Death of Bill Russell, American basketball legend and civil rights defender

He was for his family “the most prolific winner in American sports history” and for former President Barack Obama ” a giant “ : Bill Russell, crowned eleven-time NBA champion with the Celtics and civil rights defender, died on Sunday July 31.

“Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, died peacefully today at the age of 88, with his wife Jeannine at his bedside”announced his family on the Twitter account of the former player.

Upon the announcement of his death, the NBA paid tribute to the “greatest champion of all team sports”. His record is impressive and will probably never be equaled: in thirteen seasons in the NBA, all under the green jersey of the Boston Celtics, Russell won eleven league titles, a record that still stands, including eight in a row from 1959 to 1966.

Figure of American society

Although he ended his career with a very respectable average of 15.1 points per game, Russell made a name for himself thanks to his defense: from the height of his 2.08 m, he was intractable and sickened his opponents with their counters. He was also the first black American appointed to head a professional sports franchise across the Atlantic and the first to be crowned, in his second year (1967), at the head of ” his “ Celtics.

It is also outside the basketball courts that Russell has become a figure in American society, which earned him in 2011 from the hands of Barack Obama the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American civilian honor.

“Today we lost a giant”reacted to the announcement of his death the former American president. “On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off the pitch, he was a civil rights pioneer, marching with Doctor (Martin Luther) King and standing alongside Muhammad Ali. »

Advance the cause of civil rights

Born in 1934 in Louisiana, in a Deep South still living under a regime of racial discrimination, before moving with his family to California in the 1940s, Russell used his notoriety to advance the cause of civil rights. In 1963, he participated in Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.

“Bill stood for something much bigger than sport: the values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion that he inscribed in our league’s DNA”NBA boss Adam Silver said in a statement.

While the date of his funeral has not yet been set, his family hoped that “Each of us finds ways to speak and act Bill’s way, without compromise, with dignity and an always constructive approach.”



In search of funding, the sports world seizes on NFTs

On May 17, the Sedan Ardennes Sports Club (CSSA) is launching its collection of “non-fungible tokens” (or NFT, for Non-Fungible Token). Sorry ? Who does what ? Yes, the Sedan football club, illustrious for its unexpected final of the Coupe de France in 1999 and its unexpected adventure in Ligue 1 the same year and continued until 2003, which today points to National 1 (the third division) , dare the bet NFT, these digital assets whose title of ownership is guaranteed by a particular technology, the blockchain.

→ EXPLANATION. What are NFTs, this new digital passion?

In concrete terms, the CSSA will produce exactly 11,011 digital cards bearing the image of the club’s mascot, a wild boar. Each is obviously unique, and these cards can be acquired from next May for a few “ethers”, a cryptocurrency competing with bitcoin. Buyers will then benefit from some special advantages involving them in the life of the club.

Leading sectors: luxury and sport

It is this dimension that its president, Marc Dubois, wants to emphasize first: “We want to expand and retain a community of fans well beyond our small department, which has less than 270,000 inhabitants”, he says. The economic dimension is obviously also present. Even if it is difficult for a National team to sell its image, any source of income is good to take “for a club born in 1919 and which has never managed to balance its accounts”summarizes Marc Dubois.

The CSSA is in fact not the only one to want to explore this innovative digital field. “The two sectors investing the most in this ecosystem today are luxury and sport”assures Emmanuelle Dubois, co-founder of the Coinception agency, which supports Sedan in its NFT offer.

In fact, not a day goes by without a club or athlete announcing their conversion to NFTs or other cryptoassets such as tokens. The success of the French start-up Sorare, which publishes collectible NFTs of some 6,000 footballers, valued at nearly 4 billion euros in the fall of 2021, is bound to inspire. In February 2022, one of his unique cards, that of Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, sold for more than €600,000.

→ EXPLANATION. Sorare becomes the most expensive start-up in France

The former coach of the XV of France (2007-2011) Marc Lievremont and the ex-footballer of the PSG Alain Roche, associated with the company Sponsorlive, hope to crunch the success with Fanlivecards, a collection dedicated to rugby launched this month of april. Tennis coach Patrick Miratoglou put a collection called “The Coach” on sale at the end of March, after which buyers could be invited to matches or personalized coaching sessions. In November 2021, Belgian Jumbo-Visma cyclist Wout Van Aert auctioned three “sporting moments”, NFTs of his victories in the 2021 Tour at Ventoux and on the Champs-Élysées, and the classic Strade Bianche in 2020. All sold for €47,000.

