Endesa settles title sponsorship row with Spanish basketball league and partners with EuroLeague
By Simon Ward
Endesa, the Spanish electricity supplier, is reported to have resolved a dispute with the country’s top basketball league over its title sponsorship, and has stepped up its commitment to the sport by becoming a partner of Euroleague Basketball, the organiser of top European competitions.
The conflict with the ACB, which organises the Liga Endesa, has been settled, with the company set to remain the title sponsor for the next four years, paying a variable fee of between €17 million ($18.9 million) and €19 million over the length of the contract, according to El Pais.
Endesa had threatened to take legal action after it was reported that, last November, Francisco Roca, the president of the ACB, had told the clubs at the organisation’s assembly that an agreement had been reached with Movistar, a subsidiary of Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica, to give its name to the league, starting with the 2017-18 season.
Endesa claimed that its existing deal specified that it had a right of first refusal to stay on as the title sponsor.
It is hoped that the resolution of the dispute will help revive solidarity in Spanish basketball after top clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid, Baskonia and Unicaja walked out of a working meeting last week with a threat to create a “private project.”
Endesa told El Pais: “The intention of Endesa has always been to continue with the ACB and we have demonstrated it. In spite of the existing conflicts we continue supporting the Spanish basketball league.
“We are convinced that everything is going to be solved and we do not conceive a competition without the four EuroLeague teams.”
Endesa’s initial deal, which came into effect in the 2011-12 season envisaged total investment of €30.5 million over six years, and the company’s contribution has risen from €4 million per year to €5.5 million per year over the course of the contract.
It is understood that the clubs regard the new agreement, which is worth less than €5 million per year, as satisfactory given that television audiences have fallen by between 70 and 75 per cent this season now that exclusive rights are held by Telefónica’s Movistar Plus.
Under the new three-year deal with Euroleague Basketball, Endesa will be a regional sponsor of the top-tier Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and second-tier 7DAYS EuroCup, with a presence at events in Spanish venues and on broadcast and digital platforms.
The partnership has been announced ahead of this weekend’s EuroLeague Final Four in Istanbul, which features Real Madrid.
Roser Queraltó, chief business development executive at Euroleague Basketball, said: "We are very happy to welcome Endesa, a true basketball supporter, to the Euroleague Basketball family. The trust that major brands like Endesa are placing in Euroleague Basketball to reach a worldwide audience is constantly growing.
"They see that our leagues perfectly connect to the fans with a quality message that speaks their language. The new formats launched this season in both leagues offer brands an even greater opportunity to make those connections in the most efficient way."
Endesa added: "Every time that a Spanish basketball fan lights up after his team wins, Endesa is there to celebrate with him. If that success takes place in the EuroLeague, one of the most-followed competitions, our interest doubles.
"Endesa's commitment to this sport has gone beyond the 'sponsor' concept to become an alliance on and off the court that consolidates and grows with this new step."