With the increasing interest in international basketball in the American basketball market, the Spanish ACB League is in a leading position
For most basketball fans around the world, the NBA is still the most consumed TV product. However, the American League is not the only coalition to receive coverage in the United States. Recently, millions of spectators from the United States had the opportunity to watch the final stage of the Spanish ACB League. The climax of this stage was Kirolbet Baskonia’s defeat of FC Barcelona in a final.
According to ACB’s announcement, Spanish basketball has never aroused such interest. The final game played 33 games in two weeks and was broadcast to 125 countries and regions, the United States is one of them. The merger of Channel Eleven and ForTheFans (FTF) allows ACB to reach American homes through the country’s most popular platforms (DirecTV, NCTC, Verizon, ATT), Fubo.TV or Fanatiz and other new broadcasting formats. Connect via SmartTV and Playstation.
FTF/Eleven Sports is a multinational sports TV channel headquartered in the United Kingdom. It broadcasts all competitions and schedules more than eight hours a day without interruption. Eleven Sports has platforms in Europe and Asia, including Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Taiwan, Japan and Myanmar. It provides a series of live sports events throughout the network and owns the rights to the top football leagues in Spain, Italy and Germany as well as F1, NFL and NBA. High-quality sports programs provide real-time reports in local languages, supplemented by news, comprehensive courtside and in-studio analysis, digital content and local programming.
Anthony Bailey, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Eleven Sports Network North AmericaDiscussed the influence and popularity of European basketball in the US market with TalkBasket.net. Although not everything has dropped to the ratings covered by ACB, the Spanish League is still a high-quality TV product in an unknown area in the international basketball field.
“What I can tell you is that we saw about 59% of the games on all platforms during the ACB Championship. We promoted vigorously and we are very proud of its outstanding performance.”Before answering various questions about the present and future of non-NBA basketball in the United States, Mr. Bailey told TalkBasket.
Q: In November 2017, Eleven Sports Co., Ltd. cooperated with ACB to broadcast Real Madrid-Barcelona games in Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. Is there a non-American basketball audience in the United States?
Answer: Due to the strong influence of American players in the league and how well the Spanish League has done in NBA drafts and leading players into selection in the past few years, it is considered one of the top three leagues in the world. Therefore, we think it is appropriate to promote through players in the United States, so that people can recognize the quality of the game.
Q: From a media perspective, why is ACB ahead of any non-NBA domestic game in the world?
Answer: First of all, they did a good job of quickly resuming the game. In terms of production, they have also done a good job, providing us with a lot of data about ongoing work. They are good media partners.
Q: In Belgium, through the 11th Sports NBA TV, fans can continue to move forward during the isolation period. Are sports organizations willing to contact broadcasters to provide content that is usually exclusive to the league?
A: I cannot speak on behalf of the NBA, but many leagues are working hard to expand their influence. If you’re not in a premium league, it’s important to take advantage of content so people can know who you are. I believe that the people of ACB and other alliances that are seeking to transcend national boundaries and expand their reach are doing well.
Q: Recently, many American viewers have watched the live broadcast of the Taiwan Basketball League through FIBA. How do you cooperate with the International Federation?
A: When they came back from isolation, we participated in the Taiwan Basketball League. We did not have much time to promote it, but we managed to bring it to the United States. The key is that we have a lot of people who love basketball in this country and show them that having the opportunity to play abroad and following American stars from all over the world will help the sport and various leagues.
Q: Do you know the concern of overseas players in the US?
Answer: Yes, we are, and we will try our best to take advantage of this. During the ACB and Taiwan events, we interviewed many people.
Q: How big is the fan base for such events in the United States?
Answer: In the United States, there may be 100 million fans for basketball. Of course, our goal is to get a small part of it. We are not really looking at the number of people watching, but in the time and minutes consumed, and their number is very high. We watched an average of 87 minutes per viewer, which means that most of our viewers watched ACB games from start to finish.
Q: Have you conducted any special research before purchasing the rights of ACB? In terms of fan engagement, in most countries, does Eleven Sports regularly conduct polls to ask people what they want you to play. Is this true?
Answer: Correct. Basketball is something the audience we know wants to see more and more. Our cable channels can be used in 20 million homes, and our digital channels can be used in 50 million homes. Someone tells us our fans want it, that’s what we want. European basketball, hockey and rugby began to gain attention here. We now have our own professional football league.
Q: Are you interested in other basketball leagues or institutions?
Answer: Yes, we will make some announcements soon. I can’t say anything now, but in the next few days, we will announce that we will bring two other basketball leagues here. One is from Asia and the other is from Europe, both of which are first divisions.
Q: How do you evaluate the broadcasting landscape in the COVID-19 era?
A: During COVID-19, whether you believe it or not, we have discovered that some changes have taken place in our prime time. People watch sports games early in the day and then watch sports games later in the evening. We call this the “Netflix effect” because we believe that people will watch movies with their families during prime time. From what I think will happen after the pandemic, it will take a while for fans to enter the arena. Providing sports broadcasting is very important, so in the post-COVID era, we will face greater challenges.
Q: If the NBA does not resume games, how will TV be affected?
Answer: I think it will be very big here in the United States. The country now needs all four major sports so that people can understand what is happening and enjoy the game again. Without these major alliances, economic and social success cannot be achieved.
Q: Do you believe the Orlando bubble will look like Is it as good as Spain?
A: I think the NBA is following a lot of what they did in Spain. I am very happy to see progress here. The facilities they use are great, and they want high ratings. I think that even if it is not better, the NBA will perform as well as Spain.
Q: Apart from ACB, which other European basketball leagues may be of interest to the US market?
A: The British champion and the Australians and Chinese are very interesting. The team is a well-competitive team internationally. We have a strategy for expats here. If we can bring their leagues to them, and then let Americans playing in these leagues fill the puddings, it might be a good thing for us. We hope to develop around specific sports and leagues. We believe that due to the large number of Americans from these regions, we will follow good followers. Of course, we ranked first in the NBA, but since the establishment of the United States, we have ACB outside the United States. They have always been good strategic partners. One of the main reasons is the number of Spanish speakers in each state. The Chinese Basketball League is very interesting to us here.
This post is written by Georgios Kyriakidis