Criticisms of the performance of French professional basketball are sometimes harsh. Especially since they usually come from managers or owners of French clubs. However, French professional basketball seems to be on the right track. Many clubs are involved in room modernization projects, the budgets of the main elite teams are increasing and for the first time in a long time there is a candidate for the Euroleague title in the ranks of Betclic Elite! However, some reforms are still expected to give a new impetus to the economic growth of French basketball. Vincent Bot, university lecturer in sports management and strategic advisor to many French basketball players, gives us his informed analysis of the performance of high-level French basketball and the measures to be taken to strengthen its competitiveness. Care.
Many French professional clubs are developing or developing in new halls with expanded facilities (LDLC ASVEL, SIG Strasbourg, Paris Basket, Orléans Loiret Basket, etc.). What inspires you about the movement to modernize cinemas? Will this allow French professional basketball to reach a new economic stage?
This move is a real evolution since the 2015 Arenas commission with the report presented by Daniel Costantini and Frédéric Besnier in March 2010. This benefits the entire professional sports movement. In particular, it created conditions for professional handball to settle in French cities (Nantes, Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, etc.) and overtake basketball in its strategy. metropolitanization. Embracing this perspective to reach large audiences and reach the general public is key in indoor sports.
Several arena projects are presented that could benefit French basketball: Orléans (10,000 seats), Caen (4,200 seats), Saint-Étienne (4,200 seats)… and others already in Angers (4,200 seats), Reims (5,500 seats), Bordeaux (7,500 seats), Montpellier (10,000 seats), Orchies (5,000 seats), Perigueux (5,000 seats), Poitiers (4,000-seat modular building for basketball)…
I note that the biggest cities lag behind in terms of infrastructure and struggle to advance projects for arenas in the sports configuration with more than 10,000 seats (Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Nice, etc.). Many projects settle and then isolate themselves without an attractive catchment area that allows for a sustainable frequency of events. I am sure that mall promoters should be stakeholders in this type of projects, they prefer more leisure and entertainment.
As for the mentioned LNB clubs, they do not yet have the tools to operate, but they clearly have the entrepreneurial will to move forward, increasing their income and autonomy by increasing their hospitality and general public acceptance. There is a perception among some clubs that the spectator experience is the basis for exemption from sports results. “You don’t just come to watch a simple sports match, you come to have a fun experience”: That’s the whole culture David Kahn is trying to develop with Paris Basketball. Some clubs still forget to put the community at the center of the project to develop their revenue streams. However, this approach can attract new partners who want to communicate with this audience.
Sports Organization Strategy and Marketing Strategy Specialist Vincent Bot is part of a new generation of Sports Managers who bring a new perspective to the strategic issues of professional clubs.. Photo credit: Adrien Naude
French basketball could take a new step in its professionalization by scaling operationally to approach Liga ACB standards. For some clubs, this step may seem high, because it sometimes takes 3-5 years to create the culture of “going to the stadium” in the audience, to fill their room. You need to be able to have a strong following and be able to mobilize the public in relevant catchment areas, sometimes in ultra-competitive geographical sectors.
Today, from an economic point of view, the duo clearly stands out from the top in French professional basketball. Have AS Monaco Basket and ASVEL developed a strong enough model to challenge for the EuroLeague title?
AS Monaco benefits from a preferential tax regime and the involvement of a sponsor, which allows it to advance faster than ASVEL. Monaco are in contention to win the Euroleague this season and could sign players with contracts above €1 million. This is an unprecedented event in the history of French basketball! But the club is currently just starting to build its economic model by strengthening the administrative and commercial staff. After some time, there will be a search for a balanced budget.
ASVEL is taking its time to build the foundations of its economic model and the delivery of the LDLC Arena is an important step. Access to the capital of OL Groupe in 2019 offers the club solid guarantees to build sustainably. The takeover of OL Groupe by John Textor will be decisive for the rest of the adventure and should set the pace. We can hope to see ASVEL competitive in the Euroleague in 3 years. The main thing is that it is sustainable and does not grow.
Furthermore, according to a study published by the Nielsen Sports Institute in 2021, French interest in the Euroleague has increased by 60% since 2018. This is very good news! It coincides with the return of ASVEL to this competition. To realize this interest of the general public, it is necessary to stabilize the diffusion. Indeed, as of September last year, no broadcaster had taken a position on the television rights. FEDCOM, the owner of AS Monaco, jumped at the chance to acquire the rights, create the OTT SKWEEK platform and sell a 30-match package to Chaîne l’Equipe.
Will a third French club finally manage to join the two behemoths of Betclic Elite at the budget level? What is the most promising development project in French professional basketball?