Communications, marketing and ticketing specialists from around the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague came together for Week 2 of the EB Institute Annual Workshops by spending Monday and Tuesday brainstorming together to generate ideas aimed at enhancing the fan experience, sponsor services and business outcomes for the upcoming 2018-19 season and beyond.
"We know we have more and different challenges, this inevitably comes together with the growth we are having. We know your job goes to a higher level of sophistication each year," Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, said. "With the fragmentation of the platforms and the audience, we need to adapt ourselves constantly. This is the main goal, to evolve, innovate and think strategically about how to share and be aligned in our work, integrating our players and coaches in this process."
Media directors from all 16 clubs took the stage on Monday to focus their efforts on serving both traditional and new media with the kind of content and access to players and coaches that ultimately raises the engagement level of existing fans and introduces new ones to the EuroLeague.
"It is the biggest priority for us to make new fans," Apostolos Liogkas, Press Officer for Panathinaikos Athens, said. "To do that, for sure it's very important to look at what happens in new technology, but I think it’s also very important for us to communicate here in the same room with each other, which makes this a very valuable meeting."
The media directors also devoted considerable discussion to meeting the needs of younger fans whose consumption of basketball is more fragmented than traditional, but who, at the same time, yearn for closer contact with the game's protagonists on and off the court.
"Players are the real stars of this show, the heroes!" Oiane Domaika, Media Director at Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, said. "Social media can help fans be a part of their club. It goes the same with players, too. Fans can see how a player is off the court, not just his baskets and actions on the court. That has an added value in the eyes of his fans."
In a similar vein, EuroLeague marketing directors convened all day on Tuesday to trade ideas about building synergy between the competition, its sponsors and the fans, while simultaneously launching campaigns that cross over to new audiences through creativity and thinking outside the box.
"Every year, we have something new to discuss and something new to present," Nikos Leponiotis, Chief Marketing Officer at Olympiacos Piraeus, said. "It shows that the EuroLeague is improving and the clubs are always trying to find new ways to upgrade the league, the product and the business, creating value and increasing the money that we create and allocate to the teams."
"We are glad to be here and understand EuroLeague brand strategy and match it to ours," Gokce Dayi, Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager, Anadolu Efes Istanbul. "I think that is how we improve the business. I always listen and try to understand in that way. This is a marketing directors' meeting, but it is a business meeting. So, we think that we will improve our business mind, business visions, and implement these visions to our basketball business."
Also on Tuesday, the ticketing managers from around the EuroLeague met separately to perfect the live experience that any fan who takes a seat in their arenas receive. Through personalized ticket options and value-added enticements, the ticket managers seek exactly what both clubs and fans want – a packed arena that delivers the second-to-none game atmosphere that the EuroLeague is known for.
"The annual pre-season EuroLeague Ticketing Directors Meeting helps teams understand each other's challenges, solutions and even innovations," Egemen Erguden, Ticket Sales Director of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul, said. "Sharing ideas among the elite professionals in the sports industry is always very rewarding and translates into more sustainable business for the future."
All three groups were aided in their planning by Euroleague Basketball executives and special guests who briefed them about new and ongoing initiatives aimed at strengthening the fan-club-league relationship by bringing all three closer together on a regular basis.
"This two-way communication is hugely important. It isn't about us dictating to you," Ross Clarke, Executive Producer for Euroleague Basketball at IMG, told the media directors. "We need feedback from you about what works in your markets and for your clubs. We all want more people watching and everything we do has to be about getting bigger and better."
Among the working themes over the 48 hours of meetings related to the challenges of putting fans at the center of the conversation about the EuroLeague, whether in the arena during games, in special events on the streets in their cities, or on social media round the clock.