Holistic strategic consulting for greater commercial efficiency – from the sports business for the sports business
Sports – just like art or religion – are by their very nature conceived as "non-thinking systems." For that reason, the sports business follows its own rules, which differ significantly from other industries. But that doesn't mean that economic and strategic questions are irrelevant here. Deep industry insights and expertise are still required to provide competent and customized advice in the sports business.
We provide holistic strategic consulting across all areas of the sports business, based on in-depth insight gained through many years of practical senior management experience.
With a focus on innovation and growth drivers – such as esports, Smart Stadium, virtual advertising, internationalization, target group-specific marketing concepts, and strategic sponsoring planning – we support our clients in all their current challenges.
Strategy means making clear-cut choices about how to compete.
- Jack Welch
Significant strategy gaps in the sports business
Triggered by higher-level developments such as globalization, digitization, and changes in consumer behavior, the rules of the game are fundamentally changing in the sports business. This poses existential challenges for all stakeholders in the industry. Now more than ever, a clear strategy is essential to manage the new demands and generate long-term competitive advantages proactively.
In practice, however, there are significant gaps in strategic thinking, decision-making, and implementation in all areas of the sports ecosystem.
Rights owners are caught up in day-to-day business. They follow me-too approaches and lack the resources and skills to develop new business areas systematically.
At the same time, brands face a market dominated by traditional rights holders and agencies with rules and mechanisms they do not fully grasp. So their sponsorship decisions are still too often made with the Chairman's Choice principle or merely based on media coverage considerations.
We give our clients holistic advice on all strategic issues: make-or-buy decisions, strategic tender management (e.g., marketing and sales, catering and technology), support in M&A processes, the development of new business areas, and strategic sponsoring consulting.
We see strategy as an integrated portfolio of initiatives that boost corporate value and secure a strong competitive edge. Based on extensive hands-on senior management experience in strategic development, we guide our clients on their strategic path, making sure their strategic goals are in line with their corporate culture and structure.
Be strong on vision, but flexible on detail.
- Jeff Bezos
Organizational transformation must follow business transformation
Against the backdrop of the changing sports business and continuous change processes caused by digital upheavals, every player in the market faces significant organizational challenges. The successful management of organizational transformation, the systematic handling of growth areas, and the permanent adaptability of flexible structures will be crucial for future competitive advantages.
Today, however, there are substantial shortcomings in practice. In most cases, the organizational structures of rights holders and agencies were updated and grew, but they were never strategically derived. Consequently, they are often rigid and show major weaknesses, often as early as the first staff shake-up. As a result, strategic growth areas are rarely sufficiently represented in organizational terms. Usually, there are overlapping functions or even entire gaps when dealing with new business areas.
Organizational shortfalls on the part of advertisers are evident in missing or inefficient structures for the conception, planning, and implementation of sponsorships. At the same time, a lack of efficient organizational and procedural integration in the company's overarching advertising and communication strategy is also common.
We provide our clients with organizational consulting that covers all commercial areas of a sports organization, guide organizational transformation processes for rights holders, and help improve economic efficiency. We also support the development of structures for planned insourcing (e.g., marketing and sales) and help to create appropriate structures in new business areas (e.g., internationalization, stadium management, esports). Moreover, we apply our expertise in post-merger integrations and merger management, help brands to set up structures and take on interim management functions.
We see organizational transformation as an ongoing process instead of a one-off project. The objective is to build agile organizations instead of rigid structures.
Marketing & Sales
The biggest risk is not taking any risk...
In a world that changing really quickly,
the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail
is not taking risks.
- Mark Zuckerberg
The Sponsoring Pyramid - an expression from a bygone era
The brand positioning of sports rights holders – as the basis of every marketing concept – is often poorly developed when it comes to a brand's essence, its characteristics, and its messages. The positioning is very similar with little differentiation in content and can, therefore, be easily exchanged from the sponsor's point of view. As an expression of this, the "sponsoring pyramid" developed in the 1990s as a standard concept still dominates in sports marketing. The hierarchical arrangement of sponsors in the marketing pyramid according to package price and exclusivity corresponds more to the classic seller's market, which was characterized by high demand and low awareness on the buyer's side.
For individually customized solutions, flexible modular systems, and the agile integration of new products, tools, and platforms, this marketing concept is proving to be increasingly ineffective and outdated. And yet the majority of market participants have stuck to it because new strategic answers are lacking.
We offer brand consulting for rights holders, develop new marketing concepts to meet individual needs, and systematically integrate new and innovative products. In joint workshops, we tailor all marketing and sales activities and develop industry- and customer-specific packages, as well as concrete sales approaches, together.
