Following on from a promising season with another French championship final and especially a first Euroleague quarter final, the Roca Team is in the middle of an incredible transfer window, with a budget that should be close to 20 million euros this season. Big budget, big dreams.
Time flies. It has been nearly ten years since AS Monaco Basket was bought by Sergey Dyadechko. And what can we say about how far they have come. Promotions, titles and above all ambitions, which are intact and growing.
After three Leaders Cups (2016, 2017 and 2018) and a EuroCup (2021), the Roca Team intends to add some more silverware to the trophy cabinet, with one key goal in mind: French championship title. That trophy slipped through the club’s fingers again this season, for the fourth time in its history (1950, 2018, 2019, 2022).
A bigger budget
“There is no doubt that the French league title is what we are missing, and we aim to win it,” Oleksiy Yefimov told us, as he reflected on the club’s aspirations. “Last season we set the bar so high in the Euroleague that it will be very difficult to maintain that level, especially considering that most teams have upped their budgets to build more competitive squads. Our goal will be to get to the play-offs again.”
With an estimated budget of 20 million euros to date, compared to 14 million euros last season (which was already a record), AS Monaco Basket and Aleksej Fedoricsev have also given themselves the means of achieving their ambitions. While not going overboard and being resourceful, as the club’s general manager points out.
The Roca Team has become the most well-known basketball brand in France, ahead of ASVEL and LimogesOleksiy Yefimov
“Aleksej Fedoricsev is fully committed to the project and prepared to increase his financial contribution,” he said. “The Government of Monaco also gives us enormous support, but according to the Euroleague’s financial fair play rules, clubs’ shareholders cannot contribute more than 50% of the total budget. We are therefore working on the creation of a commercial operations department whose aim will be to increase the club’s revenue.”
An increase in income could move Monaco up in the hierarchy of the richest clubs in the Euroleague. Last season, the Monaco club ranked 14th out of the eighteen clubs in the competition, in terms of budget. Which did not stop the Roca Team from reaching the quarter-finals on its very first attempt.
“Over the past twelve months, we have gone from being an ‘anonymous’ team to being contenders for the Final Four,” says Oleksiy Yefimov. “Our epic quarter-final battle against Olympiakos generated huge interest in France (4 million cumulative viewers, Ed.) and throughout Europe. According to the latest consumer reports, the Roca Team has become the most well-known basketball brand in France, ahead of ASVEL and Limoges”, two of the sport’s historic French clubs.
Public interest in the club is expected to grow this season. After the arrival of American star Mike James, which put the club in the spotlight and sparked a media frenzy, the Roca Team’s new XXL recruitment drive could further boost the organisation’s profile. With Elie Okobo, Jordan Loyd, John Brown and Jaron Blossomgame, ASM Basket’s management has pulled off quite a coup. And it’s not over yet.
Signing Elie Okobo, who Barcelona, Real Madrid and Fenerbahçe had in their sights, is a strong signal that we want to strengthen the roster with locally trained, top-quality playersOleksiy Yefimov
“Last season, the only way we could stay in the Euroleague was to qualify for the playoffs (The Roca Team clinched their spot in the competition by winning the EuroCup, as the club does not have a permanent wild-card like ASVEL). We therefore took the risk of signing ten foreign players, recalls the General Manager, who is now focused on more local recruitment.”
“We are looking to find a better balance between foreigners and JFLs (locally trained players). Signing Elie Okobo, a player who has already proved he was the MVP in the French finals and who Barcelona, Real Madrid and Fenerbahçe had in their sights, is a strong signal that we want to strengthen the roster with locally trained, top-quality players.”
A sustainable project
The recruitment policy will also be accompanied by a policy of continuity, as confirmed by the 3-season contract extension for coach Sasa Obradovic, key craftsman of Monaco’s successes, as well as for Mike James.
“We have every confidence in Sasa Obradovic,” says the Roca Team’s ‘architect’. “This is the second time that Sasa has taken over the team mid- season and managed to turn the situation around for the better! He is fully committed to the Roca Team and the Principality of Monaco. Sasa is red and white through and through.”
A strategy that now also applies to players too. “In previous seasons, we were criticised because we didn’t manage to keep our key players after each successful season. I think that the fact that Mike James will be staying with us over the long term sends out another strong message to the community: we want to have continuity in the team. Our market strategy will be built on the idea of having long-term player contracts.”
We want to have continuity in the team. Our market strategy will be built on the idea of having long-term player contracts.Oleksiy Yefimov
This stability should also lead to a permanent place in the Euroleague soon. A golden ticket that AS Monaco Basket seems very close to getting. “The main objective is to become a shareholder in the Euroleague, but first, we are close to obtaining a wild-card for several years”, states Oleksiy Yefimov.
“For this, we need to demonstrate that Monaco is a solid and sustainable project with a long-term vision of sporting, economic and infrastructure development.” Fortunately, the final hurdle to the famous wild card will soon be removed.
“In September, we will be able to accommodate the fans in a 5,000-seat gymnasium, which will avoid any disputes regarding the minimum capacity required by the Euroleague. The Government of Monaco is working miracles.” As is the Roca Team. And this is just the beginning!