By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
With the season already started in Lithuania, VTB United League, and Spain, after an unprecedented summer due to the coronavirus crisis, not much has changed in the ranking of the European domestic Leagues.
What has changed drastically, however, is that all the Leagues must find ways to survive in the COVID era, and in most cases, things are not looking good. A packed calendar, the absence of ticketing revenues, and a gap between the big clubs which have resources to navigate throughout the pandemic and those who simply can’t, create a totally unbalanced landscape.
It was obvious even before last season’s events that domestic leagues must make leaps of progress, as FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis has said. That’s not the case and the dire needs of the clubs during the pandemic may create new realities inside the European basketball pyramid, especially when revenues from the domestic leagues are not comparable with those from the continental competitions.
Once more, the same leagues are included in the Top10 with Belgium and Poland missing the cut. It has to be noted that those two leagues are very well organized, but the absence of notable local talent and also very limited budgets is the reason that once more they are left out.
- ACB Liga Endesa – Spain (-)
- VTB United League (-)
- BSL – Turkey (-)
- Lega Basket Serie A– Italy (+1)
- Jeep ELITE ProA – France (-1)
- Easy credit BBL -Germany (-)
- HEBA Basket League – Greece (-)
- Adriatic League (-)
- Winner’s League – Israel (-)
- LKL – Lithuania (-)
While the direct revenues from Liga Endesa remain limited – roughly 600.000 euros per club – Spain is the golden standard for domestic European basketball leagues. The talent is there, there’s a strong union and a CBA – which is missing even from the EuroLeague – and a new television deal for the next three seasons, a continuation of the collaboration with Movistar+.
The league managed to complete last season with a summer “bubble” in Valencia, there’s strong interest from basketball fans all around Europe, and 2020-21 has already started with an active COVID protocol which so far seems to be working, even if some games will have to be postponed. There’s no stronger argument in Europe about the need for strong domestic leagues than Spain.
VTB United League
It remains the most wealthy league in Europe and that means top talent and top clubs. With three EuroLeague teams for the second straight season and clear indications that the season will play out with a – limited – number of fans attending the games, VTB has positioned itself near the top. Probably the only difference between them and Spain remains the fact that the mainstream audience in Russia has not yet put basketball among their top priorities.