|Jordi Bertomeu - President & CEO, Euroleague Basketball|
|Profile of the week|
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:18
Jordi Bertomeu Orteu has been the CEO of Euroleague Basketball from July 2000, 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), in December 1994, 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.
By Tariq Saleh
Can you give us a bit of background and how you came into the role that you’re in now?
My background is as a lawyer, I was working as a lawyer for some years but at the beginning of the foundation of the Spanish professional basketball league I was there involved.
I was working with the Spanish basketball league until 2000 when the Euroleague was created and I was the person responsible for starting the new adventure at the European level, creating the European basketball league, so it’s been a continuation of my previous job in the Spanish league.
What challenges did you face when you first set up the Euroleague, when you first had this vision and how do you marry those with the challenges that you face today in 2015?
15 years ago the main challenge was to start something from scratch, starting and creating a league, creating a professional league and trying to convince the clubs how to work internally because most of the clubs never had the experience of working at the league level, because in basketball very few countries had a national league so it was a matter of culture to convince them how to work together, how important is the collective interest in order to define our common goals, so this balance among the individual interest and the collective interest was the main thing to solve.
Now 15 years later it’s a different thing because today we have a huge challenge in front of us but today the competition is consolidated so our main goals now are to see how we can engage more fans, how we can make our competition better, how we can give back to the community what they are giving to us, so our social responsibility programme is very important so fortunately our priority is now our difference.
One of those priorities is the Final Four, which is this year going to Madrid, what do you expect from that event and what are you hoping that this year’s Final Four will achieve?
First of all we have a responsibility which is to deliver a high class product to our fans because everybody comes to our Final Four expecting to enjoy a unique and fun weekend and enjoy not only the basketball games, which of course is the main part of the programme, but we have so many activities around the event and we have an opportunity for our fans to enjoy the games in other aspects, in our fan-zone, we have cultural activities, we have activities for the junior teams so it’s a range of activities around the event and we want to have our fans enjoy this event but it’s a city with more experience organising events and I think that Madrid and Euroleague will give to our fans what they expect.
Do you take any lessons from other sports in the way that they put on their big events, for example the Champions League final which has a certain amount of activities around it as well?
We are always following what the others are doing because it’s always room to improve so you have to understand the difference of the circumstances of each sport. So when we see the NBA we see that those guys are doing an amazing job but probably in the States they have conditions that probably in Europe we don’t have.
The same happened with Champions League with football which is a dominant sport so sometimes it’s not easy to implement the same things that they are doing but basically with the concepts I think that we are following everybody and we are trying to learn from the ones that can help us and trying to implement it in the best way for us. I think so far how the Final Four has been improving in the last 10 years has been amazing, we went to all the major markets in Europe in all the major cities and I think that the fact that many cities are asking to host the Final Four shows how this event has been growing in the last years.
Do you foresee the Final Four going to new territories in a bid to really expand Euroleague, to lesser known countries in terms of basketball?
We did, so in our experience it’s a combination of traditional basketball markets like Madrid or Athens or Milan, with other cities like Prague, or London or even Paris, where we don’t have teams and we believe that the Final Four can add extra value in order to promote our game in those countries. All the experience has been working very well so far and our intention is to repeat this experience in the future.