Reporting from Istanbul: Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Τhere’s no denial that EuroLeague provides revenues that no other league in Europe can dream of, at least at the moment. As Bertomeu confirmed: “This year, the clubs will share the guaranteed 30 million euros, as we have said from the beginning of the season. We are talking about a more than 50% increase. It’s a big number and you understand that we can not say that every year there will be such a big increase in the clubs’ revenues. It would not be realistic. We want to stabilize our growth and increase the revenues of the teams, we work for this together with IMG”.
The plan is the same for the EuroCup, despite the rivarly with FIBA’s Basketball Champions League: “First of all, we do not feel that there’s any kind of competition. EuroCup is the second tier competition in a dynamic organization and we do not think there is anyone who can compete with us. We are not interested, for example, for what FIBA has announced about the winners of its competition, it does not concern us. We have our own philosophy, we want quality, stable growth and structure. Many teams need to improve their facilities, their rosters, the way they work in order to get better conditions and more revenue. What we definitely want together with IMG is the centralization of TV rights and to build such a system that will increase the interest of investors and sponsors in order to generate more revenues for the league and around it and then share those revenues with the clubs”.
The big news for EuroLeague is the return of France in its competition: “We are very interested in France as well as in Germany. We wanted French teams at Eurocup, but the problem was not ours. The good thing is that we continue to want them and they want us! The project of a EuroLeague with 20 teams is not final and there will be development. I have no doubt that we will have teams from France in the Eurocup next season and our goal is to have a team from France in the Euroleague at some point”.
On Friday, FIBA issued a press release about the new national team competition system and its merits, clarifying FIBA’s position towards the absence of NBA players. According to the text: “The NBA has welcomed the New Competition System and Calendar and supports it. It has been built with a view to ensure more participation of NBA players in the main tournaments – FIBA Basketball World Cup, Continental Cups and Olympic Games – where there have been notable absences in recent years through the “one-tournament-every-summer” format. NBA players will be available during the windows outside of the NBA season, i.e. in June/July and September. As the number one basketball league in the world, the NBA cannot be treated as if it were any other league. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2015, the average NBA team was worth $1.25 billion. The top teams are worth upwards of $3 bn., with players commanding salaries of $20m and up. The NBA is a $7.5 billion business annually”.
Bertomeu and EuroLeague, however, want also to be respected, considering the fact that in Italy for example the EuroLeague players are already threaten with sanctions: “For a year and a half, we have the same story. We have made many attempts to talk to FIBA and find a communication formula, but there is no response from the other side. Some time ago the NBA officially announced that it does not let its players take part to the FIBA qualifiers. I did not read any statement from Mr Petroucci, talking about penaltios for the NBA players. You can not do anything by force. Threats and exclusions do not lead anywhere. As FIBA respects the NBA’s decision, the must also respect the decision of the EuroLeague clubs. National teams are very important and must include the best players in the countries. Qualifying and playing with second-class players, I do not think it will help in the development of FIBA’s tournaments. We are flexible, we will see the developments and we will definitely decide together with the clubs”.