Following a meeting of the ECA Shareholders Board on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, a press conference featuring Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, and Shimon Mizrahi, Chairman of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, was held with members of the Israeli media. Dozens of journalists from print, digital and broadcast media attended the event, at which Mr. Bertomeu summed up the board meeting.
"This is the first time we've had a board meeting outside of Spain, probably even outside of Barcelona, and I think that it's significant that it's here in Tel Aviv," he said. "That speaks to the great cooperation we have with Maccabi Tel Aviv and even more to the legendary hospitality this club has shown us and all other European clubs. We want to express our gratitude to the Maccabi management for their help, for always being ready to host and to make others comfortable.
"Today's meeting was to analyze the business side of the league. We were working on some analytics and we are happy to see the growth of the league. When I say the growth of the league, I am not talking only about the EuroLeague as a league but altogether the league and clubs together. There is an increase of about 23 percent on the business side and that is good news from one year to another. This is a result of the implementation of the new EuroLeague system with the reduction to 16 teams, the round-robin system, and we believe this is the main reason that explains this growth. But we never feel satisfied. The data does not make us comfortable, just the opposite. The data give us the idea of how much room there is to improve our business. That is what we were discussing most of the time in our board meeting this morning.
"We were looking at each one of the pieces of our business with which we can work with clubs in the league in order to improve the club and league business overall. We were talking about not only ticket sales, digital, in-arena and gameday revenues, different initiatives that, using the EuroLeague platforms, the clubs can take advantage of their sponsors. It was a balance of plans and initiatives submitted to the board members and all of them were approved.
"I want to insist on one of the things that I think will be critical in the future, which is the implantation of this Business Operations and Club Services, which we call BOCS, which is a novelty. No other sport in Europe has this initiative. BOCS is designed to provide the clubs advising and consulting services in the business area and at the same time having the clubs' strategies align with the league strategy. Together with the clubs, we will work on ticket sales, digital, improving our game-day revenues, loyalty programs. This is an initiative that was not invented by us – we don't pretend to have invented anything – this is something the NBA did 25 years ago… It's still very active, very profitable. And we are now implementing this concept in Europe, as the first sport of this size that is implementing this initiative. We believe this will help us and our clubs improve our business practices in the next two to three years. It was a business meeting because, at the end of the day, the EuroLeague is a business-oriented league. This is our main objective. We believe that the product, our competition, is good. As always we can improve things. The expansion next year is a sign that something can be improved. We have a very good product. Now we want to make it better. That was the topic of the meeting."
Bertomeu also used the press conference to publicly present the Euroleague Basketball Legend award and a framed copy of the score sheets from the championship games of Maccabi's EuroLeague titles in 2004, 2005 and 2014 to Mizrahi. Bertomeu first surprised Mizrahi with the news that he had been chosen as a Euroleague Basketball Legend during the ECA Shareholders Board meeting earlier that morning.
"I want to thank the EuroLeague for choosing to hold this board meeting here in Tel Aviv and I very much appreciate the surprise they gave me," Mizrahi said. "It's a big day for me."