Marco Vittorelli (Marco Vittorelli): “European salary cap may be a wise move. Convincing Scola’s wife to stay in Italy is the key to signing him”
Marco Vittorelli, chairman of the historic Italian club Pallacanestro Varese, discussed the development of Serie A with TalkBasket.net, funding for European teams and the background of the deal with Luis Scola. This may be a win-win situation for both parties. .
The name Varese will always resonate with anyone interested in the history of European club basketball. Although their last championship title was in 1999, and only twelve years ago (2008), they fell into the second team of the Italian League for the second time, but there is a glimmer of hope that the club will survive a difficult period.
The team from northern Italy made ten consecutive appearances in the Europa League final between 1970 and 1979, an unprecedented winning streak. Won a total of 5 Intercontinental Cup titles, plus 3 intercontinental crowns, third in Serie A in 2013, and lost the game. The 2016 FIBA European Cup final looks like a drop in the ocean.
Nevertheless, restoring its former glory remains the grand goal of every Pallacanestro Varese government, including the government presided over by the 62-year-old entrepreneur Marco Vittorelli. Mr. Vittorelli has been the club chairman since May 2016. In addition, he also serves as the chairman of the board of Openjobmetis, an Italian employment agency specializing in supply contracts, research, relocation and employee training. Since 2014, the company has been the main sponsor of Pallacanestro Varese with the aim of revitalizing its champion genes.
For now, Varese and Vittorelli are in Luis Scola takes the stage. Scola is now 40 years old, a ten-year NBA veteran (Houston, Phoenix, Indiana, Toronto, Brooklyn), he has 740 games, and-most importantly-in 2004, he was Argentina Olympic gold medalist of the national team, WHO Desire to call his fifth Olympic Games a day. Many events have surprised the series of events that the former Basquenian and Armani Milano big man brought to Varese, but Vittorelli seems to have dealt with this issue in a more pragmatic way, narrating his hopes Benefit from all the backstory before the sensational signature. Clubs and players.
After all, we are in one of the strangest summers in the history of the European basketball market. The development momentum of COVID-19 is good, and it is still uncertain whether and under what conditions the arena will open its doors globally. Marco Vittorelli (Marco Vittorelli) believes that the time for fans to return is not far away. This can also be said to be the reason for the revival of Italian basketball. Italian basketball has shown that Armani Milano and Virtus Bologna can compete in Europe. A team that fought all the way in China.
In discussions with TalkBasket.net, President Pallacanestro Varese (among other related issues) restricted the financial stability of European clubs by implementing salary caps in accordance with NBA standards. To limit the existing differences.
Q: In March 2015, you joined the board of directors and became the 20th president of Varese next year. What is your relationship with basketball? Which images and players have you grown up with?
A: In high school, I played basketball in Milan. At that time there was a team called Pavoriano, which produced Taurisano, the history coach of Recalcati and Cantu. When I was in college, I stopped playing American football. I have always been a fan of Varese, because when Varese was at the highest level as a kid, you could always see the team on TV. That was the era of Dino Meneghin, Manuel Raga, and Bob Morse.
In 2000, a company I founded called Metis contacted the sponsor Varese BC. We are the main sponsor for two years. In the 2003-04 season, Pozzecco and DePaul still participated in the competition. Soon thereafter, our sponsorship was suspended, but in 2014, I was told that there was an opportunity to sponsor Varese again. I am a member of the council because today there are some trusts that own 5% of the club, and there are some medium-sized companies that support basketball. They hope to draw a line for the future so that they can see the highest-level team in the next three or four years. There is still a lot to do: reach a mutual agreement with Lombardy to renovate the arena. We want to complete the current forum, create a sky box, build a small museum, and increase the capacity of the arena to European Union standards.
Q: Do you hope to participate in the Europa League in the next few years?
A: I think that in 4 to 5 years, Italy’s television rights should reach such a level that at least the teams should be returned to enable them to participate in European competitions. Today, we hardly get any revenue from television broadcasting rights. Each team receives more or less 100 to 150,000 euros. Today’s basketball TV broadcasting rights are worth 4-5 million, while football broadcasting rights are more than 1 billion. The money made by basketball in Italy accounts for 10% of the money from paying football spectators. Therefore, the television broadcast rights of basketball should account for at least 10% of the television broadcast rights of football, but even if it reaches 5%, this means that the team will receive 50 million instead of 5 of the broadcast rights. I have no doubt that we will achieve the goal in 3-5 years. Basketball is a very televised sport, but because the live broadcast of the game is very late, it cannot keep up with the development of football.
Q: When will you know the available capacity of the arena? What do you hope to achieve?
