An ambitious discussion of how to create and capitalize on new commercial opportunities in order to continue providing fans with the basketball excellence they deserve was the focus at the EuroLeague Clubs Business Meeting during the third week of the Euroleague Basketball Institute Annual Workshops.
Business representatives from all 18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague clubs held two in-person sessions together in Barcelona on Wednesday and Thursday to survey the changing sports industry landscape and harness strategies with which to thrive going forward. They and executives from Euroleague Basketball's club business services department, BOCS, in cooperation with the Corporate Partnership & Licensing and Digital Marketing departments, emphasized innovation, technology and digitization as key drivers toward growing future brand relevance, especially in the context of commercial partnerships impacted by the ongoing global pandemic.
"These meetings show that all of us have, more or less, the same challenges, the same problems, and they are a great opportunity for us to share our ideas or ways to tackle those problems," Ansgar Niggemann, Director, Marketing & Partnership for ALBA Berlin, said. "What we heard, what the EuroLeague is planning, is the best and the only way: seeing the fan in the middle of all our activities."
The use of business intelligence to transform sales and renewals within Euroleague Basketball's commercial partnership program came next on the agenda. Through such ongoing research and analysis, BOCS ultimately distributes valuable product data that clubs are using to show how basketball audiences reward both current and potential clients.
The business conversation picked up on Thursday with the help of a pair of guest speakers. Franco Segarra, Head of Digital Innovation at Valencia CF, recounted his club's digital transformation journey, with infrastructure investment and data-driven decision-making resulting in new monetization opportunities and heightened experiences for the fans.
"I like to think that data transformation is not about becoming digital, but about transforming processes and making things better, and looking at data and make better decisions based on that," Segarra said. "It doesn't have to take a lot of time. It can be quite lean, and it can also be quite cheap. It's all about how much you believe that this can make the difference."
Next, Mounir Zok, Founder and President of N3XT Sports, explained the digital transformation roadmap on which his company has partnered with Euroleague Basketball, clarifying how digital know-how helps sports and live entertainment properties adapt to new consumer behavior trends.
"Through digital transformation, you can modernize business models, create new business processes, and you can future-proof your business," Zok said. "Euroleague Basketball has understood the value that it can achieve through digital transformation and, as one of the leading sports organizations in the world, will definitely be able to generate new modern business processes for the future, for its own benefit but also for its clubs."
The three-year action plan on digital transformation not only seeks to grow business in sectors such as ticket sales and sponsorships but also strives to lift the fan experience to new heights by continually reimagining ways to inform and entertain fans wherever they may be.
"Fans are fundamental," Roberto Bottali, Head of Marketing & Sponsorship for AX Armani Exchange Milan, said. "We have to entertain them not only during the game, but before the game and after it. Our main goal is to increase our fanbase and get to younger fans because our fanbase is mature. We are exploring new platforms and ways to reach into that younger audience."
Shortly after each season ends, the EBI Annual Workshops bring executives from the EuroLeague family of clubs together with experts from the larger sports industry to identify and activate strategies that will keep Euroleague Basketball at the forefront of innovation and disruptive change well into the future.