Euroleague Basketball is pleased to announce that Livio Proli, president of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, is the Gianluigi Porelli Euroleague Executive of the Year for the 2013-14 season. Mr. Proli was voted as this season's award recipient by his peers in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. In five seasons as club president, Mr. Proli has played a central role in EA7 Emporio Armani Milan returning to the forefront of European basketball in terms of results on the basketball floor and commercial growth as evidenced by the club doubling its attendance for Euroleague games last season. Mr. Proli also worked in great cooperation with Euroleague Basketball as the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague took place his team's home arena, Mediolanum Forum in Milan.
Mr. Proli is an accomplished businessman, who worked for Giorgio Armani as CEO and general manager of the Simint S.p.A in Modena. When Mr. Armani became involved in the Olimpia Milano basketball club with Armani Jeans as its main sponsor in 2004, Mr. Proli became a member of the club's board. He took over as team president in 2008 and on January 1, 2010 was named general manager of Giorgio Armani S.p.A.
Under Mr. Proli’s leadership, EA7 Milan was awarded a Euroleague A-license and twice represented Euroleague Basketball by hosting exhibitions in the NBA Global Games. He has seen the Armani Junior Program has grown to more than 70 clubs. Last season EA7 Emporio Armani enjoyed its greatest season in a generation by winning the Italian League for the first time since 1996 and reaching the Euroleague playoffs, too.
EA7 Milan's ongoing commitment to bringing back one of basketball's most historic cities back to an elite level of competitiveness found success in big measures last season. The team captured the imagination of fans in Milan and beyond with an exciting, seven-game winning streak in the second half of the Top 16 in which EA7 Milan defeated such storied opponents as Panathinaikos Athens, Olympiacos Pireaus, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul and FC Barcelona. It was the first club to defeat then-defending champion Olympiacos all season and also broke Barcelona's record 23-game Top 16 winning streak. Those two victories came by an average of 29 points helped propel EA7 Milan to its first appearance in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs this century, consummating the club's reborn ambition to honor its great basketball tradition.
Going hand in hand with the team's on-court success, EA7 Milan made huge strides in arena attendance under Mr. Proli. The club's investment in ticketing strategies paid off handsomely last season, when attendance at Mediolanum Forum during Euroleague games skyrocketed to 8,804 fans per game, a 150% increase over the previous season. EA7 Milan sold out six of its 15 home games last season and reported a total attendance of 123,255 fans. Its ranking among Euroleague teams for attendance jumped from 23rd to 11th last season.
Additionally, EA7 Milan has established itself as one of the most active clubs in Euroleague Basketball's corporate social responsibility programme, One Team. The EA7 Milan One Team programme is dedicated to two projects, one benefitting a group of adults from the Comunità Nuova rehabilitation program for drug and alcohol abusers in conflict with the law, the other addressing the growing issue of teen vandalism and "baby gangs" in Italy through the Armani Junior Program, which focuses on 8- to 13-year old students from high-crime neighborhoods. With ongoing One Team sessions all year long, EA7 Milan One Team programme uses the power of basketball to foster the values of honesty, commitment, respect for others, teamwork and courage among its beneficiaries.
The Gianluigi Porelli Euroleague Executive of the Year award is one of the competition’s two annual post-season honors along with the Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy. The award recognizes those who make their efforts off the court and sometimes behind the scenes to build the clubs of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague into success stories both in basketball results, marketing achievements and community involvement. Mr. Porelli, who served as president of Virtus Bologna for over two decades, was among the founders of ULEB and later its president. He passed away in 2009.