US sports and entertainment consulting firm Elevate Sports Ventures has made its latest move into the European marketplace by agreeing a partnership with Euroleague Basketball centred on its showpiece event, the Final Four.

Elevate has been engaged to support the end of season event for top-tier club competition the EuroLeague through global strategy, ticketing, fan and premium hospitality experience, and event management.

Additionally, given Elevate’s proficiency in professional sports and live event operations, the agency will design a comprehensive strategy for in-arena and city-wide fan and premium experiences celebrating the Final Four.

The partnership agreement between Euroleague Basketball and Elevate was assisted by sports marketing consultancy G2 Strategic, a long-time business advisor of Euroleague having contributed in different strategic initiatives including the recent creation of the EuroLeague Business Operations & Club Services division. 

In September, Cologne’s Lanxess Arena secured hosting rights to the 2021 EuroLeague Final Four. Euroleague Basketball was originally due to stage the 2020 edition of its showpiece event in the German city, only for the organisation to decide to cancel its 2019-20 competitions back in May due to the impact of COVID-19.

Cologne will now become the focal point of European basketball from May 28-30, with the 18,000-capacity Lanxess Arena to play host. Commenting on the Elevate deal, Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball president and CEO, said in a statement: “We are extremely satisfied to be partnering with Elevate Sports Ventures, one of the biggest entertainment consulting firms, which has identified Euroleague Basketball as its ambassador in the European market.

“This partnership is built upon a common vision to innovate, an interest in re-imagining the premium experience, and dedication to engaging the fan in dynamic, new ways during the most important event of the season, the Final Four.

“Their enormous expertise with some of the most renowned sports properties, like the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, shows the high level of professionalism that will help bring the Final Four to a new level.”

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, Bertomeu said he believes some fans will be allowed to attend this year’s Final Four. He added: “We are still confident that some percentage of fans will be allowed.

“So, what we are trying to see is how we can compensate the fact that it will be a different Final Four compared to the previous 16, 17 editions where a Final Four has been typically the big party of European basketball, the showcase of European basketball. In the next weeks or months, we will try to figure out how to do this in the best way possible and how to be close to our fans if they cannot be with us.”

For Elevate, the Euroleague deal comes after it partnered with Co-op Live in January to support premium hospitality marketing and sales at the 23,500-seat venue, which will become the UK’s biggest arena when it opens in Manchester in 2023.

Al Guido, chairman and CEO of Elevate Sports Ventures, said in a statement: “We are confident together we will amplify fan activations, premium offerings and partnership opportunities that will see the EuroLeague Final Four recognised as one of sports preeminent global events.

“Our goal at Elevate Sports Ventures is to use our people, process and technology to support and guide our clients, and their teams, brands, venues and properties, to emerge from this period positioned for success.” 

Regarding specific plans for the Final Four, Elevate president Chip Bowers told the AP: “We’ve talked about how can it be more reflective of, say, maybe what you see in the United States around a Super Bowl week or what you may see around some of the biggest sporting events we have.

“You can bring communities together to engage in a lot of different passions of life and use that particular event as a gravitational pull to bring people from different cultures together to celebrate this moment in time.”