Thursday, May 23, 2013

5 Quick Questions with...Alex Ferrer Kristjansson - Brand & Communication Director, Euroleague Basketball

Alex Ferrer Kristjansson is the Brand & Communication Director at Euroleague Basketball, where he has worked since 2005. Mr. Kristjansson is involved in several key aspects of the Euroleague including Brand Management, Ticket Strategy, Sponsorship, and Online Strategy. Additionally, he is involved with the marketing and operational functions for international events and is responsible for the coordination of marketing efforts with both the league and individual teams. 

The Tampa Bay Rebels are grateful to Mr. Kristanjansson for taking time out of his schedule to answer our 5 Quick Questions!

What is the Euroleague?

The Euroleague is the premier clubs competition in Europe where, every season, the 24 best clubs compete to become European Champions. The League features clubs that are world-class brands like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Fenerbahce Ulker, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, CSKA Moscow, etc.

How does a team earn the right to compete in the Euroleague? 

There are three ways of playing the Euroleague:

First one - There are 13 clubs that have what is called and A-license, or long term license, which basically means that they will participate in the competition independently of their National League results that season (there are certain limitations though). Every season, the worst of these 13 teams according to a previously established criteria, may lose its spot. These 13 clubs today are Anadolu EFES Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, EA7 – Emporio Armani Milan, FC Barcelona Regal, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, Montepaschi, Olympiacos Piraeus, Panathinaikos Athens, Real Madrid, Unicaja Malaga and Zalgiris Kaunas.

Second one - By becoming the Champion of one of the top European National Leagues. Following a league ranking, champions or best teams of the top leagues join the 13 A-licence, clubs obtaining a B-license.

Third and last one - By becoming the Champion of the Eurocup, the second European club’s competition, which is also managed by Euroleague Basketball.

What challenges does the Euroleague face in bringing in clubs from around the world to compete against each other?

There are many different challenges in many different areas. We are dealing with 24 different clubs every season, that all have different mentalities from one to the other, live in different social realities and in some cases, have big cultural differences. Putting all that together in a model of a League as the one we have, in which the clubs are the owners, is not easy, but it is showing very good results after the 13 years of existence of this management model. This is something quite unique in European club sports. 

How has the evolution of social media impacted coverage of the Euroleague?

It has certainly impacted us in a big way, as I guess it has happened to every sport organization, club or player. Social Media has really enabled a multi-way communication, in which the League speaks with the fans, the fans do the same with the league, plus the fans speak amongst themselves, giving them the opportunity of becoming their own media building a SM reputation amongst their readers.

Social Media has really enabled fans to show their opinion, have a direct communication channel with leagues, clubs, players and even journalists, and somehow making their opinion count and be heard. And the speed at which the information flows has also affected the way communication is looked at.

How can people in the United States follow Euroleague action? 

Live action can be followed on NBA TV, ESPN 3 and also on the official live streaming website

Fans can also watch some live Euroleague action on USA’s field every season, since for a few years already, Euroleague Basketball is sending some of its best teams to play friendly pre-season games there, facing NBA teams. Real Madrid, Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow, amongst others, have already played these games in recent years, and this years’ games will be announced soon.