The Champions League was the first European tournament that immediately realized that it was almost impossible to finish the season in the current situation. Therefore, the format was changed, and the decisive matches were moved to the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
“Intercept” asked several important questions to the General Director of the BLCH, Patrick Komninos. This conversation took place under the heading #locker room, in which agents, players, coaches and basketball officials talk about topical issues. Subscribe to the telegram channel “Intercept” so that you don’t miss anything.
- Patrick, do you think the decision to abandon the quarterfinals and the Final four in favor of the Final eight will have any consequences in terms of the interest of the fans? Will this interest become lower?
– Before we decided to hold the Final eight, we discussed it for a long time and took into account many factors. One of them is the interest of the fans. We want the audience to have the opportunity to come to the arena and support their teams. At the same time, we are aware that a huge number of people will watch matches on television. We believe that the time of the Final eight-from October 30 to October 4 – will help overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic not only in practice, but also in terms of human psychology.
The postponement of the final matches to the autumn gave us the opportunity to offer basketball fans a high-class tournament at the very time when everyone will miss basketball and want to watch the matches both live and on TV. It will be a whole week of top-level basketball – with full stands, with elimination matches. We understand that now is not the best time to offer them such games, because the pandemic has probably affected everyone. And while it is not usual to determine Champions in the autumn, we are now living in an unprecedented time for both sport and society as a whole. So we need to adapt. I think this is the optimal solution for everyone – clubs, Championships, fans.
- It is clear that it is difficult to calculate the exact amount right now, but at least approximately-how much did the coronavirus affect the Champions League financially?
– In fact, the main blow in terms of losing money is felt by the clubs. It is they who receive income from the sale of broadcasting rights, from their commercial partners, and from domestic Championships. This is their main income. And there are also ticket sales — this amount goes directly to clubs that first played behind closed doors, and now do not play at all. So this is a serious loss of money.
As for us, the basketball Champions League, we feel relatively good. The fact is that our season was not very far from its end, we have already reached the decisive stage of the competition. Therefore, in terms of money, we do not lose much. Of course, we are negotiating with our TV and commercial partners and discussing ways to solve the problems that arise. But the Champions League has not suffered some very significant losses, we are only sorry that we can not say the same thing about the clubs. They are not going through the best of times, and they are the engine of European basketball. We will strive to help them both in the short and long distance.
- Hypothetically, if one of the teams that reached the Final eight wanted to change the Champions League to the European Cup in the off-season, would it be a problem?
– I would not like to talk about any hypothetical scenarios, but this already happened last year, when Bologna played in the final. The club then wanted to move to another tournament. The fact is that the system in European basketball is not perfect now, clubs have to choose which tournament to play in. It is inconvenient for them, because they need to take into account many factors. But the situation is what it is, and every year we have teams that have played in other competitions and decide to try out for the Champions League, and teams that have played in the Champions League and decide to leave it. This is the nature of our business. It’s not perfect, but we have to live with it and accept it.