17 Jun 2022

By: Sport Industry Group

Sport-focused global management company Portas Consulting recently launched its annual CEO review into the UK sports landscape. The review captures unique perspectives of 60 leaders across UK sport, including those from clubs, leagues, investors, national and international governing bodies and corporates. The review covers four main themes that require CEOs to ‘challenge the status quo’...

Commenting on the report, Charlie Cowen, Partner at Portas Consulting, said, “Our annual CEO review provides a unique perspective into the challenges that keep CEOs ‘up at night’. It is no surprise that growth, confidence and optimism are returning as we emerge from the challenges of the last two years. However, what is also stark is the need to change. Without challenging ‘how things have always been done’ and embracing innovation, it will be difficult for organisations to succeed in a complex and fragmented landscape.”

1. An optimistic outlook, a more diverse future

CEOs are more confident on growth and have a renewed sense of optimism and enjoyment for working in the industry. 82% of CEOs are confident in their organisation’s growth prospects over the next 12 months, a 74% year-on-year increase.

However, CEOs still face challenges on technological innovations and digital disruption of sport, with only 30% of CEOs stating they feel ‘ready’ to capitalise on these trends.

2. Capitalising on the opportunity of women’s sport

The survey reveals a gap between the perception of how prepared CEOs are for women’s sport and the reality of the current plans and resourcing.

  • The perception: 82% of CEOs indicate they are ‘ready’ to capitalise on the ‘growth of women’s sport’
  • The reality: Only 7% of CEOs agree that ‘women’s sport has sufficient resources allocated to it to deliver on its potential over the next 5 years’

To overcome this gap, CEOs need to develop long-term business plans to navigate short term commercial imperatives and deliver long-term growth.

3. The future role of a Federation

The sports landscape is evolving rapidly, growing in complexity and these changing dynamics are placing traditional structures of sport under increased pressure. Federations, in particular, need to identify what their role is and how to deliver value as the wider sports ecosystem has lost confidence in them as lead decision-makers.

  • Only 22% of CEOs agree or strongly agree that Federations have the ‘support and backing of the sports ecosystem’
  • Less than half (46%) of the wider sports ecosystem believe ‘Federations are best placed to be lead decision-makers and to set standards’

4. The innovation imperative

The final theme centres on the need to innovate and to adapt to changing technologies and consumption habits. CEOs recognise that there is a ‘deficit’ within their organisations when it comes to innovation

  • 4% of CEOs strongly believe their organisations are ‘tech-savvy and up-to-date with the latest trends & innovations’
  • 13% of CEOs strongly believe their organisations are ‘experimental, not averse to risk and embracing technology is at the heart of their culture’




Image: Adobe Stock