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By The Numbers: Euroleague Registers Most Successful Season Prior To Covid-19 Pandemic

By Ben Page | September 5, 2020

Following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world during 2020, we take a look back at some of the key numbers which illustrate the progress registered by the 2019-20 Euroleague season.

While Euroleague’s season was sadly cut short once the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe in early spring, it is not all doom and gloom for basketball’s most major competition this side of the Atlantic.

Here we take a look at some of the statistics which illustrate the success Euroleague has seen throughout the 2019-20 edition, the most successful season ever prior to the Covid-19 enforced suspension and, ultimately, cancellation.

Pre-Covid

With the season in full flow Euroleague was set to deliver the best economic results in its history, having seen a 15.7% rise in revenue compared to 2018-19. In addition to this, growth in sponsorship and audiovisual rights topped 20% and economic distribution to clubs was up 16%.

Euroleague has seen an increase in the league’s fanbase standing at 15% year on year across all of its markets, the biggest boost coming in France (41%, according to Nielsen Sports). However, the global fanbase has also seen a spike with markets such as the USA and UK registering further interest. Attendances have also been on the rise, up 12% per game.

Euroleague has seen an increase in the league’s fanbase standing at 15% year on year across all of its markets

This fan interest has triggered substantial growth for the league both digitally and via the TV broadcast audience. Similarly to the fanbase, average year on year TV audiences rose by 15% in Euroleague markets, while social engagement was 41% higher than the 2018/19 season.

“Cancelling the season was the most difficult decision on Euroleague Basketball’s history, but we considered it was required to stay true to our beliefs and above all protect the integrity of our competitions,” states Roser Queralto, Euroleague Basketball’s Chief Business Officer, “At the same time we feel very satisfied with all the indicators we have as they show we are following the right path with growing numbers on the core areas of our product, television and digital audience, fan interest or in – arena attendance.” 

Once Suspension Had Occurred

Once the mass of sporting seasons were initially suspended upon the Covid-19 outbreak, many organisations needed to scramble to keep partners engaged and happy.

Euroleague was set to deliver the best economic results in its history, having seen a 15.7% rise in revenue compared to 2018-19.

While this was, of course, a priority for Euroleague, they have cultivated long-lasting partnerships (currently at an average duration of seven years) which was of great benefit. 16 partners paid the league in full for the 19/20 campaign, five of which finished payments during the pandemic, and there have been talks with a number of partners about renewals or even joining the premium partnership tier. 

One of the ways in which the league adapted to accommodate its partners throughout the period was by branding the majority of the digital content that was pushed out through Euroleague channels, which produced over 46 million impressions for its commercial partners.

“Part of our relationship with our partners is to see how we can help each other, as we are all going through difficult times.  Since day one we have maintained continuous conversations on how we can help each other to keep on building our relationship,” added Ms. Queralto.

“We are confident we will keep on growing and offering our fans the best product possible after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We have increased the value delivered to our commercial partners on our digital platforms a 94%, not only to compensate the lack of games but as a measure to maintain their link with all our fans during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we clearly identified the importance of digital platforms  during the quarantine periods as main communication tool.

In terms of coverage, like all sports Euroleague suffered without the opportunity to broadcast live games, however the league ensured they still provided all media partners with content to entertain audiences during a very difficult time, utilising things such as archive content to cover the loss.

With the pandemic causing much financial and business uncertainty for some, Euroleague supported existing partners by offering consulting services and made regular calls with business, sports and communication officers at each club to assess the Covid-19 impact and plan collective strategies to combat the effects.

After Cancellation

Unfortunately, as the pandemic persisted, it became clear that any attempts to continue the season would have been incredibly difficult with the huge amount of restrictions in each country making it difficult for teams to even be able to train, let alone travel between European countries, which became non-existent.

A decision was made to cancel the season in order to best ensure the safety of the players and staff over the coming months and to avoid any impact further down the line which may compromise the 2020/21 season.

“We prefer to be very cautious and go one step after the other. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all and its entire implications are still being evaluated.”

While revenues were reduced 30% due to the season’s cancellation, causing the economic distribution to participating clubs to dip by 14%, the statistics from the pre-Covid-19 period tell us that EuroLeague is creating a strong position of growth to continue building on in future years.

Queralto added“We prefer to be very cautious and go one step after the other. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all and its entire implications are still being evaluated. We have very solid grounds with positive growth on all our markets and specially on Central and Western European, key markets for our expansion plans.

“One of the main characteristics of Euroleague Basketball has always been its adaptation capability and we are confident we will keep on growing and offering our fans the best product possible after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Turning attention to the future, it is difficult to know how the market will react as the sport hopes to return later this year. But one thing is for certain, Euroleague has been trending in the right direction and there is hope that it can exit this crisis continuing that momentum.Basketball

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