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The business behind running a sports team

There are many different aspects that go into creating a successful sports team, and it is understandable that a considerable focus is placed on managers, coaches and the playing staff. However, in modern sport, there is a need for successful sports teams to have the right people making important decisions in the backroom of the club. The business perspective is as important as the sporting perspective these days, and you’ll find that the on-field and off-field activities influence each other and drive each other on.

There is a very strong argument to be made that a successful team makes life easy for the backroom team and the business outlook of a sports team. If a team is winning, fans want to attend games, they want to wear the official jersey of the side, and they are happy to buy merchandise and engage with the team. Conversely, if a team is failing, it may be difficult to convince fans to spend their money or attend on a regular basis no matter how well the business side of the team is performing. Of course, the business actions of a club can help a team perform better.

A sports team must engage with its fans

One of the most important aspects of the business side of a sports team is how it promotes itself. This includes traditional adverts in the local press and on websites aimed at fans or potential fans. There is also a need to communicate with fans on social media. Modern sports teams have the chance to speak directly to fans through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and smart clubs are generating unique traffic for followers on these platforms.

By encouraging fans to check in on a regular basis, there is a greater opportunity for sports teams to sell tickets and merchandise while ensuring that fans have a stronger level of connectivity with their team. In the summer 2017 transfer window, social media professionals have been responsible for unique and innovative campaigns and posts welcoming new players to a club, and these are instrumental in promoting a team and making sure fans are fully informed of what is happening at their club.

The board should also be involved in negotiations for transfers with other clubs. Teams selling players want to secure the best deal, while the buying team wants to get value for money with every purchase or loan deal. The boardroom members involved in these negotiations will have a huge impact on the overall performance of the team, what size budget the team has to spend on players, and how this budget is utilised.

Employment law is as relevant for a sports team, as any other organisation

Behind the scenes, football clubs are like any organisation with finance departments and HR departments. It is necessary to ensure that all employees are paid on time and in full and that all employment regulations are being complied with. While sports clubs are very different from most companies, they are bound by most of the same employment laws and regulations, which means that sports teams must have professionals who ensure the organisation complies with local employment law.

There have been many times when a sports team has been transformed due to a takeover of a club. When a new owner takes control of the club, there is often a focus on how much money will be spent on new players, but there is also typically a reshaping of the club’s business structure or how it operates. A new owner with fresh ideas and an understanding of the market and fan base can have an invigorating impact on the club and its followers, which in turn helps to galvanise the playing and coaching staff.

One club that has started the 2017/18 season in fine form is Nottingham Forest. The club was taken over by Vangelis Marinakis in the previous season. After the new owner and his team implemented many boardroom and business structures at the club, there is a greater sense of positivity around the side. Simple gestures like engaging with fans and providing a better standard of service can make a difference to the mood and atmosphere of a club, and sometimes small matters like this can make a huge impact on how a sports side performs.

If a team isn’t performing well or achieving positive results on the pitch, the fans will not be happy regardless of how well a club is run off the field. However, it is the work of the board and backroom professionals to create the platform for sports teams to prosper. A sports team that is well run is more likely to enjoy success on the field than one that has a poor structure or a low standard of employees working on its behalf.

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