The risks of a very speculative universe

If these NFTs are later resold, each new transaction should earn a percentage for the champion and his team. For these rugby cards, Marc Lievremont promises 30% for clubs and 10% for players. “The current craze shows to what extent sports players are looking for new income, in particular to replace online bettors whose sponsorship is increasingly prohibited in Europe.underlines the economist Jérémie Bastien, teacher at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. But for the time being, NFTs are not yet bringing them much, and it is above all the digital players who are doing well.”

→ ANALYSIS. Art, luxury and video games, NFT “digital tokens” are popular

Is the nascent market destined to develop to become unavoidable? Its strengths are real. “NFTs establish a direct link with supporters, which is very valuable from a marketing point of view, and these digital products being much easier to sell than traditional derivative products, they also make it possible to reach an audience all over the world”recalls economist Philippe Herlin, a specialist in monetary issues.

But the expert also points to the main limit of the system in the making: speculation. “When you buy an NFT, you are making a double bet. On the intrinsic value of the NFT first, which in the long term is not obvious: what will a Messi NFT be worth in five years? On the value of the cryptocurrency which is then used for exchanges, the course of which is also volatile. I am not sure that this double risk is well taken into account. »

It prevents. NFTs are on the rise, and clubs are watching with interest the technological promises of tomorrow, as observed by Emmanuelle Dubois, who concludes: “When our interlocutors hear about Web3, the new generation of the Internet, and virtual universes like the metaverse, they say to themselves that we shouldn’t miss the boat. »


Crazy about tokens

Tokens are another kind of digital “tokens”. Also sold in cryptocurrency, they allow passionate buyers to have certain privileges, for example to vote for the sentence to be inscribed on the armband of the captain of a football club. PSG, Manchester City, Juventus or Barcelona, ​​among others, publish it. About 3% of Lionel Messi’s salary at PSG is paid in tokens.

The basketball club L’Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez will innovate on April 26 by opening part of its capital to the general public in the form of tokens. “It will be a world first”has just announced the Courtepointe Sports Group, the American investor who bought the club in June 2021.



Covid-19, French sport worried about the return of gauges

The improvement lasted barely six months. Removed on June 30, the gauges are back in sports arenas from Monday, January 3 and for the next three weeks in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19. The objective: to try to slow down the propagation of the Omicron variant. The number of spectators is therefore limited to 5,000 in outdoor stadiums and 2,000 in indoor venues. The consumption of food and drink is also prohibited.

Winter promises to be harsh for the French rugby, basketball, handball and volleyball teams, which, unlike football, do not benefit from major television rights. Some clubs fear their revenues will collapse, with their business models primarily relying on ticketing and sponsor-related events.

Ticket office losses

All are not housed in the same boat: the clubs really affected are those which enjoy an average attendance of over 2,000 people. A rare fact in French volleyball, but which concerns, for example, the Tours club. “We have more than 2,800 spectators on average out of a total capacity of 3,100 seats”, indicates Pascal Foussard, a former player who is now the club’s general manager.

→ ANALYSIS Basket: under the French baskets, the recovery

In addition to ticket office losses, the fact of not being able to honor the services promised to partners (such as reserved seats, for example) worries the manager: “Our partners are not going to continue paying for a show that we are no longer able to provide to them. “Enough to “Jeopardize the economic future of the club”, he continues, while 60% of the Volley-Ball Tours budget depends on this part “Hospitality” and ticket sales.

