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Panathinaikos Athens serve notice of EuroLeague departure

Getty ImagesGreek basketball giants Panathinaikos Athens have formally expressed their intention to leave EuroLeague Basketball citing the continental club competition’s failure to deliver on revenue projections. In a letter to EuroLeague Basketball chief executive Jordi Bertomeu, Panathinaikos president Manos Papadopoulos said the club wished to terminate their ten-year contract and transfer their license and shares in the competition as soon as possible. Papadopoulos cited the fact that ‘there has been neither useful exploitation, nor increase in the revenues of the EuroLeague product’ since organisers revamped the competition as part of a joint venture signed with IMG in late 2015. The revamp, which was implemented ahead of the 2016/17 season, saw the EuroLeague introduce a new round-robin format and downsize from 24 to 18 teams, with 11 clubs, including Panathinaikos Athens, given permanent berths and a stake in the business. EuroLeague Basketball and IMG had vowed to increase the competition’s revenues through the sale of global media and marketing rights. At the time of the overhaul, it was reported that any club wishing to withdraw from the competition would be required to pay an exit fee of €10 million.

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