Representatives of nine European domestic leagues with clubs from 18 different countries together with ULEB met Euroleague Basketball executives in Barcelona on Wednesday to review the progress of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the 7DAYS EuroCup, to review access criteria to each competition for the 2019-20 season, and to hear about business initiatives to strengthen the top two competitions on the continent with a view to these being applied at the domestic league level for the benefit of more European clubs.
The attendees represented ULEB as well as United Basketball League (Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland and the Russian Federation), ABA League (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia) and domestic leagues from France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Spain.
The review highlighted continuing average attendance increases for the 11 licensed clubs in the EuroLeague and for all clubs in the EuroCup. Within that EuroCup increase, attendance soared by 20.8% in the Top 16 phase compared to last season. In the EuroLeague, ticket sales revenues continue to improve in particular for the licensed clubs, whose gate receipts have risen 7.3% through the first half of the Regular Season.
The rising revenues are attributable in part to the EuroLeague Business Operations & Club Services (BOCS) initiative put in place last season as an in-house business consultancy aimed at providing advice, expertise and mentorship to EuroLeague clubs in revenue generation areas. BOCS advises clubs on such diverse facets of running a club as premium ticket sales, business planning and digital innovation, among others. The goals of the program are to spread proven best practices by fostering a culture of sharing and transparency between clubs to build better business-oriented structures for all.
The domestic leagues and ULEB also heard about the Financial Stability & Fair Play Regulations (FSFPR) that have been in effect for four seasons now in the EuroLeague and have been approved to apply to EuroCup clubs starting in the 2021-22 season. The objective of the financial fair play system is to ensure the financial stability of the clubs and the league, protecting their long-term viability and sustainability.
Finally, the attendees also reviewed the access criteria for both competitions. As approved by the ECA Shareholders in July 2018, the EuroLeague will expand to 18 teams for the 2019-20 season. Teams from four domestic leagues will gain direct access to the competition (ABA League, German League, Spanish League and United Basketball League), joining 11 licensed clubs (Anadolu Efes Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, FC Barcelona Lassa, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, Olympiacos Piraeus, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, Real Madrid and Zalgiris Kaunas), the new EuroCup champion plus two wild cards for FC Bayern Munich of Germany and LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne of France. These teams will fill out the first 18-team round-robin competition in European club basketball history.
The proposed access for the 24 team EuroCup will feature three clubs each from the ABA League, the United Basketball League and Spain; two each from Germany, France, Italy and Turkey; one each from Greece, Lithuania and Poland, one from either Belgium, Israel or the Netherlands; plus three wild cards.
All proposals will be presented to the ECA Shareholders Executive Board and for formal approval at the next ECA Shareholders Meeting.