“We are still being punished”

Beyond the strict financial losses, it is the feeling that sport is once again sacrificed that most frustrates Pascal Foussard: “We have always adapted to the requirements of the State to limit the risks and we are still being punished. In volleyball, we don’t have television: without an audience, we don’t even have a reason to play! “

A bitterness shared by Gaëtan Müller, general manager of Asvel, the Lyon-Villeurbanne basketball club. If he “Understands the health imperative”, he is surprised at the early return of restrictions: “It is difficult to hear these measures, because we have been implementing drastic health protocols for several months and we have never been at the origin of a cluster. “

The Astroballe, the team’s lair, had to refuel for the next three games at home, against Monaco, Red Star Belgrade and neighbor Roanne. Gaëtan Müller has already quantified the ticket office losses: “With 2,000 spectators instead of 5,500, we are losing € 150,000 over the next three matches. “

State support?

For its part, men’s handball will suffer little from the situation since the French championship will not resume before February 5 because of the Euro, scheduled for January 13 to 30 in Hungary and Slovakia. Women’s clubs are more concerned. In particular Brest and Metz, which welcome more than 2,000 spectators on average in their rooms.

Metz Handball are due to play four home games in the next three weeks, including two in the Champions League. “ This decreases revenue by 50% ”, said Tuesday, December 28 Thierry Weizman, president of the club, who hoped to see his team evolve in front of 4,000 supporters.

→ ANALYSIS Faced with the pandemic, women’s sport “is in the rough”

The world of the oval ball is also grinding its teeth. “Rugby is a convivial sport whose resources, more than 60% on average, are linked to the presence of the public and to partners during matches”, explained the director general of the National Rugby League, Emmanuel Eschalier, the day after the announcement of the new restrictions. In Top 14, the elite of hexagonal rugby, the average attendance approaches 15,000 spectators. It even exceeds 20,000 at the Toulouse Stadium and is close to 25,000 in Bordeaux, at the Chaban-Delmas stadium.

To make up for the losses, many leaders are calling for more state support. “We cannot carry out our work properly, it would be logical for the State to help us”, believes Gaëtan Müller. This help would prove to be even more precious if the health situation were to worsen.

All fear that the restrictions will tighten. “If it lasts three weeks, it will be fine, confides Pascal Foussard. But we don’t want to relive the closed-door nightmare. “


Towards proportional gauges?

Many voices, especially from the soccer world, are calling for the gauges to be proportional to the size of the enclosure. “One in two seats, that had a real meaning”, regretted the director general of RC Strasbourg Alain Plet, judging “Incomprehensible” a tonnage of 5,000 people in stadiums with a capacity often exceeding 20,000 people. A call heard by the deputies: an amendment was adopted in committee of the National Assembly, against the advice of the government, to set up proportional gauges. The bill is discussed in session from Monday, January 3.



Basketball forced to rethink its distribution method

Funny rebound. Since the start of the season, basketball has been looking in vain for a place in the small skylight. A shame for a discipline which has just won silver and bronze in the men’s and women’s tournaments at the Tokyo Olympics.

The French championship? It has never been so high, with an effort to recruit clubs and the arrival of a few welcome sizes. The Euroleague? It is the first time in six years that two French clubs have played elbows under its baskets with Asvel and Monaco. And yet nothing, if not through the small end of the telescope.

For the French championship, you have to zap on Sport en France, the channel of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, or track the regional stalls of France 3, to see one match per week for free. Otherwise, everything happens on the streaming platform of the National Basketball League (LNB), with an “OTT service” (content accessible via the Internet, on computer, tablet or smartphone) as we say in digital jargon. All the matches are broadcast there, but most of them are captured by automated cameras. For the Euroleague, it is also possible to subscribe to an equivalent service, but for 79 € per season.

Focus on the Internet and 100% free

This lack of visibility, is it serious doctor? Not if one believes Alain Béral, the president of the LNB. Who does not even want to hear about visibility at half mast: “Because it’s wrong, protests the leader. On our platform, we sometimes record audiences two or three times higher than those we had on matches broadcast by RMC Sport! “ Alain Béral ​​is referring to the period 2015-2020, when basketball still benefited from a broadcaster paying 10 million euros per season for the French championship.

