Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 23 No. 18
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

EuroLeague seeks U.S. investors, NBA knowledge

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 executives recently visited the U.S. to outline the basketball league’s expansion strategy to potential investors and gain some operational expertise from the NBA.

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. The company confirmed the meeting but would not comment on details.

The 16-team EuroLeague includes teams owned by some of Europe’s biggest sports brands including FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. It will add teams in Germany and France next year while planning other expansion, with the United Kingdom and Italy as priority markets. The league has a 10-year marketing and media partnership with IMG.

“We have been focused on talking with different kinds of stakeholders,” Bertomeu said. “Some of the groups involved have been private equity and banks that are interested. Most know very little about the EuroLeague and we believe it’s a nice story to tell. It’s a presentation of what we are and what we are going to do.”

As the EuroLeague drums up U.S. financial interest, the league also met with the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division in New York as it creates its own TMBO-like internal consulting department. The EuroLeague has retained the consulting firm G2 Strategic, owned by former Portland Trail Blazers President Marshall Glickman, to assist in that effort.

About 22 EuroLeague executives met this month with members of the NBA’s TMBO division and with Brooklyn Nets executives, according to Bertomeu. “This is the first time we have had these meetings and Marshall Glickman is leading the concept,” Bertomeu said. “We started the same [TMBO] concept last year and we have a group of people coming to understand better how pro teams work.”