A: We don’t know yet, but we think the minimum requirement before Christmas is one-third to 50%. Then it can return to normal. I think two-thirds of fans will be there because family members can sit together. It is important to manage entrances and exits in an orderly manner and create a very effective organization.
Q: What are the consequences of the league’s early suspension? Do you think it is wrong to stop? Did this make the Italians forget about basketball?
A: This is a very thoughtful decision, because the problem is that many foreign players want to return to their country, but they cannot return to their country after the suspension. It will be difficult to keep them in Italy. In addition, all player contracts expire on June 30. There will be a certain cost, and the fleet will fall into a huge economic deficit. There is no basis for building a team. Some cities, such as Brescia, Cremona and parts of Milan were hit hard. The pandemic is very strong and violent. Many people were taken away and buried, and their relatives never saw them anymore.
Q: What is the prospect of the season starting from a big question mark?
A: On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Italian League, we will host a Super Cup in September, which will reawaken people’s attention and enthusiasm. All Serie A teams will participate in this game and the final will enter the quarterfinals.
Q: How did the final stages of Germany and Spain respond to your expectations?
Answer: We followed this action from a long distance. Even from an Italian point of view, from a competitive point of view, the fact that football is played every three days makes the sport’s performance somewhat suspicious. It is good to make people feel normal by resuming the game, but I don’t know if the best team has won.
Q: There is a COVID clause in the player contract. What do you expect to achieve?
Answer: In the new contract, we have arranged for the players to have effective compensation during the game (if the game is suspended again). This is a condition accepted by everyone. Currently, all of our players have signed the COVID clause. It is not determined by the league, but most teams include it in their contracts.
Q: Do you think the Italian team must overcome certain prejudices against the country because it has always been the center of the European virus?
Answer: Maybe for some American players. For Europeans, this is certainly not true, because they understand the situation in great detail. The only worry is that American players, whether in quarantine, transportation or family issues, they may face difficulties. Those who are worried about coming to Europe do not understand that the situation today is better than that of the United States.
Q: As Bologna (Virtus Bologna) boss Massimo Zanetti said, is the closing of the Italian season for the benefit of Armani Milano?
Answer: I don’t think so. The decision is made by consensus. We have conducted various assessments and expect that we can restart the game on May 15 or June 1, but the fact is that with the return of foreign players and the isolation they must endure, this season cannot be over. Milano did nothing, but he admitted that he could not participate in the game until June 30. Bologna made a proposal to continue the season in July, August and September, but this is an assumption. It does not take into account the fact that the players are different when the contract expires. Many of them did not take a break.. .
Milano did not make a unilateral decision, even if its weight and importance (as a team, city and budget) are important factors. I am opposed to making things personal. As in all situations, you must consider most situations. Even if Milano agreed, the other 16 teams refused to continue.
Q: How does Varese have to do with his historic rival Cantu, let alone Bologna and Milan?
Answer: Overall it is good. Cantu people are not only our traditional competitors, but today they are also competitors. I don’t think that when Milano, Cantu and Bologna compete against each other, the desire to win is the same. No matter who the opponent is, every victory is important. I personally know and have a good relationship with Mr. Armani and Mr. Zanetti. In the league, each team has a different priority, depending on whether to participate in the European League or the Champions League.
Q: Having said that, what is the budget range of most Italian teams?
A: Except for large fleets, the prices of other fleets are about 3 to 3,5 to 6 million Euros. Then, there are teams with more than 10 million, such as Milano and Virtus, and Sassari is close to this number. The administrative cost of each club is about 2 million. Everything else is the player’s budget. If the television rights start to provide the team with a million or more funds, it is obvious that the level will rise immediately because the money will flow to the players.
Q: Do you think, as Luca Baraldi, CEO of Virtus Bologna, said, financial support for the basketball team today depends entirely on the generosity of entrepreneurs or groups? ?
A: Of course, if we are talking about budgets like theirs. If we are referring to a budget of $3 to $6 million, then some clubs will do this out of enthusiasm, but also to gain popularity and contact. This is investment money. Someone told me that Giorgio Armani made considerable advertising profits in Euroleague games, which ultimately increased the visibility of the Armani brand. Having such a strong ownership and acting as a member of the European Union enables the world-renowned brand Armani to surpass all companies that “travel” in Europe and are headquartered in Italy. Therefore, this is not only about the strength of important clubs, but also about brands with international reputation.
Q: In addition to increasing the budget for the next season, does Massimo Zanetti’s decision to personally pay off this season’s losses make sense for you?
