Below the elite of the game, many football clubs struggle financially, relying on too many variables to ensure season by season survival. Will you get a good cup run, can you unearth a future star and sell at a good price, or will another benefactor suddenly appear to bail out your club? Perhaps there is a different route. How would you feel if you were able to save on expenditure, increase revenue, move closer to the community and increase your fan base? Good, I guess. Well here is how. Replace your playing surface with a 3G synthetic turf pitch. Controversial? Yes, if you listen to the old pros, but not if you study the experiences abroad, where not only have clubs survived and prospered from similar financial constraints, but the quality of play has improved.
Let me give you a case study. A club in a town with a population of 60,000 owns its own stadium, yet has to hire training facilities, rent other pitches, and none of its many junior teams as ever played at the ground, and some of those kids will never even watch a match there. Change the surface to synthetic and here are the savings.
1. Training ground and pitch rental £22,000
2. Upkeep costs of a natural turf pitch £10,000
3. Water costs £2,000
Total savings around £34,000
Of course with junior teams hiring pitches at an average cost of £1,000 per season each and also paying for training facilities at a further £1,000 per season, a club could reasonably assume, that, with age group usage from U-8s through to U-15s, the loss per season would be around £16,000.
Now with a synthetic turf pitch available to the club for training and matches and available to the public the potential income of 20 hours a week could bring in £2,000 per week, or £80,000 during a 40 week season, and still be available for summer use.
The mathematicians amongst you will see that the swing could be as great as £130,000 per season, and that does not include extras such as income over the bar, higher match attendances, even greater replica kit sales. Measuring the impact on the clubs position in the community is harder, but from a development perspective club coaches get to see all the kids and that can only improve the potential for the club. And your fan base will increase.
The next question is how does the club afford a pitch? Well, with a cost between £300,000 and £350,000 to convert your old pitch it is not out of the question. A strong business case, based on future revenue generation, could see the cost repaid over a 5 or 7 year period, leaving sufficient funds each year to support other club developments.
Experience also shows that players adapt very quickly to the new type of surface and will welcome it during the long days of winter over the mud and divots experienced on their current pitch. Are there any losers? Yes, there are, and these are the owners of the pitches you have previously had to hire.
For more information, get in touch with one of the Rhino-Turf Team.