Euroleague comforted by long-term deals with revenue down by a third
The early termination of the 2019-20 EuroLeague, the top European clubs basketball competition, will result in lost revenue of up to 35 per cent but the long-term deals in place with partners will help alleviate the impact over time, according to the head of the top European clubs basketball competition.
Late last month, Euroleague Basketball, led by president and chief executive Jordi Bertomeu, reluctantly took the decision to abandon the EuroLeague and second-tier EuroCup seasons, which had been suspended since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The move came with the expanded 18-team EuroLeague on course for a record campaign in terms of viewership and revenue.
Bertomeu said at the time that the organisers was in the process of calculating the impact that the abandonment would have on the business but that it was necessary in light of the variances in the development of Covid-19 and travel and quarantine restrictions, and to avoid disruption to the 2020-21 campaign.
Now, asked about the prospective revenue loss from the pandemic, the league chief told Spanish newspaper AS: “We are still analysing the impact of the pandemic but it is easier to do it with ticket sales than with sponsorships, which require individual conversations.
“The teams are doing it and also the Euroleague, which has 76 commercial partners across broadcasters and sponsors and I am very happy with their commitment because we are talking about extending our relationships, which is indicative of the strength of the project.
“In the end the global losses of the system this year will be between 30 and 35 per cent on average.”
Euroleague Basketball, which is four years into a 10-year joint venture with IMG, the international sports agency, now prioritises multi-year commercial deals and Bertomeu believes the solid relationships with partners such as DAZN, the over-the-top platform, which took on Spanish rights to the EuroLeague and EuroCup in a four-year agreement starting in 2019-20, provides mutual security.
He said: “All those who rely on live sport are suffering a lot… The advantage is that with most of our partners, as with DAZN, there are long-term contracts that allow us to see how we can help each other.”
The termination of the EuroLeague season was galling for the organisers given that the addition of Bayern Munich of Germany and LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne of France as automatic qualifiers had contributed to a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in both fan interest and television viewership, a 12 per cent rise in attendance and a projected 10.9 per cent growth in revenue compared to the 2018-19 season.
However, the organisers have pledged to support the participating teams with amended financial fair play measures and to accelerate the strategy focused on growth markets, which include Italy and the UK, as well as Germany and France.