“Since the withdrawal of this partner, as no one offered us satisfactory exposure, we have chosen a free and unencrypted distribution, continues Alain Béral. We are betting on our OTT, which is quite unique in Europe, and we are going to improve its quality by investing in the production of premium matches. We will soon have to vote for an envelope of several hundred thousand euros for this purpose. “

Still, the absence of a broadcasting partner is also a loss of income, the LNB still distributing 7 million euros to clubs in 2019-2020, most of it coming from television rights. “We must recognize that basketball has missed the boat compared to sports such as rugby or handball, emphasizes Antoine Feuillet, lecturer and specialist in sports rights at the University of Paris-Saclay. Its product is subject to competition from the American championship, the NBA, and lacks attractiveness, with private clubs of the big stars who are precisely in the United States, and numbers that turn a lot and do not facilitate identification with teams. “

A sports story to re-enchant

This marketing work around the product is still the poor relation of many sports. “For too long, the sports leagues have had it easy with broadcasters who fought to pay, rather expensive, a show broadcast live”, notes Arnaud Simon, former CEO of Eurosport and adviser to sports organizations through his company In & Out Stories.

Except that today he continues, the channels are first thinking of reducing costs, and are now focusing only on a few flagship sports. The others must innovate, by launching OTT platforms of course, but also by offering more regular meetings, more diverse and more personalized content. The leagues have to be really active to think of an attractive product, and then slowly get the fan used to repaying. “

The modes of consumption of sport, in full upheaval, in fact destabilize the whole community. The great communions around live broadcasts are not yet a thing of the past, as the hearings of the last football Euro proved. “But it’s more complicated than before to capture the attention of the spectator on the whole of a match, assures Antoine Feuillet. Everyone, both broadcasters and leagues, must therefore think about re-enchanting the sports story, which has hardly changed for thirty years. “

→ CRITICAL. 6 docu-series to get back to sport

New stories exist, in Formula 1 in particular, with the documentary series Pilots of their destiny launched in 2019 by Netflix. The drivers, also very present on social networks, attract young spectators, long insensitive to the great automobile circus. The discipline is benefiting from a real renewed interest, as measured by the increase in Grand Prix audiences on Canal +. No doubt an example to think about, for basketball and others.


Difficulties, even for football

The call for tenders launched by the French Football Federation for the exclusive rights to the France team over the period 2022-2028 was not a great success. The two current broadcasters, TF1 and M6, only offered 2.5 million euros per game, against 3.5 million at the current price. The call for tenders is therefore unsuccessful for the time being. Remember that the matches of the Blues must be broadcast in the clear, which limits the suitors, and that TF1 and M6, pending marriage, also have no interest in raising the bill. “But above all, the channels no longer accept to lose money on certain products, and uncertainty therefore hangs over all television rights., comments the academic Antoine Feuillet. For the France team, it may seem crazy, but it is the downward trend of the moment. “



Tokyo Olympics: French basketball players fail to overthrow the American mountain

The step was too high, but they seemed to have the stature to take it. French basketball players lost to the Americans (82-87) in the Olympic final of the basketball tournament in Saitama, 30 km north of Tokyo, on Saturday, August 7. The “Team USA” thus won its sixteenth gold medal in nineteen appearances at the Olympic Games.

At the Tokyo Olympics, France shines as a collective

The French leader, Nicolas Batum, has his arms folded and staring into space. But from the defeat, he prefers to draw a reason for rejoicing: “ Not being satisfied with ourselves when we win an Olympic medal is a good thing. French basketball has come to this!

First medal in 21 years

Because the course of the France team in Tokyo was until then a faultless one: no defeat since the start of the tournament, a victory against the United States in pools and a semi-final snatched by a point against Slovenia Thursday. Enough to give wings to a team returning from a long crossing of the desert at the Olympics: the last finals, lost, dated from 2000 and 1948.

Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games: the adventure of 3 x 3 basketball has started well

On Saturday, the opponent was a cut above. “ We knew we had a mountain in front of us. They have individualities which are far above what we can play every day “, summarizes Nando de Colo. The American train was pulled by a locomotive: Kevin Durant, 29 points all by himself. Imperial.

Lots of bullet losses

The Blues however believed in it until the end, even coming back to three points ten seconds from the end. In vain. The 18 ball losses and the 11 missed free throws throughout the game weigh heavily in the balance, and feed regrets.

We made several mistakes, regrets coach Vincent Collet, in office since 2009. But I’m proud of my players, we played with heart and intelligence. Tonight there was a real match He adds, even forgetting that the dial indicates 2:30 p.m. as he speaks.

