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Business Advisory and Consulting case studies

Sports Business Group

Business Planning

Premier League football club – Business planning
We were engaged by a Premier League football club to develop a strategic business plan in conjunction with a proposed move to a new stadium. The club were keen to understand the impact that the stadium would have from a revenue perspective and on the funding of areas of the club. Working closely with senior management we produced a comprehensive five year model that looked at key drivers and impact on key revenue and cost areas, utilising benchmarks and primary research where appropriate.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) – Audiovisual rights review
Deloitte were engaged to assist the WRU in reviewing its domestic and international media rights strategy in respect of its home Autumn international matches and domestic rugby. Our report enabled the WRU to understand the performance of its rights, the key dynamics and trends within the UK broadcast market and the potential value of the rights, to provide the WRU with an independent analysis to support its strategy and discussions with interested parties.

Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) – Rugby World Cup feasibility study
The Sports Business Group at Deloitte was appointed by the IRFU to assess the feasibility of Ireland hosting a future Rugby World Cup (RWC).  We performed gap analysis comparing RWC hosting requirements to existing Irish facilities/capacities and identifying how any gaps could be addressed. We also modelled the potential tournament revenues, costs and capital investment. Our report has played a central role in bid discussions with all stakeholders including the IRFU, Gaelic Games Association (GAA) and Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland governments. In March 2013 the GAA voted to support a RWC bid through provision of GAA venues.

County Cricket clubs – Business plan reviews
We were engaged by Birmingham City Council to review the business plan prepared by Warwickshire County Cricket Club for the redevelopment of Edgbaston. We reviewed and challenged the business plan, evaluating the likelihood and scale of potential upsides and downsides to their projections. The project received initial Council approval in 2009.

In a separate project, Hampshire County Cricket Club wanted to develop their Rose Bowl ground with the aim of securing additional major matches. Eastleigh Borough Council were a key partner in the project and were keen to understand more about the impact of the development on the club’s financial performance. We carried out a detailed review of Hampshire’s business plan, evaluating the likelihood and scale of potential upsides and downsides to their projections.

IMG joint ventures – Business plan development
Deloitte were appointed by IMG Dogus, a joint venture between global sports marketing company IMG and Turkish conglomerate Dogus Group. With support from our local firm, we provided advice in relation to the Turkish sports, entertainment and fashion market, and developed a business plan document for the joint venture.

In a separate project, Deloitte were appointed to provide advice and support to IMG Reliance, a joint venture between IMG and Reliance industries, to assist in the development of business and financial plans for the development of football and basketball in India, through its partnerships with the All India Football Federation and Basketball Federation of India.

European Olympic Committees (EOC) – Financial viability
The EOC represents 49 European National Olympic Committees, and required a financial feasibility study of a proposed European Games – a multi-sport Games that would take place every four years. Our work included a detailed analysis to provide estimates of the potential revenues, costs, financial commitments and key operational issues associated with such an event, to develop the concept further and form the basis for wider stakeholder consultation.

Championship football club – Business planning and wage- costs benchmarking
We provided an analysis of projected wage costs and transfer spending of a Championship football club under a number of possible scenarios to inform the club’s management team in developing its strategy and business plan.

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) – Tournament financial review
The ATP was keen to make various changes to the men’s tennis tour calendar, including prize money increases, the re-categorisation and structuring of tournaments and various format changes. We assessed the potential financial impact of these changes on the tournaments, and the potential for tournaments to grow revenues.

Womens’ Tennis Association (WTA) – Tournament financial review
Deloitte was engaged by the WTA Board to perform a review of the financial performance of its c.50 WTA tournaments during the period 2006-2010. We designed a financial reporting template and produced a report analysing tournaments’ results in relevant sub-groups according to tier and/or geographical region, including benchmark KPIs from other sports where appropriate.

Revenue enhancement and cost control

Premier League – Commercial strategy
We were appointed by the Premier League to evaluate the potential for more aggregated sponsorship and licensing models, compared to the current structure where the majority of rights are exploited individually by clubs.  

We explored the feasibility and potential financial returns of several alternative commercial models, drawing on benchmarks in other sports competitions and carrying out extensive consultations with stakeholders, sports marketing agencies and blue chip sports sponsors. We also modelled alternative distribution mechanisms.

Premier League football clubs – Matchday revenues
A Premier League football club wished to understand the characteristics of existing corporate hospitality buyers as well as the potential demand of the wider corporate market, to help with the design of corporate facilities at its new stadium. Our work involved a survey of existing, lapsed and potential buyers of the club’s corporate packages to gain an understanding of market characteristics and demand. We provided the club with a robust analysis of the behaviour, perceptions and price sensitivity of its existing corporate buyers. This provided a foundation for the planning and design of corporate facilities at the new stadium.

In a separate project, a Premier League football club was keen to add insightful research to support its strategic decisions on ticket pricing. We delivered a web-based survey targeting current and lapsed supporters, with over 5,000 responses. This provided an independent and objective base against which the club could compare its initial thoughts.