From patronage (yesterday)
to standardized sponsorship packages (today)
to individual, strategic partnerships (tomorrow)
Advertisers have significantly contributed to the current state of sports sponsoring with its strategic and structural deficits. Many sponsoring concepts lack clearly defined objectives (clear KPIs), strategic brand fit, structural integration into other communicative measures, an industry-specific understanding of new developments and opportunities in sports sponsoring (e.g., virtual advertising, esports), and creative excellence in the conception and implementation of campaigns.
But this doesn't mean that sport sponsoring doesn't work in principle. Instead, it is an appeal to plan, implement, and manage your own sponsoring concept systematically. Only then can sport sponsoring unfold its full potential – both internally and externally – and become a strategic advantage in the battle for consumer attention.
We support our clients in the development of an individual sponsoring strategy as well as with efficient sponsoring organization. We also assist in the selection, evaluation, and acquisition of strategically aligned sponsoring rights.
Throughout the implementation phase, we help with the evaluation, selection, and contracting of all essential specialist agencies and supervise all internal and external tasks in line with the overall strategy. As an interim manager, we also take care of structuring the internal resources, processes, and structures needed.
Market expertise and networks as the key to successful internationalization
As globalization continues in the sports business, German rights holders are increasingly focusing on the development of new, international markets. At the same time, we see growing interest from global service providers, agencies, and rights holders in the German sports market. The same is true for potential investors and sponsors, especially from Anglo-American and Asian countries.
The key to success lies in an individual market entry strategy based on in-depth industry knowledge and personal networks in the target market.
The main challenges are to evaluate each market's potential individually and gain efficient access to relevant decision-makers. We work with our clients to develop and implement individual internationalization strategies based on in-depth market potential assessments. Apart from this, we identify the right international partners and provide access to relevant top decision-makers in the sports business. The cornerstone of our consulting services is our many years of practical project experience in more than 15 international markets.
Trends | Innovations
Strategy is about shaping the future.
- Max McKeown
Know trends and innovations to make strategic decisions
Social change and technological innovations are forcing the sports business to make fundamental changes. But with the right strategic decisions, it can actively shape the change itself and not end up a passive victim of disruption.
The sports business is becoming increasingly complex, with more and more experts for niche specialist topics fragmenting the market. Here the challenge for decision-makers in the sports business is to keep up with everything.
So it's crucial for all market participants to know and grasp trends and technical innovations. They have to assess their content, develop an individual strategy for dealing with them, and devise, implement and evaluate the appropriate measures.
Through Trend & Innovation Workshops, we offer our clients an overview of current developments and an analysis of the content and adaptation for their business. We give insights into the relevant start-up scenes and, through more in-depth projects, help turn ideas into sustainable business. We systematically develop concepts for the current core business as well as strategies for new business areas.
Stadia | Arenas
We successfully implement "once-in-a-lifetime" projects
The vast majority of European stadiums and arenas do not meet the current and future requirements for digitization and fan experience. Hospitality offerings have remained mostly unchanged and are now facing sinking market demand. This is even more critical in light of increasing competition to attract Generation Y and Z's leisure spending.
But on the other hand, there is extensive practical experience regarding utilization concepts, commercialization, and refinancing, which makes it easier to plan for future requirements.
For future stadium and arena owners as well as all other stakeholders in the field of sports infrastructure, we offer comprehensive advice ranging from the creation of feasibility studies to commercialization strategies. We help to successfully implement these once-in-a-lifetime projects for clubs, federations, and public authorities. We create long-term, holistic business plans, develop utilization concepts, design leading-edge marketing concepts, generate new revenue opportunities, and optimize service and supplier contracts. We provide advice on the conception, technology, and management of Smart Stadium solutions and create unique fan experiences.
Our consulting services are anchored in real insights gained from more than 18 years of senior management experience in stadium and arena development and management.
esports – it’s still just the beginning.
From a trend to an established sports and entertainment business
Esports is no longer " just" a megatrend. It's now a permanent fixture in the sports and entertainment business of the future. Extreme growth figures and forecasts in the areas of media, sponsoring, merchandising and licensing, live events, as well as fans and community clearly demonstrate this. In particular, the popularity of esports in the commercially hard-to-reach target group of Generation Y and Z makes the business so attractive.
The in part still underdeveloped structures, a lack of professionalism on the supply side, and the market’s extreme dynamics pose significant strategic challenges to all stakeholders in the esports ecosystem.
We offer esports rights holders access to the top decision-makers in the classic sports business to inform the market systematically about esports opportunities. We optimize all commercial structures, processes and revenue streams, and design marketing concepts and products that simplify a non-endemic brand's market entry. We enable the development of strategic partnerships and deliver real added value to the community. Through workshops, we give brands a fundamental understanding of the entire esports ecosystem and help to lay the groundwork for defining individual goals. We advise and guide investors, service providers, agencies, and media providers to ensure a successful entry into the esports market. Our expertise draws on many years of practical senior management experience in the international esports business.