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Events spend prompts CHF5.3m loss at Fiba, but commercial revenues strong

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) generated revenues of CHF98.3m (€89.6m/$99.1m) in 2018, including commercial receipts of CHF75.4m, but reported a net loss of CHF5.3m as it continues to invest in competitions.

Investment associated with the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup, which tips off in China tomorrow (Saturday), along with spending on the Basketball Champions League and increased national federation support, contributed to the deficit.

Offering some context to its newly-released financial results, Fiba explained that “in a year without a major Fiba competition and a period of increased investment in the game, 2018 was anticipated to be challenging financially”.

Expenses in 2018 totalled CHF103.6m (down from CHF107.2m in 2017) and included a spend of CHF35.5m on events.

Salary costs rose to CHF18.9m, a jump of CHF7.8m on the figure reported in 2014. However, Fiba has significantly increased its headcount in recent years as it has developed projects such as 3×3 basketball and built up operations in different regional offices.

Commercial revenues in 2018 amounted to CHF75.4m, or 77 per cent of the total. That commercial revenue is split up into CHF54m from media rights, CHF19.4m from sponsorship and CHF2m from “other commercial income.”

A total of CHF16.2m was ascribed to competition revenues, comprising CHF5.8m from the Olympics (and its qualifying tournaments), CHF5.7m from national team competitions and CHF4.7m from club (and “other”) competitions.

Basketball’s world body received a hefty boost to its commercial revenues when Fiba Media and Marketing Services’ 17-year, €500m agreement with Perform (now DAZN Group) took effect in 2017. Rights fees make up the majority of that sum, with DAZN also investing in production, distribution and marketing in a wide-ranging partnership that led to the creation of the ‘Fiba Media’ joint venture.

The ‘Fiba Marketing’ operation was also formed following an agreement between Fiba and the Wanda-owned Infront agency. That deal, which was announced in 2016, covers four Fiba Basketball World Cup cycles up to 2033 and includes the sale of worldwide sponsorship and licensing rights to the World Cups (and their qualifiers), the Continental Cups and Youth World Championships.

Indeed, Fiba’s revenues jumped from CHF59.3m in 2016 to CHF108.2m in 2017, partly due to the new commercial tie-ups taking effect, but also reflective of income from the 2016 Olympics being represented in the 2017 accounts.

Addressing the audience at the international federation’s World Congress in Beijing, secretary general Andreas Zagklis underlined the importance of the commercial revenues guaranteed by the long-term contracts with DAZN and Infront.

He said: “We have an innovative model where the real experts are the ones who go to the market and sell. They are the ones who have a clear briefing from us on what to do. At the same time, while they have been brave enough to believe in our new competition system and guarantee us certain amounts, we are the owners still of these rights and we determine the fate of our competitions and of Fiba.”

“This is very important because it has allowed us to derisk and at the same time it has allowed us to go to the [Fiba] Zone assemblies and say to our friends at the regional offices and to the Zone boards ‘don’t worry, your development budgets are guaranteed.’ And this is not an easy thing to say four years before.”

He added: “Nobody said that we are rich but we are in a position to finance what is the heart of our activities – our competitions and the development of our national federations.”

Commercial activities represented 65 per cent of Fiba’s combined revenues of CHF324.2m during the 2015-2018 cycle, with competition revenues contributing 26 per cent of the total.

Landmark long-term sponsorship deals announced by Fiba during the 2015-2018 period included the agreements with Nike, Tencent and Tissot.

Having invested in Europe’s Basketball Champions League, which debuted in 2016-17, Fiba is also planning to make an investment in a new Basketball Champions League in the Americas region, Zagklis revealed. However, he stressed that the competition would not be a replacement for the existing Liga de las Americas, but that it would serve to take club basketball to a higher professional in the region.