The drive to offer people unique and memorable sporting experiences has made hospitality offerings a staple at many venues across the UK. Yet, the impact of these experiences can reach far beyond just memories.
Often they generate an important stream of revenue (in some cases, second only to a venue’s television rights), which can effect positive change throughout communities at a local, national and international scale.
Keith Prowse, a provides hospitality at some of the UK’s biggest sporting venues, including Twickenham, Wimbledon and the Fever-Tree Championships. As many of the venues where it offers hospitality are managed by organizations dedicated to sport, profits from tickets, hospitality and merchandise are often converted back into charitable donations.
At the Fever Tree championships, it works closely with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to offer a wide range of packages that cater for a variety of different entry points. Profits from the sale of tickets, including hospitality experiences, is then used by the LTA to contribute to The British Tennis Strategic Plan. An LTA initiative, it was launched in 2016 and runs until the end of 2020. Its three focus areas are building partnerships in the community, delivering great service to clubs, growing participation among children and young people.
Last year the plan saw £12.2m (US$15.8) invested in 92 projects. To deliver against its goals, the LTA also work closely with a variety of partners including the Tennis Foundation, local authorities and partners such as Tennis For Free, Tennis clubs and venues, and more.
This is taken even further in the case of England Rugby at Twickenham, which is owned and operated by the Rugby Football Union (RFU). All profit generated by the RFU from ticket sales, hospitality and merchandise is invested back into rugby. The RFU uses the ‘Good For Rugby’ brand mark to signal that items are being bought through an official provider and that profit generated from the purchase will be kept within the game.
That means the more support of the game through official channels, the more support there is for the youngsters dreaming of running out at Twickenham one day, for the community club in a rural area helped to travel to away games, for training the referees and coaches who turn out every week, for new kit which inspires an inner city team, new pitches, floodlights and modernized clubhouses.
Ultimately, the RFU’s purpose is to encourage rugby and its values to flourish across England. Last year they invested £99.6m (US$130m) directly with clubs and in operating the English game at all levels, were assisted by over 100,000 volunteers.
The key factor here, is that venues are only able to support amateur sports and give back to their communities if their products (principally tickets, hospitality packages and merchandise) are purchased through official channels. But, by encouraging fans to purchase their match day experiences via official means, hospitality can create an important source of revenue that in fact helps support and fuel the sporting heroes of tomorrow.