The final was indeed held at 11:30 am in Saitama. Unusual schedule for players but tailor-made for American viewers (10:30 p.m.): the giant American broadcaster NBC weighs heavily when it comes to negotiating with the IOC the calendar of basketball events.

In Tokyo, the Olympic Games on the sly

Behind closed doors, the final nevertheless took place in front of nearly a thousand people: Games volunteers, members of delegations and journalists from all over the world. Not enough to fill the 21,000 seats in the Saitama Super Arena, however. The speakers in the room therefore spat out a confusing false audience soundtrack, similar to the hubbub of a restaurant room.

The Blues won in Saitama the 28th French medal of the Tokyo Games. And take a date for the next deadline: “ We are a young group who do not yet have a lot of experience together, explains Evan Fournier, author of 16 points. We are going up, we were 3rd at the World Cup in China in 2019, we are 2e here. We have to keep climbing. »So that the mountain is no longer inaccessible.



Basketball, the Blue pocket the bronze in Tokyo

The semi-final loss to Japan on Friday August 6 looked like a rout. But the French basketball players were able to draw on their mental resources to win Olympic bronze at the Tokyo Games on Saturday in Saitama. They largely beat (91-76) the Serbs in the match for 3rd place.

The Bleues of Valérie Garnier had only 17 hours to catch their breath and regain their spirits after the semi-final. They were able to show great aggressiveness to take their revenge on Serbia, who had beaten them in the Euro final in June. They thus offer France a 29th medal in these Olympic Games.

→ Tokyo Olympics: French basketball players fail to overthrow the American mountain

Taking off in the last minutes, the Blue were able to keep the Serbs at bay during the second half of the match, taking their risks on the pitch and concentrated in defense. Their joy at the end of the match was tinged with a spirit of revenge after the rain of criticism they had suffered after the Euro, where they were favorites.

In Tokyo, they hoped to return to an Olympic final nine years after London-2012. It will finally be bronze, at the end of a beautiful course where they also beat their great Spanish rivals in the quarterfinals.

Their medal comes on top of the silver of their male counterparts, narrowly beaten by the United States hours earlier. Basketball thus contributes remarkably to the success of the French in team sports during this Olympiad.

→ READ ALSO At the Tokyo Olympics, France shines as a collective



At the Tokyo Olympics, France shines as a collective

It is an unexpected equation that the presidents of the French basketball, handball and volleyball federations tried to solve on Wednesday August 4. “We wondered how we were going to do if all the teams had to come home on Monday, with a medal, laughs the president of the handball federation, Philippe Bana. Because there will be no more room on the plane! Puzzle of the privileged.

→ EDITORIAL. “Together” at the Tokyo Olympics

Four hours after this meeting, France confirmed a full historical record: the French basketball players joined the men’s hand, volleyball and basketball teams, also qualifying for the last four. And thus prolonging their stay in Tokyo until the end of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, this weekend.

“The Olympics have become a Holy Grail for our handball players”

In the empty enclosure of the Yoyogi gymnasium, in the heart of the Shibuya district in Tokyo, Wednesday, August 4, the Blue handball have mastered the game against the Dutch, reigning world champions (32-22). Relentless. They will face Sweden on Friday at 10 a.m. (French time).

→ ANALYSIS. Medals at the Tokyo Olympics: the French women at the rendezvous, not the men

If the stands were empty, the players got into the clothes of their own supporters, never ceasing to encourage and applaud each other from the bench and on the field. And to exult at the final whistle: “We are in semis, we are in semis! “

“The opponent is very, very good, it’s a team that is able to go to the end”, can only recognize the French coach of the Netherlands, Emmanuel Mayonnade. “Over time, the French handball clock has set to Olympic time, rejoices Philippe Bana. The Olympics have become a Holy Grail for our handball players, which is not the case in all sports. We manage to transmit this trademark. Each team is made up of three thirds: the rookies (young people), the middle class (who have already done international competitions) and the tauliers, responsible for ensuring the transmission. “

Communicative joy

Like a wink from fate, thirty kilometers further north, the tricolor basketball players were also scrapping for a place in the semi-finals. They won on the wire against Spain (67-64). They will face Japan on Friday at 1 p.m. and will be keen to do better than in Rio (4e) and in London (2e).

