Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 7 No. 149

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Millennials and younger audiences are the "driving force behind a strong growth in attendances at sports events," boosting a U.K. industry that has "thrived since" London 2012, according to Murad Ahmed of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The number of people buying tickets for sports events across the country is expected to reach 74.5 million in '18, "not including one-off fixtures," up from 63 million six years ago when the London Games "helped to convert more Britons into watchers of live sport." The research by Two Circles "is based on the declared attendance figures" for regular annual professional sports events in the U.K. It shows that crowds have risen 2.8% on a yearly basis since '12. The surge "is due in large part to young people passing through the turnstiles of Britain’s stadiums in ever larger numbers." They do so, despite TV broadcasters "becoming concerned that millennial audiences are unwilling to sit through live sports matches for long periods," thanks to distractions from social media and on-demand entertainment such as Netflix. Two Circles co-Founder Gareth Balch said, "It is well-documented that millennials are the first postwar generation that are less wealthy than the generation before. That has caused those individuals to have a different psychology about how they invest their time and money." The research showed that the percentage of ticket buyers aged between 16 and 24 for U.K. sports events was 23% this year, up from 15% in '12. The number of millennials -- born between '81 and '96 -- attending sport has increased to 21% this year, up from 16% in '12 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/25).

The European league will grow to 18 teams next year.
Photo: Getty Images
The European league will grow to 18 teams next year.
Photo: Getty Images
The European league will grow to 18 teams next year.
Photo: Getty Images

A contingent of EuroLeague execs recently visited the U.S. to "outline the basketball league’s expansion strategy to potential investors and gain some operational expertise from the NBA," according to John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Led by EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu, league representatives met with private equity firms and banks in mid-November, as the league "plans to add two teams next year for a total of 18 across Europe." Bertomeu "would not disclose any specific private equity groups or banks, but said he did meet with Galatioto Sports Partners." He said, "We have been focused on talking with different kinds of stakeholders. Some of the groups involved have been private equity and banks that are interested." As the EuroLeague drums up U.S. financial interest, the league also met with the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division in N.Y. as it "creates its own TMBO-like internal consulting department." The EuroLeague works with consulting firm G2 Strategic, owned by former NBA Portland Trail Blazers President Marshall Glickman, to assist in that effort (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/26 issue).