|Julie Clark - Head of Sport and Leisure, PwC|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 29 November 2013 17:26
Julie heads up PwC’s Sport and Leisure practice in the UK. She leads assignments in relation to sports infrastructure development and funding, due diligence and M&A advice in the sport and leisure sector and advises on broader financial and commercial issues. Her clients include the London Legacy Development Corporation in the public sector, who she has been assisting to secure the legacy use of the Olympic Stadium, governing bodies like the Football Association, the International Rugby Board and UEFA and a long list of Premiership and Championship football clubs, rugby and cricket clubs.
Julie is a key member of PwC’s Mega Events Centre of Excellence which ensures that there is effective knowledge transfer (and appropriate ethical walls) between the many major sports events which PwC is working on, such as the legacy of London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Qatar 2022.
Julie is the editor of the “Outlook for the Global Sports market”, PwC’s forecasts of global sports revenues, and a Member of UKTI’s Global Sports Projects Sectors Advisory Group, where she chairs the Emerging Markets sub group.
As Head of Sport & Leisure at PwC, what are you main roles?
I have two roles. One is to maximise business for the whole of PwC from the sports and leisure industry which means supporting the assurance, advisory and tax practices. I help them to understand industry trends and provide contacts. My day job is in the deals business, delivering assignments to the sport and leisure industry.
How did you begin working in the sport industry and then onto PwC?
I started in hospitality. After my first degree I did a post-graduate degree in tourism management. I then went into a regional tourist board where I appraised applications for grants to the tourism industry. I did that for four years and then saw an opportunity to apply to Coopers & Lybrand (which eventually become PwC) for a hospitality consultant role. I have gradually specialised over the years so I am now completely focused on the sport and leisure industry. To be honest this is partly because I saw it as a growth area, but it is also because I enjoy it!
You work in relation to infrastructure development and work with the LLDC. Tell me about your role in the Olympic Stadium plans.
Initially we helped the government to review the whole bid to help them understand whether the plans, including those for the Olympic Stadium, were realistic and whether the bid made sense from a UK perspective.
Then I did some work for the Olympic Delivery Authority when they were planning the Stadium. We put together an Outline Business Case, looking at the cost and the benefits of the Stadium particularly during the legacy phase. More recently, when the LLDC was created, we have been helping them manage the process to secure a concessionaire for the Stadium. We prepared a business plan, evaluated bids and are now helping them appoint an operator to manage the Stadium. It has been interesting to see how the political view of the Stadium has changed over the ten year period we have been involved.
You work with a lot of football clients such as The FA, UEFA and clubs. What work do you do with them and what are the differences between working for a club and a governing body?
Much of the work we do with clubs relates to stadium development. For example, we did a lot of work with Arsenal on the Emirates Stadium, helping the banks to get comfortable with the business plan for the new stadium. In the case of Brighton & Hove Albion, we also appraised the business plans for the Amex Stadium, but in this instance, our work was for the Board, to give them an independent view on their plans.
We often work for potential purchasers of football clubs, usually undertaking financial, tax and commercial due diligence for them. The challenge, particularly for an overseas bidder, is helping them to understand the risks associated with relegation, as well as understanding how realistic promotion is, given their player budget.
Our work for governing bodies can be very wide ranging and I’m not sure there is a typical piece of work for a governing body. For example, we helped the The FA with the World Cup bid, which was a very exciting experience, but ultimately very disappointing when England didn’t win. I took some heart from the fact that the technical bid was considered one of the best, but as a football fan, it would have been great to have hosted the World Cup at home. We have also helped the International Cricket Council with a governance review.