Most Lithuanian people like basketball and even call this game their second religion. One group likes to play it, while other enjoys watching this entertaining game. It could seem strange, but nowadays it is very difficult to see interesting game between Lithuanian teams as there are two strong teams and lots of weaker, which can compete between each other, but not with those two teams. For most basketball fans it looks normal, but there are people who see a problem here. So it is needed to think what influenced that huge gulf between the two groups and it definitely should be difference between major and minor clubs‘ budgets.
What is more, Lithuanian basketball teams do not have effective team management what often lead to having poor teams‘ line-ups. Also, in my opinion, local basketball is not popular because prices in arenas are too high. All this show us that Lithuanian local basketball requires drastic changes. First of all, basketball is a sport number one in Lithuania, so it would sound reasonable that basketball clubs should receive annual financial support from government. But it is not so. Most basketball clubs blame government if they do not manage to pay out wages for basketball players on time.
Government always promises to transfer some amount of money, but they are always late or even do not transfer. For example, basketball club „Techasas“ have not received money for two years, despite the fact that government promised to give them money. It is just a simple example because „Techasas“ is a minor club in Lithuania. When talking about major clubs, „Zalgiris“ is a perfect sample. Two years ago most Lithuanians thought that „Zalgiris“ would go bankrupt as club did not have money to pay for the players.
Everybody knew that government was guilty for that. Our politicians at the beginning of season promised„Zalgiris“ that they will transfer money, but unfortunately they did not. That led team to the bad financial situation: club was not able to pay wages for the players. People really thought that legendary Lithuanian club would die but later one millionaire bought the club with all debts and raised “Zalgiris” from the dead. Of course, this ending is happy, but the only reason why is that it was “Zalgiris”.
If “Techasas” had been in such a situation, probably now there would not be that club. From this reasoning it could be seen that private supporters tend to give money only for major clubs, they know that investing money in minor clubs is not reasonable and they do not get any dividends. If everybody would change their thinking and start giving money for the clubs, basketball would become more interesting and competitive as clubs would be able to gather similar-level teams. These changes will destroy that huge gulf between two groups of the teams.
Secondly, Lithuanian basketball has one more huge problem – they buy lots of foreign players and forget that Lithuania has lots of talented players who do not have clubs or play in second or third domestic basketball league. If we compare average foreign players with Lithuanian, the main difference will be price. Foreigners are few times more expensive than Lithuanian, but their playing skills are almost equal. This fact means that teams do not value Lithuanian players and think that foreigners are prestigious sign. Of course, it would not be fair to say that teams buy only players from abroad, of course there are lots of native players.
More over, teams buy young players and expect that they would play in their club in the future. Unfortunately, later clubs see that these players fall short of their hopes. The main reason of this is clubs’ thinking. Teams think that young players would become stars only by going to the trainings – without playing in the games. Everybody could see that lots of players who was expected to be stars, now are just average because they were sitting on the bench during the games. Clubs should definitely buy these young stars, but borrow them for teams where they would get lots of playing experience.
Lastly, all teams want fast results and do not care about the future. All people can see how teams’ rosters change after each season and it is a bad sign. Just take a look at Serbia’s basketball club Belgrade “Partizan”, last year this team managed to be among Top 4 European teams, while it was one of the youngest team in the competition. But it is not a miracle, it is just a reflect result of long and expedient work. So Lithuanian basketball needs some major changes in team’s management. Finally, teams do not manage to gather full arenas as prices are too high. Prices should be reasonable to the team.
I think there would not be lots of people who would like to pay huge prices to see only average level basketball. So if team is just average level, prices also should be quite low. Also food and drinks are too expensive as people usually spend their money to buy a ticket and do not want to waste more for the food or drinks as they unreasonable expensive. More over, during the match audience is not entertained enough – there aren’t games during the breaks where spectators would be involved. If the prices would be decreased and number of entertaining events increased, teams definitely had earned much more money.
No doubt, lots of people think that everything is good. They like watching how foreigners are playing, they do not care that there are only two major teams or that arenas during the matches are half-empty. Of course, these people like basketball only because everybody around them likes it. But real fans think about basketball’s future. Now situation is a little bit intimidating, but it could lead to basketball’s death after few decades. In conclusion, every Lithuanian should start helping Lithuanian basketball. Supporters should support all the clubs, not only major.
Government should fulfill their promises. Basketball clubs should improve their management skills and buy as much Lithuanian players as possible because foreigners are not the best way to improve results. Also, everybody should remember that results come only after long and hard work, give several years and team could be the champion. Finally, it is needed to remember that people pay only for reasonable prices, so if prices would be lower, more people would come to watch games and improve teams’ financial situation. Only changes and purposeful work will lead Lithuanian basketball to the highness.