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Euroleague launches fund to support digital transformation

Euroleague Basketball has created a fund to accelerate the digital transformation at its clubs in areas including ticketing and fan loyalty programmes.

The Digital Transformation Fund, which will be supported by sports consulting firm N3XT Sports, is aimed at supporting the top tier Euroleague clubs to implement projects that will solve “current digital operational issues” through data collection, analysis and monetisation, as well as game experience.

It is a two-year project that 12 teams have joined to improve the fan experience through increased digital expertise.

The improvements that the clubs plan to put into action are customer relations management and fan loyalty programmes, mobile app development with the integration of third-party services, and market research into fanbases, markets and business-to-business opportunities.

The clubs will also look to develop their ticketing and access control systems, while also developing partner activations, and cooperation with startups.

The initiative takes advantage of the work that the Euroleague Basketball Business Operations & Club Services (BOCS) has done to help clubs benefit from each other’s experience by sharing best practices to maximise revenues and create long-term business sustainability.

Roser Queralto, chief business officer at Euroleague Basketball, said: “We firmly believe that it is important to proactively work at helping the clubs grow their market revenues. That is why we created EuroLeague BOCS two years ago, which is a unit that is exclusively devoted to sharing information amongst the clubs, researching best practices in the world of sports and entertainment applicable to the EuroLeague, and developing league-wide and individual plans to grow the business in every vertical.

“With the launch of the DTF, we are further supporting our clubs in all their efforts to improve their business operations and develop a solid backbone for all of their internal-facing and fan-facing operations.”

The EuroLeague is one of the most popular indoor sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 8,780 for league matches in the 2017–18 season.

In preparation for the launch of the fund, clubs were evaluated for their individual readiness to modernise and improve their digital systems. Those who applied to participate submitted detailed projects that were analysed by and will be carried out with the support of Euroleague Basketball and N3XT Sports.

Mounir Zok, CEO of N3XT Sports, said: “We looked closely at the efficiency and effectiveness of the clubs’ operations, at their physical and digital fan-engagement products, we analysed their data architecture and developed a league-wide assessment report to assist the clubs and the league in determining best next steps.

“This step is absolutely critical because it provides an objective view of the digital, data, and technology capabilities of each individual organisation and helps them develop the most efficient and effective digital strategy.

“As DTF evolves, our aim is to help the clubs’ structure innovation activities, embrace digital and data as key assets for making decisions and for engaging with a new generation of customers and partners.”