“Going to the hall, we saw the basketball players also leave. We said to each other: ‘go sports co’, we are all going to the semi-finals togethere“”, smiles handball player Laura Flippes, after the match. Deal. “We’re super happy for team sports. We watch them play, we try to learn from their strength! “, continues her teammate Méline Nocandy.

Among the men of “BHV” (basketball, hand, volleyball), the places in the semi-finals were already assured since Tuesday evening. The three meetings will take place on Thursday August 5th. Some were expected in the last square. The Blues of handball have mastered their course from start to finish and outclassed Bahrain in the quarterfinals (42-28). Six times world champions, the Habs are on a series of three consecutive Olympic finals: silver in Rio, gold in London and Beijing. They face Egypt at 10 a.m.

“The match of a career”

Others are coming back to life after two decades of Olympic scarcity. The French basketball players, led by captain Nicolas Batum, started their competition with a bang, with a victory against the United States in pools and defeated Italy on Tuesday August 3rd. They face Slovenia at 1 p.m. for a place in the final. “It’s the match of a career”, warned coach Vincent Collet.

→ READ. Tokyo Olympics: in search of new challenges, French coaches export their know-how

French volleyball players, who are themselves, by their own admission, “Survivors”, took their place by forceps, reaching the finals for the first time in five appearances. After a failed start to the tournament, they overthrew the two-time world champion Poland. They meet Argentina at 2 p.m. Thursday August 5 and do not plan to stop there.

The collective responds

“An alignment of the planets” for team sports, summarizes Philippe Bana. And so many chances of medals for a France behind on its previous Olympic record. Because when the individual trajectories of Teddy Riner, Mélina Robert-Michon, Renaud Lavillenie or even Alexandra Tavernier shatter, the collective responds very much.

Mixed team judo and triathlon, team fencing, women’s rugby sevens… Eight of France’s twenty-five medals were gleaned by teams. Among team sports, only football disappointed, eliminated in qualifying. “Faster, higher, stronger, together”, says the new Olympic motto. The French apply it to the letter.


The consistency of technicians

A common point in this French “Big Five” qualified in the last four? Perhaps we should look for it on the side of the experience of the coaches. Four of them have been in this post for a long time. Valérie Garnier has been working with French basketball players since 2013, Vincent Collet has been accompanying their male counterparts since 2009. In volleyball, Laurent Tillie has been officiating since 2012. In hand, Olivier Krumbholz has been coaching Les Bleues since 1998, with a hiatus from 2013 to 2016. Guillaume Gille is meanwhile arrived in 2020 to coach the men’s team. But he won two gold medals at the Olympics (2008 and 2012) as a player.



Tokyo Olympics: Dusan Bulut, for the love of street basketball

Show in front. Dribbles between the legs, blind passes, baskets out of who knows where … Here is the 3 × 3 basketball – two teams of three who face each other on a half-court with only one basket -, the one that made Dusan Bulut the star of his sport. At 35, the Serbian intends to crown his career with a gold medal in Tokyo, the first distributed by the new discipline on the Olympic program. For him it is already written: “It will be like a kind of cycle that ends, with the most beautiful of rewards. “

A childhood at the foot of the towers

Bragging is part of the game. Street basketball, rolling mechanics, attitude boy. “It’s a whole culture that I adore, assures the champion. A music, a fashion, a whole community around. It inspires me all day. “ It must be said that this basketball, the guy grew up with, essential companion of his days, of all his days.

→ READ. Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games: the adventure of 3 x 3 basketball has started well

The backdrop to Dusan Bulut’s childhood is his district of Liman, in Novi Sad, on the left bank of the Danube. An urbanization typical of the communist period, with tall, tall buildings. Locals call the area the “Bronx”. The humor of despair in the 1990s when Yugoslavia was breaking up. Concrete and nothing else except, almost at the bottom of each block, a basketball court.

