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Meet The Member: “FIBA World Cup is a record world cup in terms of sponsorship.”

August 24, 2023

Ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 which starts tomorrow i.e. August 25 till September 10 in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, Taruka Srivastav of iSportConnect spoke with Andreas Zagklis, Secretary General, FIBA to know more. Excerpts:

What are the logistical challenges that you faced in hosting FIBA world cup this time? From a commercial standpoint, how successful the FIBA World Cup is expected to be?

In terms of logistics, the focus is on players’ experience and on fans’ experience. For both these groups which are extremely important to us, the logistics are simpler than they were four years ago. 16 teams so half of the teams will not move, they will stay in Manila. And for the rest of the teams, there is only one transfer or the top of them into Manila. So, despite the fact that we are playing in three countries, we have minimized the transfers for the players and that will be chartered flights with very convenient times and extremely smooth from departure from hotel to take in in your new hotel process. We have made a big investment into the players experience programs. We have former players acting as players experience liaisons to be able to anticipate the needs of our players as well as make their experience the best possible.

From the business perspective, I think the first thing you see is the numbers. And in sheer numbers, this is a record World Cup in the number of partners, sponsorship partners, marketing partners, and FIBA for the first time has completely sold out its 10 global sponsorship packages. And we have overall, together with the local partners, no less than 24 partners, the global and the LOC partners across the three countries. So it is, in commercial terms, the most successful World Cup we’ve ever had already. I will not connect the fact that the previous one was in Asia, because China is a different market than Japan, Philippines, and Indonesia. And I do believe that the world of sport works in cycles. Our partners appreciated a lot what we had in the portfolio of FIBA events in this cycle with three top destinations Jakarta, Okinawa and in Manila at the end of these four years.

Will it be the highest generating world cup in terms of revenue compared to the previous World Cup?

To comment on this, we need to also see the final ticketing revenue, which we don’t have today. But I can tell you that the plan of FIBA 10 years ago to bring the two main pillars of our competition calendar the World Cup and the Olympics, and continue investing in the World Cup has been good and the fact is we’re going to FIFA Congress next week, closing a four-year period with COVID and a war in Europe that has global effects. And we are presenting to our members an almost break-even four-year Profit and Loss. As you can imagine, the efforts around our Continentals last year and the World Cup this year, have given us the opportunity to recover from 20 The annual study released that was 2020 for all international sports federations with profits in 2021 and 2022. I think this time next year or perhaps earlier on spring next year, we’ll be in a position to say how we scored in terms of exact numbers in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. I think it’s undeniable that the number of sponsors that we have in this World Cup is leading to the conclusion that commercially it is the most successful World Cup.

Any new sports tech innovations we will get to see at the world cup?

You will see a level of TV production like never before in the FIBA competition and I would dare say in most other competitions in the world. Like in China, we made several steps further we will keep what really worked in China and we will have cameras installed in some places in the venue that we had never before. And types of cameras, I think we can already say that we expect to have referee body cameras, we expect to have some special cameras on the backstop on the basket. And I can tell you the TV production will include more than 30 cameras in the venue.

We expect to have some stats right that we had never seen before for our fans to enjoy on the live stream of the game, on the broadcast of the game with shooting charts and player usage rates and what some people call advanced that this is but we are, as we know, a sport that loves stats. It all goes around the experience of the players and of the fans. I was asked a few days ago will we see the glass floor? And my answer is not yet. Not in this event. It was very successful last month in Madrid. It opened a totally new era for equipment in our sport. And we will see it again soon in another FIBA event. And of course, why not one day also in our flagship event.

Your opinion on how UK Basketball can really grow as it still remains behind many countries in Europe which feels like an anomaly. I know 777 have invested (not huge but a little) but where would you like to see the BBL in 5 years?

FIBA has worked very hard already before the London Olympics, bringing the Federation all together for the creation of the British Basketball Federation. And we are continuously very close to our member Federation, we have had several changes in leadership over the last few years but now we have a new, stable and very competent leadership with Chris Grant. We have spoken a lot about the national teams, they put a lot of effort. We all know that the women were one win away from making it to the Tokyo Olympics, the men are consistently playing in our top competitions, the Euro baskets. And I do believe there is great potential in that respect, when it comes to putting all the stakeholders together and having great national team performances. The national team success is what opens the door to the commercial success of the leagues and the other stakeholders.

With respect to the league, I think like in all countries, we need a balanced relationship between the league and the BBF. I acknowledge that there is an interest in further growing. I particularly like the fact that there are investments going both into the men’s and into the women’s side of the game. And I do believe that with the level of popularity of basketball in the communities in the UK, there is totally untapped potential on the side of the extreme, which we saw in Birmingham during the Commonwealth Games. All the sessions were sold out. And I cannot hide from you that the FIBA 3×3 expansion into the UK is also one of our objectives for the next four years.

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