By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Greek teams learned to live the last few years basing their revenues on two pillars. Those are OPAP, the main sponsor of the league (ESAKE) which is also the state owned betting and lottery company, and ERT, the national broadcasting company which televises the league. The economic crisis, however, changed the scenery.
In its first proposal for this season’s television rights, ERT offered 1,1 million euros, which are divided to 12 teams (excluding Olympiacos and Panathinaikos), making a 50% cut compared to last year. The offer enraged the clubs and the league, they wanted more and they met with ERT’s officials again on Monday. The new offer was a little bit better, almost 1,28 million euros, and now the teams, facing huge economic deficits and old debts, are… furious.
Their point is that basketball is by far the most successful sport in Greece and it must be helped financially, specially during the country’s economic crisis, but no other television station wanted to make a bid for the league’s TV rights and it has to be noted that Olympiacos and Panathinaikos are negotiating separately their contract with ERT. The revenues of the Greek league’s television rights for the two powerhouses are also being cut, but still they are getting the lion’s share.
And now the league seems to be at a dead end. On Tuesday the season’s official presentation will be held, but the news of the day will come from the general assembly of the league and the possibility of postponing the start of the season is more than probable. Still, the question is what could change if that happened. Unless, there is a “deus ex machina”, like former coach and now deputy minister of Sports Yiannis Ioannidis…