His legacy for young people

Dusan spends all his time there, dreams at night of the exploits of the players of the American NBA, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson in the lead, which he sees on television. “There wasn’t much good around me, he often says. So it was a way of escaping from reality. “ In college, however, he decided to go further and devote himself to his sport. Otherwise what ? The parents nod. Dusan is working extra hard. Cool sport, but crazy work. He manages to imitate the big brothers of the NBA, but remaining faithful to the street, and to this particular 3 × 3 basketball.

→ READ. Luka Mkheidze, first French medal at the Tokyo Olympics

He has won, a lot, with his team from Novi Sad since the creation of the World Tour in 2012. And won all the titles with Serbia too. So now he returns. Dusan Bulut participates in the renovation of grounds in Novi Sad, with local artists who add their paw. He organizes tournaments there, does not hesitate to come and inflate the enthusiasm of the kids who only have eyes for the big brother. “These fields will remain after my career is over, and that’s what makes me really proud and happy. “



Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games: the adventure of 3 x 3 basketball has started well

Now, football is lagging behind, the only major team sports contested at the Games without any variation. After rugby and its variation in VII, introduced at the Rio Games in 2016, volleyball and its beach volleyball cousin, launched in Atlanta in 1996, here is the 3 x 3, little brother of 5-a-side basketball, has entered in the dance. “It is an immense pride to be pioneers but also a great responsibility towards all the people who work all year round to give visibility to this sport”, explains Ana-Marie Philip, pivot of this three-way French team.

→ READ. Luka Mkheidze, first French medal at the Tokyo Olympics

Emmanuel Macron, interested spectator

By attending the French women’s first match against the United States on Saturday July 24, President Emmanuel Macron played the game of modernity. Like that of femininity, since only the French 3 x 3 are qualified, the boys having stalled little during the final qualifying tournament at the end of May. ” We are one of the rare nations to present three teams, two in 5 x 5 and one female in 3 x 3 and it is already a success “, proclaims the national technical director Alain Contensoux.

Saturday, July 24, the Blue had a lot to do against the Americans (10-17) encouraged by Jill Biden, the wife of the American president, who also wanted to mark the occasion. A little later they redeemed themselves against Italy (19-16), preserving their chances of participating in the finals, before returning to the floor twice this Sunday, July 25, at 10:55 a.m. against Japan, then at 2 p.m. h 00 against the Chinese.The IOC has in fact chosen to give the maximum visibility to this new sport with a general pool where the eight selected nations meet, before the knockout stages: play-offs, half, then final.

Ten minutes around a single basket

Propelled as an official sport within the International Federation in 2012, 3 x 3 basketball stems from urban culture like skateboarding, which also made its debut in Tokyo. And soon breaking, invited to the Paris Games in 2024. The demands placed on these new sports are relentless: a reduced number of nations involving as few athletes as possible, so as not to exceed the maximum Olympic tonnage (11,000 selected at Tokyo, 10,500 in Paris). Without forgetting simple rules easy to absorb for the traditional public of the Games. Obligation to which the 3 x 3 subscribes perfectly with its matches in ten minutes opposing two teams of three players around a single basket.

A great basketball nation, France believed it right away, quickly appointing a team to supervise what was then a street sport, far from imagining an Olympic destiny, enacted in 2017 for Tokyo 2020. Paris 2024 followed and the bosses of the 3 x 3 are counting on an extension until Los Angeles 2028. Richard Billant, long coach of Caen then of Le Havre in pro D2, did not hesitate to jump on the train of 3 in 2012. “ It’s fun, technical and easy to organize, everything that conditions the development of a modern sport was there, he explains, on is doomed to succeed and I believe we are in the process of achieving it. “

The whole world is doing it

The other great basketball nations have also accompanied the movement. This is true in North America, in the Balkans (Serbia is the best men’s team at the moment) or even in the East as in the Philippines, China or Japan. As in France, most of the players selected for the national team pursue a double career there, 5 in club or 3 in demonstration competitions.

