Basketball Champions League gratified as social media fans surpass 2m
The organisers of the Basketball Champions League have acclaimed further growth in the digital audience, with its social media following up by 33 per cent to 2.2 million and total video views by 14 per cent to 50 million in the 2018-19 season.
The BCL, which is backed by FIBA, the international basketball federation, and a group of 11 national leagues, has laid great store by its online engagement since launching in 2016, and is encouraged by the recent growth as it prepares for its fourth campaign.
The number of Facebook followers has now hit 2 million and this figure is complemented by 65,000 on Instagram, 136,000 on Twitter and 27,000 on YouTube.
The league said today that it had reached more than 185 million fans through social media over the course of last season, an increase of 54 per cent on 2017-18.
The Final Four, which was held in Antwerp in Belgium in May reached 26.8 million fans, and the 5 million video views represented a 27-per-cent increase on the figure for last year’s edition.
There were 400,000 social media interactions (comments, reactions and shares) for the 2019 event, won by Italy’s Segafredo Virtus Bologna.
Across the season, there were 2.5 million interactions, up 19 per cent on the figure for the previous campaign.
In addition, there were 5.6 million page views for the official BCL website, with the biggest consuming countries being Greece (13 per cent), Germany and Italy (both 11 per cent) and Spain (10 per cent).
The BCL was established three years ago as a merit-based alternative to the established tournaments of Euroleague Basketball, and chief executive Patrick Comninos claimed at the 2019 Final Four that the industry had labelled it “the number one basketball club competition in Europe on social media,” with three times the following of its rival’s top-tier EuroLeague.
He said today: “We are extremely pleased to see the competition confirming its massive success on social media. At the end of the season, there are more than 2 million followers of the Basketball Champions League on its various platforms. The digital output of the first three seasons is impressive, and we are proud of such an achievement.
"The Basketball Champions League does not exist for its own sake but as part of a broader strategy to grow basketball across Europe. It is based on established sporting principles of inclusion by merit rather than commercial brand value, and is an integral part of the new European basketball ecosystem. We are delighted to see that the first three seasons of the competition were appreciated by the fans, the participating teams and the players."
Earlier this week, the BCL confirmed the full line-up for the 2019-20 season which its claims to be the “strongest ever”, with 48 teams from 28 countries, including 16 current national champions.
The initial draw for the qualification rounds and regular season, involving the top 32 teams, takes place on 4 July.
The regular season, in which the teams are split into four groups of eight, starts on 8 October.
Meanwhile, Euroleague Basketball has unveiled the proposed line-up for its second-tier EuroCup in the 2019-20 season
The list presently comprises 25 teams from 13 countries although one club will be elevated to be the wildcard in the expanded 18-team EuroLeague.
The EuroCup vies with the BCL to be the secondary clubs competition in Europe and the organisers have insisted its is “one of the strongest group of teams in competition history.”
Euroleague Basketball said that 16 broadcasters on four continents have rights deals in place to cover the EuroCup next season, and negotiations are continuing in four other countries.
All matches can also be viewed, with English commentary, on the EuroLeagueTV OTT platform.
• Daniel Müller has been elected as the new head of German basketball’s second-tier 2. Basketball Bundesliga, in succession to the departing Johannes Kopkow.
Kopkow announced his resignation as chairman at the weekend. He had been in the role since September 2017, having joined the league in 2010, and assumed the role of deputy chairman a year later.
Müller held the role of chief executive until this year when he stepped down for personal reasons, but is returning to the 2. Basketball Bundesliga as chairman and chief executive, and will be supported by a new managing director in Christian Krings who starts on 1 August.