EuroCup approaching centralised rights target with coverage in 140 markets
By Simon Ward
The EuroCup, the second-tier European clubs basketball competition, is receiving television coverage in most of the major markets this season following the switch to a centralised media rights model.
The second round of games of the 2017-18 campaign concluded this week, with Greece the only significant European basketball territory in which a deal has not been agreed, although that is influenced to a large extent by the fact that the country has no teams in the competition.
Until now, individual teams have largely been responsible for selling their games in the EuroCup to broadcasters, but, in agreement with IMG, the international sports agency that is the commercial partner of Euroleague Basketball, a new structure has been introduced under which the rights are being marketed centrally with a revenue distribution model similar to that in place in the top-tier EuroLeague.
It is understood that, with deals in place for 140 countries and territories, the organisers are close to achieving the guarantee of around €3 million ($3.5 million) in media rights revenue for the EuroCup this season, more than double the amount generated in the last campaign, and are hopeful of hitting the target once negotiations are completed.
There was a race to conclude deals for the new season given that the new centralisation process was only launched in June, but broadcasters have been secured for all the countries represented in the EuroCup in 2017-18.
In Spain, Teledeporte, the sports channel of TVE, the Spanish public-service network, is showing the games of Herbalife Gran Canaria, ETV, the Basque public-service channel, the games of Retabet Bilbao Basket, and Andorra Televisió, the public-service operation in Andorra, the games of Morabanc Andorra.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the games are being shown by Eurosport, the Discovery Communications-owned broadcaster, in a deal that also includes the top-tier EuroLeague featuring AX Armani Exchange Olimpia of Milan. Pay-TV operator Fox Sports previously showed the top competition in Italy.
Eurosport's EuroCup coverage amounts to one live televised game per week, and others online via the Eurosport Player, with a focus on Italian teams Dolomiti Energia Trento, Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia and Fiat Torino.
Eurosport also has rights to the EuroLeague and EuroCup in the UK and Ireland, where games are available on the Eurosport Player, and the EuroCup only in the Nordic territories and Poland.
Eurosport previously televised one game per week from the EuroCup, and two in the latter half of last season, across Europe on the Eurosport 2 channel.
In France, SFR Sport, the subscription broadcaster owned by telecoms operator Altice, agreed a four-year deal in September to show the EuroLeague and EuroCup in France, Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco.
There are presently no French teams in the elite competition, but SFR will have been buoyed by the return of domestic clubs in the EuroCup this season, in the shape of ASVEL, CSP Limoges and Levallois Metropolitans.
Elsewhere, EuroCup broadcasters include Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Sportklub in the Adriatic region, MTEL in Bulgaria, Viasat in Lithuania, TeleSport in Russia, Ssport in Turkey, Charlton in Israel, BeIN in 23 territories in the Middle East, Eurosport Asia in 44 territories in Asia and Fox Africa in 50 territories in Africa.
BeIN, Eurosport Asia and Fox Africa also have rights to the EuroLeague in the respective markets.
Negotiations for the EuroCup are continuing in countries including Greece, where EuroLeague rights are held by pay-TV operator Nova, and Portugal.
The new commercial structure for the second-tier competition entails a guaranteed increase in the sports pool (prize money), a new market pool distribution based on the TV contracts signed in each territory and enhanced investment in production to improve the content offering.
The EuroCup is competing with the Basketball Champions League overseen by FIBA, the international basketball federation, and 10 national leagues, to be regarded as the most important European clubs competition behind the EuroLeague.
Media rights revenues for the EuroLeague increased by 67 per cent to more than €30 million in the 2016-17 campaign, the first in a 10-year partnership with IMG in which the 16 participating teams, including 11 with guaranteed places, play 30 fixtures in a round-robin format in the regular season.
EuroLeague Basketball announced today that Fanatik, the popular Turkish sports website, had signed up as an official premium media partner.
Under the agreement, Fanatik will offer enhanced information, videos, features on the EuroLeague and EuroCup in Turkish.
It joins other country-specific premium media partners in L'Equipe in France, Gazzetta.gr in Greece, La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, Sports.ru in Russia and As in Spain and official global media partner Eurohoops.
Image courtesy of Euroleague Basketball