→ REPORT. In Tokyo, the Olympic Games in complete discretion

“The two disciplines are complementary, the 3 is more tactical, the 5 more physical, but we will undoubtedly witness a specialization in the long term, the development of the 3 is accompanied by a rise in power of a specific economy with sponsors and TV channels that are starting to show interest, continues the enthusiastic Richard Billant. We really have everything to succeed, I am 62 years old, I will be retiring after Paris 2024, I am sure that the baby will have grown even more. “



The puzzle of multi-sport cities

Bordeaux of crying football, Bordeaux of laughing rugby. Sport has dominated the Gironde news for days, with on the one hand the semi-final of the European Rugby Cup, this Saturday 1er May, between the Union Bègles-Bordeaux (UBB) and the Toulouse Stadium, and on the other hand the placing under supervision by the commercial court of the football club, after the defection of the American owner. Twelve years ago, the situation was the opposite: the local ovale was at the bottom of the hole, while the navies were crowned champions of France (in 2009) with the money of the audiovisual group M6.

“All the mayors and sports assistants in large cities are paralyzed by what is happening in Bordeaux, at the idea that it could happen to them”, underlines Patrick Appéré, sports assistant in Brest and vice-president of the National Association of elected officials in charge of sport (Andes). Even the champion city of France in all categories, Montpellier, which hosts no less than five high-level professional clubs in football, rugby, handball, basketball, volleyball, looks with concern towards the Gironde.

“In Bordeaux, they took big risks”

“They took big risks by giving the keys to their football club and their stadium to American financiers”, underlines Christian Assaf, vice-president of the Montpellier metropolis in charge of sport. Former first deputy of Georges Frêche, mayor from 1977 to 2004, Christian Assaf had a front row seat to assist in the development, under the leadership of his boss and Louis Nicollin, a local businessman in search of public markets, “What was then a sleeping beauty in terms of sport”. “It was give and take, he recounts. Today we could not do like that legally, but the philosophy remains unchanged: our clubs are in the hands of locally established bosses who will never leave with the fund. “

The example of Lyon, which has a Ligue 1 club, Top 14, but also women’s and men’s Pro A in basketball (in collaboration with Villeurbanne) speaks volumes. In the 2000s, the lawyer Thierry Braillard became deputy for sport (he will be minister under the five-year term of François Hollande) and will influence the rebirth of Olympique Lyonnais which vegetated in Ligue 2 when it was bought in 2004 by Jean-Michel Aulas. Same story with the LOU, a modest university rugby club, acquired by Olivier Ginon, the boss of the Lyon company GL Events. Or for Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne, a basketball team taken over by Tony Parker.

→ ANALYSIS. Basketball: under the French baskets, the recovery

“Lyon is by virtue of its size the example which brings France closer to our European neighbors where the cities are larger and more multisport, because there is easier convergence between politics, the economy and a sufficient population base”, underlines Christophe Lepetit, head of studies at the Center for Sports Law and Economics. Beyond the critical size and the economic equation, it urges elected officials to reflect on the social utility of these clubs and their consistency with the local culture and the political project of the moment.

Elf Aquitaine brings football to Pau

“Bordeaux, Toulouse and Montpellier were rugby towns due to the English influence in the South West and the university culture of the sport, which was reserved for the elites in its infancy. Football came later, with industrialization and the need to provide an offer for the workers. In Pau, it was Elf Aquitaine who brought football ”, explains the professor in sports marketing, Michaël Tapiro.

The double, triple or even quadruple sport transplant only works if it clings to a cultural trunk. The so-called BHV sports – basketball, handball, volleyball – have often joined football or rugby towns to set up women’s teams or make young people from the neighborhoods play. This is the case in Patrick Appéré’s Brest where the women’s handball team, leading the French championship, is just as much the pride of the city as the hundred-year-old local football club. “The financial risks are beyond measure but the image benefit is important: a sports city attracts young people, executives and activity”, continues the vice-president of Andes.


The thorny subject of stadiums

Only two professional clubs are, according to the Center for Sports Law and Economics, 100% owners of their premises: Lyon in football, Clermont in rugby, a third being on his way to Montpellier for football. Elsewhere, different types of contracts bind clubs and municipalities: classic rental, long-term lease called emphyteutic, concession to a manager promoter … But the future of these costly for public finances is to own ownership, at least for powerful clubs. The mayor of Bordeaux will try to sell the stadium to the future buyer of the club, and that of Marseille has announced his desire to sell the Vélodrome stadium.