Eduard J. Scott : Euroleague keeps on improving and we want to enlarge our fan base

It’s a true privilege for Eurodevotion to have the chance to talk to Mr Eduard J.Scott, Chief Operating Officer at Euroleague Basketball.

With 12 years of experience in EL organisation, Mr Scott is the perfect manager with whom we could discuss about the world of the best european basketball tournament.

– Euroleague is definitely a big achievement for european basketball and it’s actually the best show on earth in the game, just after the NBA. Which is the most important next step to increase the value of the competition and of the whole organisation?

It’s an 18 years process that can’t stop improving. The new format, the agreement with IMG are great steps while now we want to increase the fan base, the spectators in the arenas and all the fans improving our TV, our streaming, our social medias and being open to the new technologies.

– After almost 3 years of the new format which is the most successful part of the tournament as it is and which one do you think should be improved the most?

Its’ a successful format and we are very happy with the high quality of the games. There’s more excitement compared to the old format since now all the games are top quality ones. We are the first organisation to offer a format like this in professional european sports and we are moving forward also by adding two new clubs like Bayern and Asvel Villeurbanne.

– In Belgrade during the Final 4 Mr Bertomeu told us (Eurodevotion) that the organisation was studying something to try to reduce the different cost of the salary of the players from one nation to another due to different taxes. He said that a kind of salary cap was impossible but that something was on the way to be discussed with the teams. Is there any development on this?

It’s such a complex situation. So many countries, so many different taxes, so many different cost of living: we can’t have a solution right now but it’s something under pur radar. Just think of taxes changing even region to region in the same country or Isarel being outside the European Community, as well as Serbia and Turkey with a different situation.

– The “two way” contract of the NBA reduced the number of US players that were looking at European competitions as a further step in their career. is Euroleague thinking of discussing something with NBA, maybe a special agreement, about this situation?

We do not think so many players did not consider Europe, since our quality remained very high. NBA is taking its own decision as what’s best for the league, we have a strong relationship with them, we talk we have an exchange of informations but we didn’t talk about this situation. Then we are very happy about the new ELPA (Euroleague Players Association) born last year: this will create so many good options for the players and the organisation as well.

– Eurocup is emerging as a very difficult and competitive tournament where at least the best 4-5 teams could compete with the Euroleague ones. Is there any idea to extend to the EC finalist too the possibility to get a spot in the following year EL?

Since the tournament was born, in 2003, EC came out as a growing competitions that kept on improving. Now it’s so close to EL level. We are thinking about that possibility, it will not be for now, but it’s something we are considering. 

–  Ex-Jugoslavian countries are definitely “the home” of european basketball with so many talented players growing up every single year. Is there any plan to extend the number of Balkan teams in the close future?

They produce champs. Actually they represent 13% of EL players, just after the american ones. Then there are so many unbelievable coaches. We truly respect those countries and the spot for the winner of EC is 100% sure as well as the further development about EC itself it’s something that could be important for the teams from that region.

— We read along the season that 2020 Final 4 will be in Athens. Is this confirmed and in the case it’s like that is it true that there is the chance the F4 will be played in old Olympic Stadium Outdoor?

Final 4 is a great honor for us since we have so many cities that are asking to organise that event. We will decide the 2020 venue in the next months but we do not have a deadline. It could be in Vitoria as well as before or after those finals. As for outdoor venue, we saw that some exhibition game was played outdoor (in Arizona) but as for now an official event like the F4 won’t be played outdoor.

– What about the official main sponsor of the tournament? When Turkish Airlines contract will end and are they going to renew it or we will have a new main sponsor?

The actual main sponsorship with Turkish Airlines ends june 2020. After 8 and a half year we are very happy with them and we look with great interest to their development and the great job they are doing in Istanbul with the new outstanding airport. We are talking with them and as for our policy, we listen to any kind of different proposal. As for the F4 venue, at the right time we will take our decision.

– More than 50 millions followers on social medias, including clubs’, players’ and EL own ones. Can we expect for the next season all the press conferences after the games to be “live” on all the medias of the clubs?

It’s something that’s happening now. Different clubs use different social networks. And it’s part of the great improvement we want to offer to our fan base.

– What about the talks with FIBA about the national Teams “windows”? Is there something new or the situation is still standing?

We have regular communications with them. Now they are completely focused on the world Championship in China, coming in 7 months. Scheduled are fixed until 2021. When possible, we will sit down with them and try to find the best solution.

– Real Madrid, Fenerbahce and CSKA are powerhouses that every season emerge as dominating, playing 15 spots out of 24 available in the last 6 Final 4, winning the last 4 Finals and playing in 8 of the 12 spots available in the last 6 Final games. Which is the way for the other clubs to try to be competitive at the powerhouses’ level? is there something EL can do about this situation?

It’s a bit like the “dynasties” in the NBA, it’s something that happens in sports. We had the era of Maccabi, then Panathinaikos, then Olympiacos and now it’s about these three clubs. But you can check and find that Madrid didn’t reach a Final 4 from the beginning of EL to 2011, Fenerbahce played the final event for the first time in 2015, while just Cska stayed at the top for almost the entire new EL. You know it’s about generation of players, it’s about situations that, as I said, in sports happen.

– Do you agree that the most important achievement of the Euroleague is that you changed the attitude of so many fans towards basketball, writing an important page for all sports? I mean, with so many great players, champs, legends we can see in any game, spectators are attending a show that goes much further than being a fan of your team. You go to the arena and you think “ok, hope my team will win, I’ll chant for my team, I’ll suffer for my players but in any case I will have the privilege to see Spanoulis, Llull, “el Chacho”, Nando etc. This is fundamental for a true sport’s culture: being a fan but loving the game itself more than anything else…
It’s about the evolution of the experience that we want our fans to live. We want a tournament where every game counts, where every possession is important, where teams fight on the court for every basketball, but then it should be even more than this and that should be thanks to the show of basketball we want to offer. It’s the part of the organisation where we  are more focused.
Image : Euroleague Basketball
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