New investors with high ambitions buy Cibona

2023-05-02T14:22:21+00:00 2023-05-02T16:40:50+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

02/May/23 14:22

Croatian club Cibona will try to return to old glories under the management of a new consortium of international investors

By Eurohoops team/

As per the official press release, Croatia’s basketball club, KK Cibona, has been taken over by a consortium of international investors.

The club from Zagreb had financial issues for years and was far away from its star-studded history and prior status as an international basketball powerhouse. The new management wants to return Cibona to its former glory.

Development plans for new investors include investing in young Croatian basketball talents, paying off creditors, and revitalizing the Dražen Petrović Arena and its surroundings in Zagreb’s Lower Town district.

Per the press relase: The pride of Croatian basketball, KK Cibona (short for Košarkaški Klub Cibona), today announced the transfer of the club’s management to a carefully appointed executive team. Cibona’s new consortium of international investors plans to turn the club around and, in doing so, revive the former giant to shine a spotlight on European basketball. 

Despite its star-studded history and prior status as an international basketball powerhouse, Cibona’s performance has been impacted by poor management and financial challenges in the past decade. Since it welcomed its new investors, the club has successfully addressed some of its key financial woes, including regaining credibility amongst public and private investors. The new management is in the process of developing Cibona into a modern sports brand, with the aim of establishing local, regional, and, finally, global recognition. 

“A Croatian proverb goes, a wolf changes his hair, but never his temperament, and that is true for Cibona. The club continues to carry weight and significance in professional basketball and draws strong support from fans. It has talented, professional players who will thrive under the right conditions. The hunt is on, and we are gearing up to write a brand-new chapter in the Cibona story,” shares Cibona’s CEO, Tomislav Seric. 

With the investors’ support of Cibona, this new era also promises success beyond the court. Cibona’s plans to revitalize the neighborhood around the Dražen Petrović Arena, known to locals as the “Cibona Arena,” will bring in more business, life, and activity to Zagreb’s Lower Town district. These development plans align with the city’s projected growth, which is spurred on by increased investor interest in Croatia, one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies and top travel destinations. 

For Cibona’s new investors, European sports and sports entertainment present unprecedented growth opportunities. “As the region continues producing star players, European and global interest in basketball will continue to grow. Combined with the infrastructure, audience value, and the sport’s as-yet untapped potential in the region, investment in European basketball makes perfect sense,” explains Brian Lu, Partner at Headline Asia and President of the Cibona Assembly.

Both Euroleague and FIBA have recorded a significant increase in fan interest for the sport. In 2022, FIBA’s EuroBasket saw a two-fold increase in digital viewership compared to its last edition. With the sport’s growing popularity, the investors expect a corresponding increase in competition and valuations in the marketplace by media partners and brand sponsors. 

To see sustained growth in the sport’s popularity, Cibona is also committed to making continuous strategic investments in system infrastructure and grassroots. This includes investing in and nurturing young Croatian basketball talents through the Cibona Academy. “The club has produced several NBA stars, including Dražen Petrović, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Ivica Zubac, in the past. We are aiming to bring back the tradition of producing some of the best players in professional basketball,” says Sanjay Reddy, General Partner of Unlock Ventures and a new Assembly member. 

In the next months, Cibona will focus on building a formidable team for the upcoming season, while its investors are centering their efforts on building the club’s treasury to secure a long-term lease of the Dražen Petrović Arena. With these plans in place, Cibona is expected to once again take up its position as one of Europe’s greatest basketball clubs,” as per an official press release.

Photo: ABA League/Cibona/Marin Susic