Oxford United Football Club

Making football pay

Oxford United was playing in the equivalent of The Championship. However, they were also playing in a much loved but decrepit stadium called The Manor Ground. The Club had tried for years to get a new stadium project off the ground without success.  I spent 18 months offering marketing advice to the Club as part of an Advisory Board and when the project finally got the green light I joined as Commercial Director. My role was to make the facility sustainable in commercial terms.
The Club has some of the most passionate and dedicated fans around. Only unfortunately there are not enough of them. Meanwhile Sky is generous only to the biggest of Premiership Clubs.  The solution lay in multi-use. In diversifying the usage away from football.
The Stadium itself was extended to create a conferencing, banqueting and exhibition facility which was the largest between London, Bristol and Birmingham (the Golden triangle) and we create a stand alone brand called The Quadrangle that leveraged the brand name of the University City more than the reputation of the football team. 
Around the stadium we created a hotel (Holiday Inn Express) to support the conferencing business and a leisure site (O Zone) that includes a large health and fitness club, multiplex cinema and bowling alley. 
Nothing in football ever runs smoothly and this project was not without it moments - for example having to engine a sale of the club half way through the project.  However we got there and created a valuable asset in the process. 
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