Running a successful football club takes a family
An air of excitement descended on the Discovery Vitality Summit 2015 this afternoon as Liverpool FC heavyweights took the stage to discuss the matter of business in sport, and running a successful and sustainable football club.
At the head of the panel sat Ian Ayre, CEO of Liverpool FC who began by talking about the culture of Liverpool FC and how this goes a long way to instilling the correct mindset among the players and the 700 strong staffing contingent working behind the scenes.
Ayre said this mindset centres on the idea of family.
“The image is that we're the world’s greatest football family. And if we stick to those values you can find success in the boardroom." Ayre said, “This idea of family includes not only the players but the fans as well.”
Whether attending games at Anfield or watching from around the world, the fan base fuels a large part of the bottom line for Liverpool FC. Attendance at Anfield accounts for 20% of the club's overall revenue and this number along with sound business acumen contributed to the decision to upgrade Anfield.
This, Ayre said, would see the revenue attributable to ticket increase even further. Merchandise and media rights also contribute to the income of the club.
Ayre drove home the point that the success of a football team is about sustainability - not spending exorbitantly when and where you please - and forming a plan that you stick to.
LFC former player and England footballing legend, John Barnes, emphasised this point by referring to balance, "Balance is important. You need to be competitive and financially sustainable."
Of course winning is important to the success of a football team but Ayre warned about pegging all your hopes on that win.
"Everybody wants to win but there can only be one winner," he said.
He added that when planning the yearly budget the club aims for the win but budgets for moderate success. “This is key to sticking to the plan you put together and not spending more money than you have.”
Of course the 11 players on the field also contribute to the success of the football club and this success moves through to the financial side.
Ayre did. However, saying that having a family of players that want to be on field is better than having one player that brings in crowds but in the long-term negatively impacts the team, the culture and the club.
Ultimately the message driven home by the panel was that success comes from balance between pleasing the family and making sound business decisions.
John Barnes added, “You can be the most successful club without being the richest.”
Managing a financially sustainable football club is about unity, if you have that, you'll never walk alone.
Notes to the editor
The Discovery Vitality Summit being hosted in Illovo, Johannesburg, today, 06 August 2015, is an open platform that brings together pioneers and leading thinkers in sports science, high performance, fitness, nutrition, technology, health, wellness and psychology.
It creates shared knowledge around the latest global health and wellness developments, while encouraging debate and interaction amongst industry stakeholders.
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