By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial state of European basketball was in question. With the most mid-tier teams practically building their budget around ticketing revenues, the idea of having a season with no fans means no season in some cases.
The French league has already announced that the start of the 2020-21 season may be delayed if that means more fans on the stands. There might not even be time for playoffs, since ever league should be finished by the 10th of June, due to the FIBA Olympic qualifiers.
Also, sponsorship deals, advertising revenues, and in some cases, even television rights will drop in the near future.
You don’t need to be an oracle to understand that money will be an issue for clubs that don’t have an owner with deep pockets.
And even if someone is willing to pay, that’s precisely the non-sustainable model that European basketball is actively trying to change, especially in the last five years.
That’s why for many clubs, being able to play in the Basketball Champions League is a no-brainer for the upcoming season.
Darussafaka, Tofas, Galatasaray, Rytas Vilnius, and Bilbao have already announced their decision to join the BCL. The management of Galatasaray and Rytas have admitted that their decision was influenced by the fact that their move from the EuroCup to the BCL will provide them with more significant revenues.
According to Eurohoops sources, those clubs can get up to 400.000 euros per season directly from the BCL, depending on their on-court performance, and if they get to the Final Four, then the money can double or even triple in case they win the trophy.
For the mid-tier of Europe, that’s a respectable sum of money and can be the basis of a decent budget.
You can argue that the BCL is tempting clubs using money, but on the other hand, this is the reality of professional sports.
A continental competition should not be only a matter of pride and prestige. It should also provide a stream of revenues that compensates the clubs for their sporting achievement, either on the competition itself or in the case of the BCL, on the success they enjoyed on their domestic leagues.
A part of those performance bonuses is tied directly to the domestic leagues’ results, as the BCL philosophy of being a continuation of those leagues has not changed.
It’s not a secret that just breaking even is not given for European basketball clubs, especially those that want to achieve significant results.
However, losing money, even if you have significant revenues, doesn’t make sense in financial terms, and the BCL is providing for the first time revenues that give to the FIBA competition advantage over the EuroCup.
And in the current financial environment, that’s one of the few sources of financial aid available in European basketball.