Hmain partner Gunnar Wöbke has “already found such a void”. And for his colleague at Fraport Skyliners, Yannick Binas, it was “a sad moment”. Again and again: Wednesday night, the Gießen 46ers’ home defeat to Braunschweig finally sealed Frankfurt’s relegation to the second basketball division, Pro A.
The three remaining matches against Gießen, Crailsheim and Bayreuth are no longer relevant for the penultimate team, which won only seven out of 31 matches. With Skyliners from Frankfurt, a highly respected place says goodbye to the upper house, which from 1999 onwards had been one of the top addresses in German basketball for many years.
2000 cup winners, 2004 German champions and 2016 FIBA Europe Cup winners – this collection of titles adorns the club, which in all these years has never lived beyond its means financially. But its best days are long gone.
“It was often barely”
The relegation has “frankly been announced in recent years with the ever-worsening prospects due to the lack of a multifunctional arena,” says Binas. In addition, the “corona pandemic is hitting”.
In 2013, the Skyliners were able to avert relegation for the first time with a home win against Ludwigsburg on the final day of the match. “It has often been tight in recent years,” it read in an “open letter” from Frankfurt on Thursday.
But no matter what rescue measures they took this season, they did not show the desired success. “Somehow it was as if we were constantly stuck in quicksand: Every time we thought we would get the basket and pull ourselves out of the mess, something new happened that threw us back again.” The coach and the team felt like they were in a vicious circle. No way out.
Hoping for wild card
However, the Hessians still have a back door. You have to hope for a wildcard prize. A total of 22 clubs submitted the licensing documents for the upcoming season to the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) on time. Four clubs from Pro A: Jena, Rostock, Trier and Bremerhaven. In Pro A, if a team reached the final that did not want to be promoted, there could be a wildcard.
This will also apply in the event that BBL refuses a club license from the group of applicants for financial reasons. In any case, BBL must decide whether it makes sense to award a wildcard, for example, to retain the field of 18 1st division clubs.
“Check and calculate”
Next, it should be clarified how high the price of this wild card is. Before this season, it was a total of € 700,000; Giessen, which is about to relegate again, was initially to pay 350,000 euros. The cloud lines would “check and calculate” whether they could “financially” handle a wild card. The amount to be invested would probably be “one-fifth or one-sixth of our total budget,” Binas says. “We also need to set up a competitive player budget.”
If the Frankfurters were actually to compete in Pro A, their total budget would be reduced by about half. “We should probably have a seven-figure amount less,” Binas says. Before the corona pandemic, Skyliners had a total budget of around five million euros. Most recently, it should have been about 30 percent smaller. At the sponsorship level, “all top partners” were, after all, with the club in Pro A, says Binas.