Diversification could be vital for sports venues during recession

28th January 2009

Sports venues across the country could find that diversifying is the key to sustaining a healthy profit margin as the economy continues to recede, reports ldpbusiness.co.uk.

Businesses across the UK are looking to reduce their expenses in response to the economic situation, whether that is accomplished by way of conference organisers seeking lower cost, alternative event venues or adopting new technology such as video conferencing in a bid to cut the cost of travel and accommodation.

Sports venues have a potentially tricky situation facing them as on the one hand the plight of the fans must be considered in reducing the price of admission, and on the other hand skyrocketing player wages and transfer fees can increase the pressure to spend.

Promoting meeting facilities to conference organisers could be one way to increase revenue in the near future. Many sports venues have conference facilities which they often use for internal meetings among their own staff members and the board, but they tend to be the focus of sports businesses when it comes to selling their facilities to other companies.

The Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester is considering diversifying to attract business tourists to supplement its more traditional revenue flows. The ground is already scheduled to host major music concerts from Take That and Coldplay later this year, but business tourists will also be targeted through the development of a £12 million conference centre which will look to take advantage of the ground's location in Manchester.

Geoff Durbin, commercial director of Lancashire County Cricket Club, told the website: "We have got unique things - we are only 800 yards from Manchester United, which gives us spin-off business. We are close to the city centre and we have our own Metro station."

The proximity to one of the biggest football clubs in the world will be of great benefit to the conference centre, while easy transportation access should also facilitate business.

Increasingly, Old Trafford will be relying on its national and international reputations to sustain the kind of business it was doing before the nation was gripped by recession. Presenting an alternative - and perhaps more cost-effective - conference venue for businesses seeking to reduce their outgoings, the event venue could make up for drops in weekend admissions and sponsorship deals which lack the security of just a few years ago.

Of course, pushing Old Trafford's conference facilities could also help sustain the local economy. The ground's car park makes around £400,000 a year, concerts produce millions in profits and lottery grants can also be relied upon to cover some of the bills. In addition, increasing business tourism to Old Trafford could benefit the wider economy as delegates need to sleep, eat and unwind nearby. As a result, a variety of local businesses could recoup losses sustained by reduced admissions to sporting events.

In other news, how-do.co.uk recently reported that Manchester was voted one of the top three conference cities in the world.