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Greig Codd examines how technology can boost visibility and profitability across the sporting world.  

As the football season draws to a close, business managers in clubs across the UK are already turning their attention to next year’s fixture list.  In order to hit the ground running in September, ensuring capacity and profitability are maximised, sports clubs face a fine balancing act.

Cash flow is of course king, hence the deluge of early bird discounts for membership and season tickets seen in recent months.  However the days where football was about 22 men, a pitch, a ball and a few turnstiles, are long gone.  The sporting industry in the UK alone is worth £20 billion a year and is responsible for around 450,000 jobs, with football alone being responsible for £3.4 billion.  Globally, Forbes predicts that the sports industry will be worth a staggering $73.5 billion by 2019.  And profit comes from a range of revenue streams - spanning not just ticket sales, but sponsorship, merchandising and hospitality.

In order to demonstrate best practice and boost profits against this complex backdrop, clubs must be able to attribute the right proportion of revenue from each area to a given match.  And this means having complete insight into what income is coming from where, as well as the ability to attribute revenue to a given month, or game.

Managing this complexity has become impossible to do effectively using the methods of 15 years ago.  The extensive commercialisation of sports means that modern systems designed specifically to cope with this type of model are absolutely key to maximising revenue growth.  They integrate with ticket, hospitality and EPOS systems to consolidate and present a full view of financial status at any given point, while assigning revenue appropriately. So such systems have an enormous role to play in modern sporting clubs.

Accurate forecasting is another area which can be vastly overlooked without the right systems in place.   Effective planning requires reliable, up to date insights, and by having the right back office solution, sophisticated analytics can contextualise data and present it via dashboards and alerts according to an individual’s role.  This insight means more confident decision-making, and accurate planning for the forthcoming season.

Of course, while football always tends to dominate the headlines when it comes to finances, these issues are not exclusive the footballing community.  Rugby, cricket, and in fact any sport which is played professionally, are all becoming increasingly competitive in their pursuit for growth, and to achieve their ambitions, systems have a pivotal role to play.

The level of growth and opportunity across many sports of our generation is almost unrecognisable from the last, and if your back office software hasn’t kept pace, it may well be time to blow the whistle on it.

If the answer to any of the following questions is no, it may well be time to review your back office systems:

  1. Can we recognise revenue appropriately in line with recent legislation, i.e. assign revenue to an appropriate month / fixture?
  2. Does our finance system integrate with other key systems within the business, i.e. ticket sales, hospitality, EPOS?
  3. Can we access key financial information easily via a dashboard or similar system?
  4. Can we, within reason, reliably predict our profitability for a given game / month?
  5. Do our systems support regulatory and statutory requirements?

For more information on how Sapphire can help sporting clubs and businesses to boost profitability, visit our website. Or join our next software masterclass event for free advice on selecting the right software for your needs.


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