Perhaps very few remember, but at the beginning of the 21st century there was a fleeting passage of a British team by the Euroleague, the London Towers. His presence did not last more than two seasons, but already hinted at the interest that the European basketball competition had for having a franchise in the United Kingdom. The project is still alive, and even recently there was a trip to the United States to survey potential investors about the creation of a franchise in London . “It’s something we work for in the medium term; it will not be this year or next, “explains Jordi Bertomeu, CEO of the tournament.
London is the main sport capital in Europe according to all the rankings, and it also represents an important market in terms of audiovisual and sponsorship. In other words, it is not an objective just because it is present in one of the most important countries of the Old Continent, but because it could be a future driver of growth of the Euroleague business, which in the last two years has doubled and already around sixty million euros .
One of the keys to this progress has been the change of format in the competition, which with its new version of the league of all against all would make any investment more sustainable. “Before we could only guarantee five games at home, but now there are 17 and with the visit of the best European basketball teams , a figure that is comparable to any strong national league and even major tournaments in the United States such as the NFL,” he recalls. Bertomeu.
The Euroleague used a commercial mission to the US to also poll potential investors to support the new franchise
The executive, in charge of the tournament since 2000, states that “now we have an interesting product, that’s why it’s time for us to start working in earnest”. In this sense, he notes that “there is a lot of American investment coming to Europe”, which is why they wanted to take advantage of their commercial mission with clubs to the North American giant to also probe potential corporations willing to create a London franchise.
The organization comes with a clear presentation, which shows that the income has doubled as well as the payments made to the clubs. In addition, the data they handle show that the teams themselves have increased their income by 32% thanks to the improvement of the product . “We are the second sports competition in the world where the average annual growth has increased the most, with an increase of 18.5%, just behind the Indian Premier League Cricket”, they argue.
This upward trend in the business would ensure that the team could be sustainable only by competing internationally, since Bertomeu assumes that “the club that played in the Euroleague in the United Kingdom could not be in a national league, because the difference in competitiveness is very high. ” The minimum budget that is currently required to compete is 5.4 million euros, although the reality is that almost all teams compete with twice or more resources. Of the total turnover, a maximum of 65% may come from the maximum shareholder, while the rest must be generated through sponsorships, ticket sales and television.
Despite the problem of basketball in the country and the particularity that would have this franchise, the manager says that “the owners of the competition, which are clubs, have understood that the UK is a strategic market for the Euroleague, but also for them” . At present, television rights in the country are in the hands of Eurosport and not Sky or BT Sport, which are the two major audiovisual players in the country, where there are no regional sponsorships either. And a team in London, would be the best letter of introduction.