Major European football club – Performance related pay
In a ground breaking project we helped a major European football club to better align wages and turnover through the greater use of performance related pay. We quantified the relationship between incremental revenues and costs from on pitch success, which put a value on the importance of UEFA Champions League football. We also helped the client understand the relative and absolute importance of each competition to their financial results.

Sports Business Information System

Premier League football club – Benchmarking best practice
We provided a Premier League football club with detailed analysis of how the target was performing relative to its key competitors across key revenue and cost streams, attendances and capacity utilisation, ticket pricing, corporate hospitality capacity, packaging and pricing, fan profiling, and key commercial deal values. Our work enabled the client to gain a further understanding of top-tier professional football and the club's position amongst its competitors.

International Federation – Commercial benchmarking
The client, and in turn the football federation, wanted to gain an understanding of the commercial aspects of four successful professional sports leagues for use in the re-launch of their own domestic league. We provided the client with detailed case studies from four world leading sports leagues. Our work enabled the client to gain a further understanding of the commercial operations of the benchmark sports leagues, the differences in models the leagues used and how these could be applied the client’s league.

European football club investor – Corporate governance and structuring benchmarking
Our client was the majority shareholder of a leading European football club, which wanted to develop their understanding of possible forms of ownership for professional sports clubs. We delivered an analysis of different ownership forms currently used by European football clubs and US sports franchises.

International Rugby Board (IRB) – Valuation of broadcast and commercial rights for the Rugby World Cup
We provided independent advice to the IRB regarding the potential value of broadcast and commercial rights to Rugby World Cup 2015 and Rugby World Cup 2019 depending on the host location.

UEFA – Hospitality market assessment
In preparation for the Euro 2012 tournament, UEFA engaged Deloitte to investigate the potential levels of demand for corporate hospitality packages from a range of European territories. We provided information on current demand, key trends, expected developments and demand across other sports events for six key European markets. This information was used by UEFA to inform the hospitality sales strategy for the tournament.

Strategic Review

Leicester Tigers RFC – Strategic plan
Deloitte assisted the club in developing a five-year strategic plan setting out its future direction, objectives and expectations and to provide a contextual illustration of the club’s current position in relation to its peers in the sports industry. Our work included the development of appropriate management reporting structures to record and monitor performance against the objectives of the strategic plan.

Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) – Review and revision of five year strategic plan and review of performance rugby
We were asked by the SRU to assist in a review and revision of its strategic plan, in order to guide a restructuring of the business across key areas. We prepared a semi-structured consultation questionnaire that was distributed to key stakeholders, the responses to which helped inform the content for a set of workshops with senior SRU representatives. The feedback and our subsequent report helped the SRU to re-assess its business and develop a set of new corporate objectives and KPIs.

We were subsequently engaged to assist with a detailed strategic review of the performance functions associated with Scottish Rugby. Our work in collaboration with key performance staff allowed the SRU to identify appropriate performance metrics, measured across reasonable timeframes and with responsibility defined across various performance functions.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) – Strategic plan
We conducted a strategic review of the WICB to help realign its business model and operations. We reviewed the international cricket landscape including the commercial models and practices of other cricketing nations, producing key strategic recommendations. We conducted consultations and workshops with WICB management to develop a wider strategic plan, supported by relevant benchmarks from other sports together with sport-specific recommendations.

International Cycling Union (UCI) – Strategic development
We were engaged by the UCI to develop a strategic plan for the future development and promotion of cycling globally, with a particular focus on developing new cycling formats and expanding the sport of cycling into new markets and territories. Through a combination of workshops, consultations with stakeholders and an examination of the global sports marketplace, we assisted the UCI management to identify strategic options for future development, within the context of the dynamics of professional cycling.

Middle East Sports Clubs – Strategic planning
We were appointed to develop a commercial plan and strategic objectives for a Middle East Sports Club. We undertook a full review of the current commercial situation of the club and provided comparative benchmark analysis from a selection of clubs across world sport. We established strategic objectives and initiatives centred on four pillars: stadium and ticketing, sponsorship, media and merchandising. A financial model was developed to support the recommended commercial strategy.

In a separate project, Baniyas Sports Club appointed Deloitte to develop a strategic plan and organisational design for the club. Through consultations with senior management and key stakeholders as well as a series of workshops, we provided the club with a set of strategic objectives together with relevant benchmarks from European football clubs.

European Rugby Cup Limited (ERC) – Strategic review
Deloitte were appointed by ERC, to support the Board in conducting a strategic review of the organisation and its tournaments, the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup.

United Soccer League (USL) – Strategic review 
Deloitte were asked to evaluate the options for the future direction of USL-1, and maximise the attractiveness for investors. We performed benchmark analysis to compare USL-1 with other leagues on key metrics and presented our results in an interactive workshop, which focused on the implications of our study as well as the next steps for USL-1 and its teams.

Economic impact

International Rugby Board (IRB) – Potential economic impact of the Rugby World Cup (RWC)
We used Deloitte’s major event economic impact methodology to estimate the potential impact of a future RWC on potential host nations. We outlined the generic economic benefits to a country, compared the RWC to other sports events, identified factors that could affect the impact in different rugby regions, estimated the direct and indirect economic impact of a RWC on these regions, and outlined the possible contribution of a host country’s government via taxation.

