve, help, reintegrate and guide families with autism and related intellectual and developmental disorders. Thirty-six participants aged 8 to 29 took part in the program. Renk Autism trained 12 volunteer coaches to run the sessions and apply the relevant life skills. The participants then met with children from The New Generation Tofas to work on social integration with basketball as a tool. The program welcomed the involvement of participants’ families in the session and received fantastic support from Tofas’s One Team Ambassadors, Berkan Durmaz and David Rivers.