|Jordi Bertomeu - President, Euroleague Basketball|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 01 February 2013 16:45
Jordi Bertomeu Orteu has been the CEO of Euroleague Basketball from July 2000, cheap its Chairman since 2009 and its President since 2011.
Jordi Bertomeu earned a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Barcelona.
From its inception in March 1982 he developed tasks as Legal Advisor and Secretary General of the Spanish Basketball Clubs Association (ACB), link in December 1994, ampoule he was appointed ACB Vice-president until July 2000, when he was named CEO of Euroleague Basketball.
Mr. Bertomeu was also member of the “Spanish Governmental Commission of the transformation of Basketball and Football clubs into incorporated sports companies”, “Member of the Executive Committee of the Spanish Basketball Federation” for 12 years as well as arbitrator for the Spanish Olympic Committee on the Court of Arbitration for Sport from October 1997.
He has also developed experience as Professor of Sports Management in the Masters Programme of the INEFC at the University of Barcelona and as Professor of Sports Management and Administration in the Masters Programme at the University Complutense of Madrid.
By Ismail Uddin
You’ve managed to move up the organisation’s ladder from CEO to President. What are the main challenges you’ve faced since you started in 2000?
The main challenge has been getting people from different cultures and traditions to work on the same concept. To manage owners from Turkey, Russia, Greece, Germany and Israel – as an example – most of them have no concept of what the league means. They used to work under the federation concept, which is very different.
They never gathered at the same table to discuss their future. They made every decision on their own. In the past all they did was receive facts from the other federation saying you’ll play in Milan and these are the referees. They met at the game, they said hello and that’s all. There was not a culture of sitting together and thinking what they can do together.
Each owner came from a different mentality and we had to address all of them together to identify the collective interest instead of the individual interest. It was a huge problem because most of them had never worked on this basis. I think it took two or three years before everybody understood what it meant to be part of the league and the decision making process and to understand that the league is a collective interest that goes further than the individual interest.
The organisation has been making steady growth for a while now, what does it need to take it to the next step?
The league has to develop a perception that this is a group of teams that work together on a European basis. The local interests are still strong in the mentality of the many clubs. They have to think more at the European level and see the European side of everything. As an example, when we send a message to the clubs saying that it is critical to the league’s future to have a team in the UK, all of them understood that was the next step if they wanted to grow as a whole and they accepted the loss of one team to make space for a new one from that market. That said a lot about how they understood the project, to be ready to renounce something to make the next step. I think this is critical for us as a pan-European organisation and for me this is the next step.
How important are sponsors in those plans?
We had a very interesting experience because when we started running the league we decided that all of our commercial properties were run by a third company, which is Telefonica, a huge Spanish company. After five years we decided to recover the properties and commercialise them, which was critical for the growth of the league because since then the TV sales, sponsorships sales and the events have grown because we have strict control of our properties. We can take any strategy without the interests of a third party. That was critical for us.
In 2004 we only had one sponsor. In 2005 we took this decision regarding the commercial properties and now we have added many sponsors to the program. The impact of income coming from sponsors went from 5% to 30% which is now the weight of sponsor income in the league’s total budget. Today we have sponsors like Turkish Airlines and bwin. We’ve proved that Euroleague is a good tool for big brand’s communications programmes.
You have recently announced deals with Spalding and Detur. Have you got other partners lined up soon?
We have a title sponsor and we have another four global sponsors – bwin, Efes, Spalding and Intersport. Then we have technical sponsors and providers, which makes up the main part of our sponsor programme. All of them are occupied – it doesn’t mean we aren’t looking for new sponsors, but we don’t want to have ten sponsors because that will take away from the quality of the brand so this is the size of the sponsorship we want, based on the concept of less is more. We’ve decided to stay, more or less, with this size.