In Part 1
I looked at the idea of organisations within futsal bringing a more commercial and strategic
approach to their management
. In this post I will focus on clubs and how they can improve their management leading to better results both on and off the court
Current Situation Within Clubs
Currently most clubs have a budget for the current season with funding coming from sponsors and local government. The majority of this budget is allocated for the salaries of the 1st team and the rest goes on other expenses related to the 1st team such as travel, medical costs etc.
Often the 1st team players are on short term contracts as the club rarely have an idea of what the next season’s budget will be, leading to a high turnover of players. This makes it more difficult for fans to follow the sport and it is not good for encouraging them to build loyalty and an association with a club.
Clubs are quite unstable due to this short term financial planning. Every year there are more examples of teams that have relative success for a short period after an influx of investment and later the funding disappears and the club is either disbanded or rapidly descends down the divisions. This damages the image of the sport.
|Polaris World Cartagena who disappeared shortly after finishing league runners up in Spain
A consistent and reliable source of income is the key to making clubs sustainable. Stability can be achieved through having multiple sources of finance, reducing dependency on any one source and preventing a crisis if one disappears. Further the more income a club can generate, generally, the more successful it will be in a sporting context as it will have more resources to invest in this area. Therefore a club’s organisational aim could be defined as maximising income (profit) through multiple sources in order to support the sporting objectives.
This objective can be achieved by thinking of the club as a business and in terms of what services a club can provide to earn money. Services can generate direct income through a combination of charging users and sponsorship of these activities.
Sponsors are usually the main funding source for the club’s activities. A common approach is to ask a local company’s help, telling them how much the club needs their support. This pleading for a donation will not be sustainable. Instead, taking a business approach, the club is more of a salesperson highlighting the value sponsorship would have to their business and how sponsorship is in the company’s commercial interests.
Like any business transaction it has to be mutually benefiting or no exchange will take place. Sponsorship of a sports club can help a company with publicity and visibility, improve it’s corporate image and public relations, endorsement for its products and interaction with its customers. The last one is highly valued by business and the clubs can come up with various initiatives to achieve this.
|Match Day Experience
Another way to earn money is through match tickets. First of all good marketing of the event is crucial. It is obvious but if people don’t know about it then they won’t come. Once people are there it is important to ensure the supporters’ match day experience should be made as entertaining as possible so they will come back and tell their friends, the most effective form of marketing.
A well organised event will give a good image. Some ideas include giving each supporter a bulletin with information on the teams and players, current league table and club news. This will increase their interest in the outcome of the match and increase their feeling of association with the club. Pre-match and half-time entertainment could include a fan penalty shootout/crossbar challenge competition, a performance from a local cheerleading/dance club, a youth game or a coaching session for young fans (I am sure others can think of better ideas). A good atmosphere helps improve the experience so it might be better to give free or discounted tickets and make money from increased sponsorship and sales of drinks and snacks.
|Manchester Futsal Club’s Youth Players
Having a youth section should be a fundamental objective for any club. If subscription fees can cover the cost of the youth teams then profit can be made from sponsorship and sales of training kit and match tickets. It gives the club a strong presence in the local community, not forgetting that it also provides local players for the first team.
With futsal still not established it can be difficult to gain exposure in the traditional print media. This will come when the sport grows. However the advantage is that today the internet is probably the principal source for accessing information especially among the younger generations.
Therefore it is crucial that clubs take advantage of this fact through having an active and updated website and social media profile
(Facebook, Twitter etc.). And encourage their players to do this as well. This can provide interaction with fans which traditional media can’t. These cost very little and should be promoted in as many places as possible.
Newspapers are still important and they should be approached. Again it is better to offer something that benefits them in exchange. Maybe an agreement could be reached where the club physio or fitness coach writes a regular informative article on their area of expertise in the local paper in return for the inclusion of a match report or club news.
Clubs often have expertise within their organisation that can utilised to generate income. This could be used to organise local leagues for the general public, local employers (maybe that of the club’s sponsor) or in colleges and schools (also an opportunity to recruit youth players). The club could provide youth coaching during school holidays or carry out local government’s social programs.
|Inter Movstar’s Megacracks tour across Spain, which provides free sessions for children, has been a huge success for the club & its partners
Looking at the finances from the other side there is a need to investigate ways to reduce costs. This is where finding volunteers is important. Again, as with sponsorship, to be more successful this has to be an exchange rather than a favour. A club can provide valuable experience in physiotherapy, web development, journalism, marketing etc.
It is important to adopt a business mindset and then come up with your own ideas. What can the club can provide that people want in exchange for what the club needs (money, exposure etc.)? Many of the ideas above will not only provide direct income but indirect through increasing the awareness and reputation of the club in their community. This exposure can lead to more match ticket sales, increased value of sponsorship and networking opportunities amongst other things.
If clubs wait for handouts from their federations, local government and local business they could be waiting a long time. Better organisation and financial management in clubs is key for the future development of futsal.
These are my views and I am sure others have better ideas. I would like to hear your suggestions and critiques in the comments sections, especially if you have experience in sport management.
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