Clubs hire Deloitte to ‘unlock’ value in Scots football

SPFL member clubs Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts and Hibernian announced that “with the endorsement of the SPFL” they have commissioned Deloitte as independent advisers to assist in a “strategic and holistic review of the SPFL.”

The clubs said the primary focus of their six-month review will be on identifying ways of “unlocking significant additional revenues for the benefit of all in professional Scottish club football.”

One of the aims of the review will be to almost double the annual distribution to member clubs from £27 million to at least £50 million within the next five years.

The clubs said the review is being undertaken with a view to identifying “how the SPFL can significantly increase the annual distribution of revenues” to member clubs.

They said: “This is not about redistribution of existing income sources in favour of so-called ‘bigger clubs’.

“The clubs are seeking to unlock new revenues and grow the Scottish game as a whole where ‘a rising tide lifts all ships’.

“We believe that unlocking new revenues will allow us to, amongst other things, produce better, more technically gifted players, to compete in European club competitions and at national level.

“The SPFL board has endorsed this important review that the clubs have commissioned with Deloitte and welcome the support and engagement of all who share our ambition to grow the Scottish game via a clear vision, strategy, and set of goals.”

In a statement, the clubs added: “As a group of clubs, who will spend around £600m over the next ten years (in both operations and infrastructure) we believe a clear vision and strategy with measurable goals is needed if Scottish Football is to continue to grow and prosper on and off the pitch, and ultimately compete with similar-sized countries and leagues across Europe.

“The clubs, who have commissioned this work with Deloitte, welcome the engagement of all stakeholders in the game and intend to make the key outcomes and recommendations public.”

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group has been engaged to complete the first phase of a six-month review with the goal of developing a blueprint and road map to “shape and guide the future of Scottish professional football.”

The strategic review will focus on four key areas — commercial growth; the SPFL brand; SPFL structure, governance, organisation, resources and competition; and strategic projects.

On commercial growth, the review will explore the opportunities and structure to significantly increase league revenues and, by extension, funds distributed to member clubs.

“The analysis will include league inventory and value of sponsorships and commercial partnerships, broadcast and media licensing, new product opportunities, inventory development, structure and staffing, among other initiatives to drive revenue growth,” said the clubs.

“For reference, the current annual distribution to member clubs is £27m, and the hope and expectation is to test the aspiration and goal of achieving at least £50m of annual distributions within the next five years.”

On the SPFL brand, the review will explore “how we can work together to strengthen and promote the image and brand” of the league and the Scottish game.

“The SPFL is one the most exciting leagues in Europe — it is authentic, intense, and passionate,” said the clubs.

“Few leagues and clubs have the level of engagement, attendance and support that exists in Scottish football.

“We should cherish, promote and celebrate it.”

On SPFL structure, governance, organisation, resources and competition, the exercise will review and recommend structural and organisational changes to improve the governance and administration of the league — focused on “streamlining the delivery” of the strategic goals.

It will benchmark against other leagues and best practices across the game.

On strategic projects, the report will review and recommend initiatives “that complement and advance the strategic, commercial, and sporting goals” of the league.

Areas of review could include government relations, philanthropy, safety and security of venues, youth academies and player development.