Media relations and marketing main focus of annual EBI Workshops

Off-court pros from around the Turkish Airlines Euroleague became the protagonists in the second week of the Euroleague Basketball Institute Annual Workshops as they came together to discuss best practices in their various fields and how to put them into action going forward into the 2015-16 season.

Executives in ticketing, marketing and media relations got down to business in extended meetings with their Euroleague Basketball counterparts to focus on the common goal of bringing more fans to the competition by enhancing the Euroleague experience for all.The ticketing experts started early Monday on the first day of two days’ worth of discussion that they had in Barcelona to concentrate on filling Turkish Airlines Euroleague arenas by giving fans a variety of reasons to attend games.

Their fourth annual meeting was notable for the fact that the 18 participants were all ticketing directors, fulfilling one of the original goals of Euroleague Basketball’s ticketing programme, namely to bring dedicated professionals in packaging and selling tickets to all clubs.

“It’s a question of sharing experiences, the positive practices of other clubs and the fundamentals of ticketing,” Jose Emilio Bas, Ticket Sales Director for Real Madrid, said. “It helps us all to see all the initiatives clubs are making and to see that ticketing is very important for the sustainability of the competition and the revenue balance of the clubs.”

Working hand-in-hand with the organization to increase attendance and revenues, the efforts of the clubs resulted in the second-highest average attendance in Euroleague history this season. The next goal of the programme is to help Euroleague clubs achieve ticketing income levels that are, percentage-wise, in line with the top pro sports leagues around the world and thereby diversify the revenue streams of the clubs.

While the ticketing directors met in one part of town, the marketing directors from their clubs sat down at Euroleague Basketball headquarters to figure out ways to better serve the competition’s growing audience with products and experiences that capitalize on the devotion of fans to their teams and to top level of European basketball. The strategies they discussed centered on the digital entertainment of fans, the retail and licensing of official products, and the in-arena experience offered to paying customers at games.

“To meet one-on-one with our colleagues from the marketing departments of all the teams in the Euroleague is important for all of us to upgrade what we do,” Filip Santurlic, Marketing Director of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, said. “From our side, we get some new ideas from being here together, part of the same project, plus we hear about the standards and new things that the Euroleague needs us to launch and execute for the coming season. The communication between all sides is important for everybody. On the court, we fight against each other, but off the court, we need to be united and have the same aims and goals. It’s crucial.”

Last but not least, Euroleague media directors hit town on Tuesday to talk with company specialists about using all the platforms at their disposal to serve the existing fan bases of their clubs and to better spread the message of the competition’s excitement to new and different constituencies. Their conversation ranged from social media to television to websites and sponsorship in search of proven and innovative means to deliver the most vivid basketball entertainment to fans. The media directors also enjoyed an hour-long discussion with UEFA’s Chief of Communications and Media, Pedro Pinto, to find out what is best practice in football regarding communication strategy and engaging fans through different media platforms and outlets.

“We get to hear experiences of what the other teams go through. You see that you may have the same problems and issues, and you learn new ways to solve things,” Defne Patir, Communications Director for Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, said. “At the same time, you get to talk to Euroleague Basketball people and tell them things that you go through with your clubs that maybe they can help you solve. It’s always a learning experience. You learn about new technologies, new products and things like that, which makes these meetings very beneficial.”

The fourth annual EBI Annual Workshops prepared the ground for the start of the new season due to be formalized on Wednesday when the ECA Shareholders Meeting is held in Barcelona on the eve of the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague and Eurocup draws, due to be broadcast live on starting at noon local time on Thursday.

Source: Euroleague