The Euroleague Commercial Assets Shareholders Meeting on Wednesday in Barcelona paved the way for the start of the 2013-14 season with the approval of the team list for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, of rules changes aimed at making games more dynamic and spectacular for fans, and of a forward-looking global commercial strategy.
The 2013-14 team lists features six teams from six countries making their debuts in the competition. Half of the newcomers are located in or near country capitals, with JSF Nanterre and Budivelnik Kiev making Turkish Airlines Euroleague action readily accessible to fans in the captials of France and Ukraine for the first time ever. FC Bayern Munich of Germany, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade of Serbia, Stelmet Zielona Gora of Poland and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar of Russia also join the competition in the regular season, while five of eight teams approved for the qualifying round also have the opportunity to debut in the Euroleague. The qualifying rounds will run from October 1 to 4 and the regular season tips off on Thursday, October 17.
The shareholders also approved a competition system change in which the eight Euroleague teams who do not reach the Top 16 will be integrated at mid-season into the Eurocup as members of that competition's Last 32 round. As always, the eventual Eurocup champion wins a place in the next Euroleague regular season. The shareholders also approved the 2014-15 Euroleague Country Ranking, which shows how B licences to play in the Euroleague will be allocated for that season.
Next on the meeting agenda were technical rule changes that will come into effect at the beginning of next season after approval by the shareholders. The changes include the reinstatement of jump balls to replace the alternating possession rule. Teams will still inbound the ball at the start of every quarter after the first, but with the winner of the opening tipoff getting possession to start the fourth quarter, while the other team starts the second and third quarters on offense. Additionally, the technical foul penalty will be reduced to one free throw from two, plus possession of the ball. Two technical fouls by one player in a game will now result in his disqualification.
In order to speed up the game, timeouts will be reduced in time. In the first half, each team will have one 60-second and one 30-second timeout. In the second half, they will get two 60-second and one 30-second timeout, although in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, they may use only one of each type. In the same vein, the time between quarters and before each extra period has been cut from 2 minutes to 90 seconds.
Finally, the shareholders approved plans for a global commercial strategy calling for greater determination by the clubs in the area of ticket sales, common policies on social media and the exploration of new revenue streams. The goal of the strategy is to focus more on basketball consumers, to manage resources in a more sustainable manner and to strengthen the competition's presence in dynamic markets.
"We have proven that we have a good product, as all of our stakeholders - clubs and partners - agree," Jordi Bertomeu, the Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, said. "It is time to adapt our traditional commercial methods to a more complex and difficult market situation, but at the same time realizing that this situation brings about new opportunities."
The first official act of the 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season will be held at noon in Barcelona on Thursday, July 4, with the draw to determine both the regular season groups and the bracket for the qualifying rounds, whose winner will become the 24th and final team in the competition.