Representatives of eight European domestic leagues whose competitions are played across 17 countries together with ULEB met Euroleague Basketball executives in Barcelona on Wednesday and discussed, among other topics, a new Euroleague Basketball proposal that will be shared with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) later this month.
The objectives behind the global calendar part of the proposal – to allow professional clubs and national federations to promote basketball in a coordinated manner, ensuring the availability of all players for national teams – were agreed to by representatives of domestic leagues in attendance from France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, the ABA Liga featuring clubs from ex-Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and the United Basketball League featuring clubs from Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia and the Russian Federation.
The guiding principles of the proposal call for national teams to play official qualification games as well as tournaments with their best players fully available during a total period of six weeks per season, which include a two-week preparation period. The proposal calls for a total club competitions period of 38 weeks, guaranteeing all players at least five weeks of complete rest from official activity each season.
The domestic league representatives agreed that the global calendar proposal should be part of a wider agreement between Euroleague Basketball and FIBA based on cooperation, respect, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities, in order for each organisation to successfully promote and grow the sport of basketball. Among the topics listed for inclusion in such an agreement are the number and management of international competitions, requirements regarding player participation with national teams, youth-to-senior pathways and financial fair play regulations.
Other subjects addressed at Wednesday's meeting included a review of the new era of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup during the first season of the joint venture between Euroleague Basketball and IMG. The review noted the upgrades in each competition that resulted in fanbase and business growth never seen previously in European professional basketball. Among the highlights were double-digit percentage increases for in-arena attendance last season for both competitions.
In the EuroLeague, there was also a 32% jump in live TV audience in the record number of 202 territories where games can be watched, plus triple-digit growth in online and digital audiences who were able to enjoy double the content produced in the previous season.
In the EuroCup, a 41% rise in online traffic was propelled by the upgrading of broadcast standards and video production in the 140 territories where the competition is broadcast, as well as the first-time availability of all games live with English-language commentary on EuroLeague.TV. Starting this season, EuroCup clubs have had media rights commercialized collectively, applying a similar model to the highly successful one of the EuroLeague.
Finally, the domestic league representatives looked ahead to next season by discussing the draft calendar and draft access criteria for the 2018-19 EuroLeague and EuroCup competitions.