Three Euroleague Basketball clubs have been honored for their outstanding efforts off the court by being presented with the annual Devotion Marketing Awards.
The announcement of the winners was a highlight of the Euroleague Basketball Business Summit, which took place in Barcelona on Wednesday and allowed top executives from Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup clubs to exchange ideas and gain valuable insights from sports industry professionals.
To enter the Devotion Marketing Awards, clubs were invited to present a marketing initiative they had carried out during the 2018-19 season in areas such as digital strategy, sponsorship activation, brand development, ticketing and game presentation.
In first place, the Gold Award winner was Zalgiris Kaunas for its campaign to attract fans to attend their first games ever at Zalgirio Arena. Called #ZalgirisVirgin (or #ManoPirmas in Lithuanian), the project started with a focus group discussion to pinpoint the reasons why fans were not going to watch games live. The results were then analyzed, and a "first-timer package" was developed, giving new fans a scarf, a booklet with fan chants and a diploma, signed by the team's head coach, Sarunas Jasikevicius, to record their first visit to a home game.
"First of all, on behalf of Zalgiris Kaunas, I want to thank all the clubs and the EuroLeague for evaluating #ZalgirisVirgin as the best campaign of the season," Akvile Dagilyte, Communications Director for Zalgiris Kaunas, said. "Secondly, I want to thank our existing fans who liked the idea and worked hard all season to find other people who had never been to a Zalgiris game and kept pushing them to come. We still have much work to do next season, as well. Finally, it's amazing to work in an evolving club and be a part of the professional, ambitious and creative team working here, which makes projects like this happen."
Just as in last season's action on the court, second place was taken by Anadolu Efes Istanbul with its #WhereIStand project, which saw the Turkish club aim to become the center of attraction independent of sporting results. The overall brand identity restructuring strategy placed fans at the heart of the Efes community, converting game days into unforgettable events and helping achieve a significant increase in ticket sales. A new logo release, the launch of mini-documentary series involving the club's ex-players and coaches, and the development of a new merchandising strategy were among some of the steps taken towards that new brand identity.
The bronze award winner was FC Bayern Munich, which submitted its entry in the category of Brand Development & Corporate Social Responsibility, with a campaign following the motto: "A world like a court with a society like a team." Bayern developed a project called FCBB HELPSIDE, giving their various social activities a stage to increasingly involve fans, partners and all residents of Munich.
Congratulations to the winning clubs, and to all the others who submitted outstanding entries!