Did Croatia Really Commit Promotional Suicide?

Total Croatia News

In advertising there is no such thing as  “there’s enough time” 

It seems we are not the only ones who were taken aback by the lack of promotional activities surrounding the Croatian part of Eurobasket 2015. One would think that an international sports competition of this scale and reputation would be talked about in every corner of the country, however, not everyone seems to agree, at least not the ones in charge of marketing budgets. 

Guys and girls at the Overtime Sports Marketing Agency decided to address this issue and with their permission, we are bringing you their blog post.


Eurobasket: Why did Croatia commit a promotional suicide?


First draft of Overtime’s promo campaign “I live basketball” created in January 2015

We decided to write this post after a number of comments coming from Eurobasket 2015 Croatian LOC (Local Organization Committee) officials about “Croatia not having enough time to host Eurobasket and make a hype about it”. That claim is simply not true, and we will show in detail why that is.


Great news came 361 days ago

It was September 8th, 2014 when FIBA Europe decided to make a historic decision. Because of the difficult political situation in Ukraine, Eurobasket 2015 was handed to France (group & final stage), Germany (group stage), Latvia (group stage) and Croatia (group stage). Heads of European basketball decided to help the hosts and let them choose one of the opponents in their group. Croatia chose Slovenia. That looked like a smart move. Slovenia organized one of the best Eurobasket tournaments just a year before and created a positive basketball atmosphere with a great organizational team.

That was exactly 361 days before the first tip-off in Arena Zagreb.

Just to get you a better perspective, in that moment, Croatian basketball is still living on memories of Dražen Petrović (and will always live, we hope), and a great result from Eurobasket 2013 played in Slovenia (4th place with a newborn positive energy).

Every basketball fan in Croatia felt that hosting Eurobasket 2015 can turn things around for basketball in Croatia. Kids don’t shoot hoops as often as they did in the 1980s & 90s; clubs are in a really bad shape and basketball lost its (at least) 2nd place among the general public.

So, here we are, hosting our 2nd Eurobasket (1st was in 1989 and the whole tournament lasted for 5 days with only 8 teams participating).

There-is-enough-time state of mind

October passed, not a word about Eurobasket, not even in the basketball circles.

November followed the October and then came December, well it was holiday season…

It was the beginning of the 2015 and Croatia was still at square 1.

Very important to remember – this Eurobasket is not only about the tournament but about lighting the basketball spark again. Waking the basketball fans up.

January – Nothing.

We reached out to Croatian Eurobasket LOC (Local Organization Committee) and made the first step. We did the brainstorming, gathered the ideas, made the presentation and got a meeting. Several meetings. It turned out we were not on the same frequency with the opinion makers. We didn’t have (and never will have) the same view on the organization, promotion, storytelling, etc. Neither did the other team(s) who wanted to help and work for Eurobasket.

We decided to upload our presentation (made in January 2015) with a number of promo ideas (we published approx. 40% of proposed activities) for Eurobasket. Just for you to get a picture. We are not saying proposed ideas were good. Or that everything would work. We are simply saying “We brought this to the table and there was enough time to implement these ideas (or any other from any other company that tried to propose something). And there were sponsors interested in covering the costs. They said – No”.

It took us more than two months to get from the first presentation to the last “We don’t agree with your ideas”.

Hopefully, some club or association will use these in the best manner possible. Yes, we could have saved these for another project, but don’t worry, we will come up with something new.

‘OK’, we thought, ‘at least they are aware that ideas are out there’ and they will appoint someone. It was already March. Six months to go.

Frenkie visited schools


Mascot Frenkie started to visit elementary schools and some basketball games.

April went by. May did too.

In April, most of the tickets for group phase in Latvia, France and Germany were already sold, with French LOC reporting 80 thousand tickets sold and Croatian LOC reported “50% of tickets being reserved” (not sold, but reserved, whatever that term meant back then).

During the regional ABA league finals (Cedevita – Crvena Zvezda) Eurobasket wasn’t even mentioned during the games in Zagreb.

Streetball tournaments as a main activity

June came, summer started. So did the streetball 3-on-3 summer tour. Great, finally people will find out about this Eurobasket thing in Croatia.

It seems not even tournaments could go as planned. Here is a screenshot of a basketball fan describing the situation during one of the tournaments and the whole organization, on the official Facebook event.

“Participants didn’t even get the t-shirts they were promised at the beginning of the tournament. Complete disorganization from the start of registration, setting up the court, tournament schedule (there was no schedule and the teams didn’t know when they are playing), the competition was too long, around 20 games lasted from 17:00 to midnight, lousy prizes (2 bags of potato chips), but that wasn’t the primary goal of competitors – value of prizes; it was the Eurobasket tickets that you promised, if they were handed to someone, God knows who got them. In the end, the announcements (without the announcement of winners in the youngest category of the tournament) and taking pictures. It wasn’t all that bad. The best thing that happened – new friendships and mingling after that long, long event…..

You can read the rest of this article HERE



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