Money might make the world turn, but it isn’t the most important thing. Hockey is a prime example because, as the likes of football and athletics lose their soul to the introduction of VAR technology, the simplicity of our simple-yet-effective game continues to help the sport compete against its bigger competitors.
However, there is a fine balance between making it all about the money and using the resources to further the art. Hockey players, fans and pundits can only imagine what the sport would be like with only a fraction of the funds of football, cricket and American-based sources of entertainment.
The good news is, not every profitable business puts money above everything else. These four organisations have managed to strike a balance and highlighted the path the sport of hockey could take if it wants to boosts its brand globally.
The Mumbai Indians
The Indian Premier League, or IPL as it’s known, is transforming into one of the most lucrative competitions in the world. With an estimated value of £3.2 billion, it has come a long way since its inception in 2009. The same can be said of the franchises that are allowed to take part, especially the dominant Mumbai Indians.
Several factors have contributed to their success, such as becoming known as perennial winners in T20 cricket. However, the management of the Ambani family has helped them to keep sponsors Samsung, Jio and Usha, while adding Marriott Bonvoy, Colgate, Cadbury Dairy Milk, and William Lawson’s, which has played a significant role in their rise.
Also, the importance of real-time wagers can’t be underestimated since the market value of sports gambling in India alone is around £110 billion per year. Success breeds success, so punters are flocking to sports betting sites to piggyback off of MI’s profitability. This has caused sports betting markets to skyrocket in the sub-continent, only adding to Mumbai’s bottom line. A combination of savvy marketing deals and the knock-on effect the team’s ability to win has on wagering means the brand’s value has climbed by 69% in 12 years.
Manchester City Football Club
Ask football fans and they might disagree with Manchester City FC making it onto this list. In many peoples’ eyes, they are the epitome of greed leading to victories they don’t deserve. But this narrow version of events undermines how the people behind the scenes have created a successful operating strategy that ensures the club is one of the most profitable in world sports.
For example, the boardroom was filled with a mixture of entrepreneurs and former players who had been through a similar process, mainly at FC Barcelona. As a result, director Aitor Begiristain laid a platform for on-pitch triumphs under Pep Guardiola, while the likes of Omar Berrada expanded the City Football Group to include Silver Lake as an investor.
Currently, City is the 25th most valuable sports team in the world, well in front of rivals Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea, all of whom have had longer to establish a business model to match City’s, yet haven’t.
The Kansas City Chiefs
The National Football League is lucrative due to the setup. With franchises, there is no fear of being relegated like in European sports, so the teams always get a slice of the pie. American football teams aren’t created equal, though, with the Dallas Cowboys worth an eye-watering £1.32 billion more than their closest rivals, the New England Patriots.
The Kansas City Chiefs barely compete with the Cowboys financially, which is surprising to some considering their dominance of the NFL in the past couple of years. However, it’s not shocking that the Chiefs are using their newfound success to build a sustainable platform. At £1.8 billion, they are the 23rd most valuable franchise out of 32, but this doesn’t tell the full story.
In 2002, for example, the franchise’s value was £337 million, rising incrementally until 2016 when the value hit £1.3 billion. Within the four years from 2016 until 2020, the figures topped £1.8 billion, highlighting the astronomical rise of an American football team that wasn’t well-known outside of Kansas pre-Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.
Money isn’t everything, but it is important for the growth and sustainability of the game. By shining a light on the success stories such as the Mumbai Indians, Manchester City FC and the Kansas City Chiefs, England Hockey could enhance the perception of the sport in the eyes of casual viewers.