Answer: I don’t know the specific figures: which part of the budget comes from the company (Segafreddo) and which money is used for employees. Mr. Zanetti is passionate about sports, so he is also very interested. No wonder. For me, all this is for the benefit of Italian basketball.
Q: What do you think of some Europa League teams with almost unlimited budgets?
Answer: This is a very difficult rule to set. You cannot stop someone from spending. It is possible to impose a minimum budget, but it is impossible to limit the financial commitment of a group, although it would be good to do so. The salary cap may be a smart move. Operations that are strictly enforced in the United States may also be useful in Europe, so that smaller teams can become stronger.
Q: In general, how to encourage potential and existing investors to fund basketball clubs?
A: I think the salary cap (if used well) might be interesting. To attract more investment, you must always provide visibility. The number of viewers in the US cannot be compared with that in Europe. You must do better in marketing like the NBA. The Europa League and the Champions League are well organized, but their marketing methods need to be improved.
Q: Does the return of Messina and Datome and others, and the signing of Milano and Bologna illustrate the development trend of Italian basketball?
Answer: This is true even in the context of a pandemic. These important developments signify the great will to revitalize the sport and the team. We were very lucky to attract very important player Luis Scola in Varese. Compared with football, these signings between Milan and Varese will surely drive more spectators, attention and media to participate in the sport, which has the right to occupy more space in Italy.
Q: What does signing Luis Scola mean for Varese, and how does this joint venture become possible?
A: Due to COVID, he missed the opportunity to participate in the fifth Olympic Games this year. Therefore, we know that he will be interested in the next season. In the absence of a heavy Europa League schedule, he feels physically and mentally ready to face another year, and the Europa League schedule has to add three more games to players every week. He contacted us and had the first meeting with our coach and sports director through some Argentines living in Italy, such as former football player Javier Zanetti, who is the captain of Inter Milan. His role is very useful. The Argentine friend Zanetti introduced to me tried to attract the human emotions of Scola’s character.
Zanetti is his good friend. He managed to arrange a private meeting with Luis. During this meeting I explained to him that if he came to us, it would be a great honor. Of course, we will give him a chance to play and practice with a historical team he knows well.
From a logistical point of view, he confirmed that the only problem was talking to his wife because she left the impression that Louis will end his sports career in 2020. We did everything possible to convince her that this was their wise decision to stay in Italy because the time to return to Argentina was not ideal because they still have serious problems with the epidemic. Luiz had promised his wife would return to Argentina, but eventually let her withdraw. Varese is a very green and pleasant city. They found a better house than the Milan apartment. Then, he established a European school for his children, which is always helpful for international players.
Q: Compared to last year, how did you manage to combine the addition of Scola with a limited budget?
A: Louis discussed with us and he said: “The economic aspect is not as important as making my family happy and living in a beautiful house, which makes me feel at ease about sports activities.” The economic aspect has never been a real problem. Louis wants to stay healthy so that he can participate in the Olympics and keep his family calm and in line with his goals. I know something about Argentine culture, so I will say that Luis will have a good time here because he will be surrounded by people around him and make him feel at home.
Q: There are options in his contract for the 2021-22 season. Why do you feel it is necessary to include it?
Answer: You will never know. He said he wanted to participate in the Olympics and he really liked Varese as a city. The possibility of renewal is purely academic, and this assumption will be evaluated at the end of the season. If he wants to stay in Italy, there may be a chance to keep him after 2021. Once he met Varese’s fans, he wanted to continue without any problems. If he decides to continue the game, I don’t think he will change the city.
Q: The general manager of the club, Andrea Conti, said that the Varese brand gained value through Scola. How far can this value go? I mean, what does his presence mean?
Answer: First of all, we have many young people. Louis will undoubtedly be the first person to appear in practice and the last person to leave. He is a rare character: very determined and focused on his profession, providing an unparalleled role model for the young players we signed this year. If they find a way to make the most of this example, it will be a way to improve their professionalism. If they are smart, they will learn more this year than the rest of their career. In order to understand why he got there, there is no need to do anything except observe what Louis is doing.
Q: In the future, will you consider Gianmarco Pozzecco as a coach again?
A: We have kept him for a few months (during the 2014-15 season), but we never said. Today, he performed well in Sassari. At that time, the emotional aspect affected him. I do not rule out his return. Not in the near future, but at some point in the future.
Q: Why is Italian basketball always a dispute between northern teams?
Answer: This is related to the country’s economy. The Romans have ownership, which allows the club to enter an important season at some point, while the North is influenced by the entrepreneurs who do business there. However, the passion for basketball is the same almost everywhere in Italy.
This post is written by Georgios Kyriakidis