A new initiative with an ambitious vision…
First of all, sincere thanks for visiting our website and checking out the blog section. If you have been supported by Google in finding this page, it is highly probable that the main reason as to how you ended up at this blog has something to do with your passion for (European) basketball combined with your interest (or even desire) to find sustainable solutions to its structural and institutional challenges. Exactly that combination has driven us to embark upon this journey!
European Basketball Advisory Group (EBAG) is a non-profit network of independent individuals who have a great passion for basketball and do care about increasing its popularity, especially among kids and teenagers. At the same time, the participants of this initiative have many years of professional experience in several (business) areas including finance/accounting, HR and organizational development, sales, marketing, procurement and IT and are very keen on offering this invaluable expertise to the executives and managers of clubs, leagues and federations in Europe to be used on addressing current and future challenges of European Basketball. EBAG has a pretty ambitious vision: To become one of the most highly regarded organizations that work on increasing the popularity of basketball in Europe by specifically focusing on institutionalization and professionalization of its management structures at all levels.
Although this initiative has just been launched, its roots go back as many as 25+ years ago when I first started playing basketball at one of the major basketball clubs in my hometown. As a member of the U14 team I was headed to a summer camp for couple of weeks. I had bought a basketball magazine which I was planning to read during the 6-hour bus trip. Despite the fact that it has been so many years ago, I can still visualize its cover page. It was reporting about one of the first division teams whose main sponsor (which happened to be one of the largest and financially strongest industrial conglomerates in the country) decided to withdraw its financial support and close down club’s basketball operations. Not only I did not forget about the cover page of that magazine, I still remember the sadness I had felt during the rest of the bus trip and me asking the same question over and over again “but why?”. This was the first time when I started thinking about principles of proper club management. Unfortunately, this club was not the only instance. Many other sponsors followed suit in the following years and stopped their investments in basketball, including some clubs with a pretty robust infrastructure for basketball operations which produced youth teams that won several national championships and sent many players to the (junior) national teams.
I was not able to become a basketball player. Instead, I focused on my (college) education majoring in finance/accounting and was given the opportunity to work for some reputable companies based in New York, Berlin and Amsterdam. My interest for basketball never disappeared. And I kept thinking (and researching) about the economic and other managerial challenges of basketball clubs while observing similar challenges in the business world. There seemed to be an important difference: there are several tools, concepts and principles that have been effectively used by companies which (after some adjustments) could also work for sport organizations. Essentially, this is the summary of the first focus area of EBAG, namely the professionalism in management of European basketball clubs, leagues and federations. It’s about identifying (and adopting) relevant business essentials to the challenges of the European Basketball. Professionalism in this context does not necessarily mean the full commercialization of the sport of basketball in Europe, or targeting profit maximization at all costs. In general it can (still) be argued that the European sports do not fully stand for “selling a product and entertaining the crowd”. It is simply more than that and includes some other values that cannot be easily commercialized such as devotion and loyalty to the clubs. The goal here is more about finding ways of applying proven methodologies from the business world to the European Basketball in order to help all involved parties operate on a more sustainable basis. It’s about creating “sport participant value” rather than shareholder value. Other focus area, economics of European Basketball, complements this view and specifically focuses on all relevant financial and economic aspects of basketball including financial stability and fair play rules.
Sports Participation & Access to Basketball, Talent Identification and Development Concepts and Corporate Social Responsibility Projects represent the other main focus areas which directly relate to the ultimate goal of EBAG: increasing the popularity of basketball and helping kids and teenagers to have access to the sport of basketball. Basketball is not just a sport, it is life!
Last but not least, we strongly believe that in anything we deal with and whatever the challenges are, the most critical success factor is the human factor. We aim to share our knowledge, experience and different points of view with the managers acting in the basketball world by offering Training & Education for Basketball Managers. We are convinced that there is no other way for improving the overall quality of the European Basketball.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you on our website more frequently in the future. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for sharing your feedback or obtaining more details about our vision, mission and possible ways of collaboration.
Best of success!