EuroLeague Basketball has begun looking at new ticketing models, such as subscriptions, after its record-breaking season ground to a halt in March due to COVID-19.

The governing body opted to cancel the 2019-20 edition of its EuroLeague competition after being suspended on March 12. Prior to this, the league saw a record-setting attendance growth to 75 per cent of occupancy, with an average of 8,670 fans per game, which it projected would have reached 9,000 by the end of the season.

Speaking at TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020 last month, Luca Scafati, director of business operations at EuroLeague Basketball, detailed how the league has used this time without games to discuss and deliver ways to reposition and better engage with fans. Watch the full session here:

 

As the 2020-21 season kicked off on October 1 with restrictions on attendance at their games depending on national and/or local health guidelines, 11 of the 18 EuroLeague teams began without spectators.

However, for the seven other teams, who could welcome between 400 and 7,500 socially distanced fans, depending on the venue and country, they were able to enable the league’s COVID protocols and guidelines, which includes using a more creative approach to ticketing.

Scafati explained how “everything now is a monthly small fee and if you want to get out, you can get out and if you want to stay, you can stay.”

He said: “Some clubs are now readapting and talking with ticketing partners to include this new model of payment to allow for the fans to return. It is also part of our short and long term goal to get young fans on board – Gen Z are not used to paying large lump sums like season tickets.”

Meanwhile, EuroLeague has also rolled out its customer experience training programme, which was developed last year before the pandemic. The league carried out assessments of its live events and identified gaps in the customer experience. From there they understood that there were some weaknesses and developed a protocol to help train club and arena staff to deliver the desired customer experience and make sure everyone is ready for the return of fans.

Scafati also noted that he was most proud of the league’s digital transformation fund, which was grown out of the existing league-wide knowledge-sharing initiative. EuroLeague has been able to allocate funding to projects that look to improve the digital infrastructure of a club, such as developing new apps and CRM systems, as well as installing WiFi and new access control systems at the arenas.

He said: “We have clubs using this money in a really smart way. And this is just the first step, but I think new initiatives of this kind will definitely help us get better and better in the future, and more successful financially.”

Save the date: TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2021 takes place between 21-23 June, 2021…

Image: Savino Paolella / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size