Venture Capital in the World of Sport

There’s plenty of stories across the rugby world about the potential for venture capitalists chucking some money at our game.

The English Premiership have sold a minority shareholding (thought to be 27%) to CVC Capital Partners for £200m, whilst the same group are rumoured to have made a £500m offer in the Six Nations.

In competition to this Six Nations offers, World Rugby are desperately trying to get on the bandwagon of “revenue maximisation” with their World League , which they claim could be worth £5bn over 12 years.

Lots of money, but what will the new investors get in return, and how much of this “maximised revenue” will make it’s way down to the grassroots of the game so that the real stakeholders of our sport (our local communities where local rugby clubs make it all happen) can evolve and develop.

For a look at the process of venture capital and what VC investors expectations are from their investment, here’s an interesting book review on the Secrets of Sand Hill Road.

A Sporting or a Business Decision

How Much is Home Advantage Worth?

The SRU have spent a significant amount of effort telling Committees that they should be running their Clubs as a business, rolling out the likes of John Oates who can tell us how to “exploit” our customers so they spend more money in the Club.

But what about when running things as a business conflicts with the getting results on the pitch?

  • Was the decision to move the Glasgow v Edinburgh game to Murrayfield a sporting or a business decision?
  • If Glasgow wasn’t controlled by SRU, would the game have been switched, or postponed to be rescheduled (just as several other games were over the weekend)?
  • What other major sporting team would intentionally give up home advantage to one of their major rivals?
  • How much is home advantage worth (points on the scoreboard or pound in the pocket)?

With access to limited resources, should a Clubs’ focus be on getting the best results possible “on” or “off” the pitch?