Relevance and feasibility of a BeNeLeague
Basketball is a small to medium-sized sport in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Nevertheless, the common market seems as large as that of Spain, where basketball is practiced at a higher level. A basketball competition in which both Dutch and Belgian teams can join, might in light of this finding relevant for investigation. The question is therefore to investigate the relevance and feasibility of a BeNeLeagu on sportive, financial and commercial grounds.
Sporting, financial and commercial data has been assessed. At first, all 9 Dutch and 10 Belgian clubs, active at the highest level in their countries, have been ranked on the basis of their competitive strength. Results showed that an exciting competition might be feasible on the basis of (small) differences in strength.
Besides sporting strength, the competition format to be played has been assessed as well. Looking at the best competition format is relevant since it may lead to more attractive matches when clubs similar in strength play against each other. This is attractive for fans, sponsors and media partners. In addition, a “smart” format can reduce the costs associated with, for example, longer travelling times. Various formats have been developed and reviewed in consultation with clubs, trainers, players, associations, television partners and sponsors.
Furthermore, prognoses have been made related to the financial and commercial consequences of a BeNeLeague. The effects of a BeNeLeague on costs and revenues related to sponsors, expected ticket sales and attractiveness for media partners have been assessed. In various stakeholder meetings, figures from Hypercube’s forecasts have been verified.
In March 2020, all the clubs of the Dutch Basketball League and the Euromillions League voted unanimously for further development of a BeNeLeague. This means that the rest of the 2019/2020 basketball season is used to give substance to the further design of such a competition. In September 2020, clubs will express their final choice. If the majority favors a BeNeLeague, this league will be implemented in the 2021/2022 competitive season.