Interview with Andreas Zagklis

At the occasion of the last SportAccord in Birmingham, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Secretary General provided a timely update on the latest developments at the governing body.

What are your reflections of the past year at FIBA?

Andrea Zagklis “Over the past 12 months, FIBA has achieved numerous milestones and witnessed significant developments both on and off the court.

The execution of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, held across the three host countries of the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, was a resounding success, generating record-breaking levels of engagement, and 38,115 fans made history with the highest attendance record set on the tournament opening day in the Philippine Arena.

“Additionally, in 2023, FIBA entered a new working cycle marked by the election of new President Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani and new Central Board Members, symbolising a fresh era of leadership.

“The women’s calendar saw notable advancements with the introduction of new competition formats, including Pre-Qualifying tournaments for the Olympic Games and the World Cup, fostering increased participation of national teams on the international stage.

“Anticipation heightened with the announcement of Germany as the host for the women’s World Cup in 2026 and Qatar for the men’s World Cup in 2027. Moreover, our 3×3 season achieved remarkable success, recording 3,522 games across 169 events, including 18 stops on the World Tour, solidifying its position as a dynamic and thriving aspect of basketball and setting a high bar for 2024.”

How has this anticipation and excitement translated into fan engagement?

AZ: “Last year’s social media platforms experienced an unprecedented surge in numbers, underscoring a clear global appetite for basketball content. The bestever numbers across @FIBA channels saw FIBA ranked No.1 for engagement and video views among Olympic International Federations.

There was also huge growth with 3×3 in 2023 in terms of TV, digital and events, with 3×3’s digital channels being the driving force of fan engagement, garnering 1.1 billion views across all platforms.”

What are FIBA’s current priorities and objectives?

AZ: “Our ongoing commitment to FIBA’s strategic objectives remains steadfast, with updated priorities outlined during the 2023 Congress. Empowering National Federations and Women in Basketball were both extended for another four years, while Shaping International Club Competitions across FIBA’s regions was added. Complementing these core priorities are four additional objectives, spanning the realms of 3×3, national team competitions, youth basketball and a commitment to sustainability and innovation. “In alignment with our dedication to equality, FIBA Commissions and Working Groups were confirmed for the current cycle with a strong focus on gender balance.

Aiming for excellence, our collective focus also extends to the successful delivery of both disciplines at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. With the 3×3 debut in Tokyo a resounding success, we are sure that Paris 2024 will provide even more memorable moments for fans across the globe and we’re focused on enhancing fan experience and bringing the game’s excitement closer to our global audience.”

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing FIBA in 2024?

AZ: “A primary objective for FIBA involves prioritising the advancement of opportunities for women in basketball, with a dedicated effort to nurture growth and inclusivity throughout every aspect of the sport. Simultaneously, as an organisation, we grapple with the intricate task of navigating the complex geopolitical landscape we all presently face and the current global issues that are impacting the sports arena.”

What are your expectations for the coming months?

AZ: “With FIBA 3×3 having boomed in 2023, we are looking ahead with great anticipation as the field for Paris 2024 gets set with Olympic Qualifying Tournaments taking place. We expect the continued increase in prize money, marking 12 consecutive years of growth for men and significant increases for women, and we anticipate breathtaking venues, with a particular spotlight on the Place de la Concorde for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Not to mention the FIBA 3×3 World Tour, which will span four continents in 2024, offering world-class sports action and entertainment in 15 remarkable cities, each adding a unique flavour to the tour.”