Interview: Luca Scafati on Euroleague BOCS Department


Euroleague Basketball has announced the launch of a new initiative to work with clubs across all commercial areas to maximize revenues and create long-term business sustainability.

The newly formed Euroleague BOCS (Business Operations & Club Services) is working to help Turkish Airlines EuroLeague clubs grow their off-court operations by becoming a hub of best global business practices and club business metrics. The initiative is also providing tailor-made advice and consultation to each EuroLeague club on a wide variety of business topics. These include sponsorship, ticketing, premium seating, digital, merchandising and licensing, communications, fan engagement, arena usage, venue development, organizational structure and executive recruitment.

Fox Sports Stories Founder Pavlos Pavlidis and Editor Edgar Dinis Goncalves had the honor to conduct an interview with the Director of Business Operations and Head of BOCS, Luca Scafati.

1) Can you explain briefly what is the BOCS department? 

EuroLeague BOCS (Business Operations & Club Services) is a unique in-house consulting group – inspired by the north American professional leagues model (NBA’s TMBO – Team Marketing & Business Operations, MLS and NHL Clubs Business Services) that makes Euroleague Basketball lead the way in collaborating with its clubs to guide the transition to a business-oriented structure by setting principles, standards and priorities in all revenue-generation areas. Ultimately, BOCS is a service organization that has the expertise and resources to become a treasure trove of knowledge, and disseminating that information back to the clubs on a regular basis.  Fundamentally, the role of the department is to consult, train and implement best practices at club’s level.

2) What factors drove Euroleague Basketball to create the BOCS Department?

Indeed one of the Euroleague Basketball’s highest priority, which is the long-term economic health of our clubs. Additionally, BOCS promotes our brands as standing for innovation, allow league and clubs to work hand-in-hand to enhance the quality of club business structures and strategies, in the context of service rather than as an enforcer of rules and create a platform for our clubs to adapt a business culture anchored by information sharing and transparency, building trust between the league and its clubs.

3) What short-term feedback can you give regarding BOCS implementation/efficiency thus far?

The EuroLeague clubs have appreciated the possibility they were given through the BOCS platform to be working together for the growth of the league. What is more, thanks to a constant communication between us and each club and periodic in-market visits we, as a league, had the possibility to know more about our clubs, their markets, their strategy and vision, their challenges and has allowed to get the league and the clubs one step closer and united for one common goal, the growth of the business.

4) What can we expect in 3 to 5 year span regarding the BOCS department success?

The ultimate goal is the financial sustainability of our clubs, that can only be achieved if we are open-minded, have an appetite for disruption, are eager for innovation and ready to embark on a cultural revolution. We all have to adapt our business practices to demographic shifts and the expectation of customers.

5) BOCS is consisted of how many employees? Also from which business fields?

We are now 4 people in total including a US-based business consultant who is a former NBA team president and league executive with extensive knowledge of the European sport business market. Myself and my colleagues at Euroleague have grown within the company gaining expertise across several business areas such as ticket and premium seating sales, partnerships and business development in general. Additionally, BOCS relies on the expertise of the whole organisation, thanks to a constant collaboration with other departments, such as the marketing, branding, digital and partnerships.

6) What are you currently working on?

At the moment we are working with each club to implement a more business oriented organizational structure, promoting senior business managers positions and strengthening outside and inside sales roles. Additionally, we are developing a set of arena quality standards aimed to enhance the quality of the services and give the possibility to all EuroLeague fans and customers to enjoy the best possible experience when they attend EuroLeague games.

7) Do you think that the same initiative can be applied to other sport leagues too, for example football?

I am sure that establishing a division that allow leagues and clubs to activate and maintain a constant flow of communication aimed at taking actions for the business growth of all the parties involved is something that should be replicated in any European leagues. Teams are competitors on the pitch, but they must be business partners off it in order for the league to become successful.

8) Were the clubs welcoming such an initiative from Euroleague?

Any initiatives that provide services and a great voice to the clubs in the development of the business of the leagues is obviously welcomed by themselves. I was particularly glad once I saw the strong commitment of the club presidents and general managers and their willing to take an active role during our meetings.

9) What are the challenges that you are currently facing?

Honestly speaking, we are not facing big challenges, thanks to the great feedback and good cooperation we are having with each one of our clubs. On the other hand we are fully aware that it needs time to achieve all the results and the objectives that we have set.

10) What kind of software are you using to carry out your job at BOCS?

We are now working on the development of a tailor-made software. We needed to build a digital hub of business information, that allowed us to collect and analyze data, qualitative and quantitative information and business results. We have designed the software in-house and are currently talking with a few software companies for the implementation.