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) – Potential economic impact of the WTA Championships
The annual WTA Championships are contested by the top-ranked players in women’s tennis. The event is the most prestigious and important tournament in the WTA Tour. We set out the potential economic impact of the event on a host city, using estimates developed after considering the economic impact of a range of major tennis events, including the WTA Championships in Istanbul, and the WTA’s plans for changing the structure of the event itself. We also considered the impact of the event on media exposure and new media demand.

We have conducted similar economic impact studies for the FEI World Cup Finals and the America’s Cup.

International Equestrian Federation (FEI) – Economic impact study of the World Equestrian Games
The World Equestrian Games were hosted in Kentucky in 2010, and the FEI was keen to understand the economic impact of the event to inform their planning and marketing of the event going forward. We used our tried and tested economic impact methodology to evaluate the impact of the event on Kentucky. This involved consultations with the FEI, the local Organising Committee, competing teams, media, sponsors and trade stall operators, as well as a survey of spectators including corporate attendees.

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) – Economic impact study of the ATP World Tour Finals
ATP World Tour Finals are the culmination of the ATP World Tour calendar and are currently hosted in London. The ATP were keen to develop a comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of the event on London and we employed our major event economic impact methodology to deliver a detailed stakeholder expenditure assessment of the event’s impact. We consulted with key stakeholders at the event including event management, broadcasters, sponsors, and conducted primary market research with spectators to fully understand event-related expenditure, which we then flowed through a bespoke economic impact model to quantify the associated indirect impact.

We have conducted similar economic impact assessments for The Ryder Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Laureus World Sports awards.

Sports venue development

The Football Association (the FA) – Business plan review and cashflow assessment
Deloitte were asked by the FA to review the operational business plan and assess the proposed funding and construction expenditure cashflow projections in relation to the proposed National Football Centre. Our review, which extended to cover the commercial and financial risks in connection with the proposed on-site hotel plans, helped the FA to identify potential risks and mitigate these in order to obtain Board approval.

Major County Cricket Club – Project origination
We delivered a relocation feasibility study to understand whether a major cricket club moving to a new stadium made financial sense. We also developed a high-level specification for the new stadium which detailed capacity and facilities, and identified key commercial components and developed an outline specification for a redeveloped stadium at their current site.

Rugby Football Union (RFU) – Creating venue value
We reviewed the proposed redevelopment of the South Stand at Twickenham, which the RFU were keen to use as an opportunity to develop a number of new non-matchday revenue streams including a hotel, health & fitness club, conference suites, offices, retail facilities, and an exhibition and arts venue. We assessed the commercial viability of the scheme and calculated the financial impact for the RFU, which helped to refine the scheme and increased its level of return.

Sports regulation

UEFA – Financial Fair Play
The Sports Business Group at Deloitte has provided advisory assistance to UEFA for the development of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (first approved in 2010) and has further assisted UEFA with implementation matters. The break-even requirement, the cornerstone of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations, applies to clubs in UEFA competitions from the 2013/14 season and aims to help clubs across Europe to achieve a more sustainable balance between their costs and revenues and encourages investment for the longer-term benefit of football. These requirements supplement the Club Licensing Regulations, which have been successfully operating across Europe since 2004/05. Previously, Deloitte also provided advisory assistance to UEFA for the development and implementation of the financial criteria of the Club Licensing Regulations.

For more information, download the latest extract from our Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance – ‘On the verge of break-even' as well as previous articles on Financial Fair Play.

Government of Saudi Arabia – Privatisation of sports clubs
We delivered a feasibility study for the privatisation of leading sports clubs in Saudi Arabia. This included a blueprint for the future structure and operation of Saudi Arabian professional football as well as the governance, organisational and operational frameworks required to achieve this, together with preparation plans for the privatisation of clubs. The study incorporated real estate assessments, financial forecasts and valuations and formed the basis of a submission to the Kingdom’s Supreme Economic Council for approval.

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) – Development of qualification structure for major competitions
We helped FIBA to evaluate the potential impact of proposed changes to the qualifying format for FIBA’s major international competitions. Through a series of detailed stakeholder consultations, we were able to produce a model of the potential financial impact of the qualification options to assist FIBA in refining its thinking and to select a preferred option.

Singapore S.League – League restructuring
The key backers of the Singapore S.League wanted to develop the League to the next level. We were appointed to carry out a strategic review of the S.League in time for changes to begin to be implemented for the new season. The overall aim of the project was to provide recommendations to move the S.League towards a more self-financing model, allied to its commercial development. We produced a strategic blueprint to guide the development of the S.League over the medium and long-term. We provided recommendations relating to the S.League's vision & mission, structure & organisation, commercial operations, expenditure & funding, and facilities and stadia.

English Cricket – Working party review
We provided technical assistance to a working party of a range of cricket stakeholders, to review aspects of English cricket, including the cricket calendar, major match finances, the allocation of major matches, sources of income and the development of new competition concepts for the benefit of the whole game.

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