Board reviews company and competitions performance, agrees EuroLeague expansion date
On Thursday, Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA) Shareholders Executive Board members met in Madrid, Spain to review the latest progress of the organization, the EuroLeague competition and take key decisions for the future. The meeting was held at Ciudad Real Madrid – the club’s recently inaugurated elite practice facility.
Euroleague Basketball President & CEO, Mr. Jordi Bertomeu opened the session by providing the club representatives with a report and update on different topics including the EuroLeague competition, its expansion, improvements to the Bylaws and Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens.
Attendees to the meeting were informed about progress on a number of initiatives that were agreed amongst the clubs in the 2017 Owners Meeting and subsequent ECA Shareholder Meeting as part of the defined five-year strategic plan. The update included progress in big data, EuroLeague Business Operations and Club Services, technology & fan engagement, as well as evolved sponsorship platform projects.
Mr. Bertomeu confirmed the positive trend in turnstile attendance as already experienced after the completion of the first season in the round-robin league format, highlighted by a new in-arena attendance increase of 4.4%, with an average of 8,462 fans attending every Regular Season game resulting in 75.8% arena capacity.
Financial Stability & Fair Play Regulations (FSFPR) were applied from 2015-16 onwards to strengthen the financial balance and stability of clubs and to ensure fair competition amongst them.Clubs agreed to further analyse different proposals to modify and strengthen the existing FSFPR, raising the minimum club budget in line with the 35% increase over the past three-years in club budgets to €5.4m; performing a comprehensive study on the affect that national income tax levels have on player salaries club to club; establishing elements to objectively set the market value of sponsorship compared to shareholder contributions.
EuroLeague expansion opportunities were discussed with the Executive Board Members agreeing to incorporate two additional clubs in the 2019-20 season for a total of 18, with Germany and France the previously defined priority markets. In Germany, it was agreed that FC Bayern Munich will receive an associate wild card for two seasons, while in France Euroleague Basketball will continue working with ASVEL Villeurbanne to ensure compliance with the proposed minimum commitments, with a view to granting an associate wild card for two seasons.
Attendees discussed proposed changes to the 2018-19 Bylaws.
The Board also reviewed the recent public statements made by Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens’ owner, Mr. Dimitris Giannakopoulos, including the dossier he recently shared with numerous media outlets across Europe. All clubs present with the only exception of Panathinaikos, unanimously and strongly agreed that such statements are of the highest severity and cause damage to the EuroLeague – the competition property of the ECA Shareholders, with these condemning Mr. Giannakopoulos’ behaviour, requesting him to stop his public statements immediately. Clubs unequivocally reminded Panathinaikos and its owner about the existing internal processes that must be followed to express any discrepancies or questions, as have been repeatedly defined and approved by all the Shareholders, including Panathinaikos. All Clubs also expressed their ultimate respect towards Panathinaikos as a historic and iconic institution in European club basketball and sports, and a fellow ECA Shareholder. Mr. Giannakopoulos requested the other ECA Shareholders present to instruct the Euroleague Basketball CEO to amnesty the arena prohibition sanction that is currently in place. The clubs unanimously rejected this request, after which Mr. Giannakopoulos unfortunately left the meeting prior to its conclusion.
All the discussed topics will be submitted to the next ECA Shareholders Meeting for formal approval.