A 5 Question Framework for Rethinking Revenue In Sports Business

In November, I’m doing a one-day workshop in Melbourne called “Fans For Life: Creating and Keeping Modern Fans” and one of the ideas that I want to encourage people to give serious consideration to is rethinking their revenue.

In working with organizations around the globe, I’ve begun to recognize a series of questions that you can ask yourself and your team when you need to rethink your revenue.

Especially when you are stuck and looking to reimagine where the revenue is coming from.

Those 5 questions are:

  1. Where does my revenue come from?
  2. How big are my sales?
  3. How often is a sale happening?
  4. What does my sales territory look like?
  5. What assumptions am I making that I should be trying to tear under?

Let me explain a little further.

Where does my revenue come from?

I was talking with a sales team the other day and we were talking about the number of revenue streams their organization had.

The number they came up with was 3, but I pushed back on that and we uncovered 5 more for 8 total.

For many of us, we can easily miss all the ways that we can generate revenue.

In sports, you have some easy ones like tickets, suites, merchandise, food, beverage, parking, and so on.

In asking the question about where your revenue comes from, the key is to push further with your thinking and look for revenue opportunities that you may not have thought of before.

You might see partnerships as a revenue stream and they all come from one type of partnership, but what if you created new theme nights or activations that allowed you to offer new things to your partners?

Same thing with tickets. You might be pretty comfortable selling single-game tickets, small memberships, and large memberships, but what if you aren’t looking and there is another need that isn’t being met?

We can go on about this and we will, but the important key is to think about the streams of revenue and think about how you can expand those either by offering more opportunities for people to give you money or by going deeper and creating more opportunities within your current categories.

How large are your sales?

When I started out in nightclubs in South Florida, a formative experience to me was a conversation about incremental revenue that came up during a team meeting.

The goal we were trying to achieve was to squeeze another $0.25 out of each guest that walked in the door.

This is where I came up with the famous question: “What kind of gin would you prefer?” for every time someone asked for a gin and tonic.

Simple question, forced people to make a decision, and this led to an increase in profit of almost $250,000 off of just gin and tonics in one year.

That’s on the small scale.

You can do that with every revenue opportunity in your organization.

Are there ways to increase the value you offer partners, membership buyers, and others so that you can increase the size of the sale?

Where else can you make your sales larger?

I bet you there are a lot.

How often are you making a sale?

You know it and I know it, subscriptions are awesome!


Predictible revenue!

But how many of us really have subscriptions set up?

Not as many as would like to, I bet.

The thing about this question is that you need to spend some time figuring out how often you are making people make a buying decision and shorten it or change the length to fit your needs and offer them a better value.

I manage to do this in a few different ways in my business:

  • I do High Impact Coaching Calls with organizations that they can pretty much book 24-48 hours in advance.
  • I also have a subscription plan that I started rolling out about 2 years ago that’s called “Your CRO” and it renews automatically every quarter.
  • I also do a monthly retainer.
  • And, I can do annual contracts.

The thing is that I’ve worked pretty hard to think through the question of how often someone is buying from me and create different opportunities to making buying easy and to make it less difficult or meet people’s needs.

So think about how often the sale is being made and adjust your offer to help you achieve the outcomes you desire.

What’s your sales territory?

The great thing about many sports teams is that they can really sell to a global market.

Not everyone does and not everyone should.

But you can.

The challenge becomes losing your focus on your core audience.

But go back to the question: what is your sales territory?

Are you only selling locally?


What’s your market share in that territory?

How can you expand it?

Are you developing enough name recognition? New fans?

Are you global?

Where are you strongest? Weakest?

Where would you like your brand to develop in?

Take as an example, Tottenham Hotspur, they were the smallest of the big six Premier League teams for a long time. Not any longer though as they have made a consistent effort to expand into the United States and Asia with partnerships like their kit partnership with AIA and their apparel deal with Nike.

By partnering with two brands that have footprints in their target markets, they are able to expand their footprint.

Another example from me, have I always just naturally been able to do business in Europe and Australia, no.

How did I achieve it?

I focused on expanding my sales territory.

I did it by speaking, writing, and other activities that got me into the new markets.

The same applies for new verticals, new neighborhoods, or new anything. And, it gets a lot easier when you are selling sports.

What assumptions should I be dumping?

I ask this question in many different forms depending on the audience.

You might think about what you’ve always done and that you know isn’t working.

You may consider asking it in a way that assumes something will work and figuring out what would create that environment.

You can go on and on.

The important thing here is to skip past the way things have always been done and get them into a new way of thinking.

Here’s an example from sports business in America, if you listen to Ian Taylor when he came on my podcast, The Business of Fun, he will tell you that Americans spend way too much time focusing on selling and not marketing.

That often manifests itself in an overreliance on cold calling at the expense of other things.

If I were using this question with an American team, I might say:

“What would it look like if our phones weren’t working? How would we contact prospects then?”

“How would you start a conversation with someone that was new to the game?”

“What assumptions are you making about prospects that people that have never been to a sporting event are likely to not care about?

The point is that I could go on and on with this question and its intention is to get you to think creatively about the way you are doing things and figure out if you are making guesses and assumptions that are costing you money.

I’m guessing that we are all guilty of that sometimes.

What say you? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you coming to my workshop in Melbourne, Australia on 18 November 2019? “Fan For Life” is going to be your chance to learn about the marketing funnel, sales strategies, marketing, and, maybe my favorite idea, Lifetime Fan Value. 

Get your tickets today! 

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