Manchester-based Dan Jones is the lead partner of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. His clients include Everton Football Club, the International Rugby Board and the ATP Men’s Tennis Tour. He is the co-editor of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football
A day in the life where high finance meets great sporting brands.
I start the day at 6:30. As it’s a Monday, I plan and set up the week, working out what I have to get done. Today is the first day of term so for once I do the school run before the journey to the office in the middle of Manchester. While email dominates communication, I still keep a written notebook. I think better with a pen in my hand. I sometimes get my ideas down quicker, if not neater, than I can on screen.
Today’s first meeting is at 10 o’clock. It is a senior team meeting to talk about current budgets, the proposals and possible projects we have out there and generally to plan and coordinate for the month ahead. Then we have a longer-term chat about resourcing, because we’re in the process of recruiting again.
There are 16 in my team currently. Working with very bright people is a huge part of the appeal of the job; in a professional services business it is all about working on issues with clients and the people on my team. Being able to pick a newspaper up and it being your job to go straight to the sports pages, as well as the business pages, is definitely also a huge plus!
Then at 11 o’clock I get a call from a journalist about the football transfer window. He wants to know my opinions on what is likely to happen. We prepare analysis on every transfer window so I share our insights and data from previous windows, and predict that this time won’t be as busy as 2011 — financial pressures are driving clubs back to more normal levels of trading.
Around midday, I have a call out of the blue about a possible new transaction. It is an overseas investor looking at investing in a sports team. Then, through a working lunch and the early afternoon, I work with a project team on an assignment for a client looking at developing a new sports property. We sketch out an outline of their strategy and business model, and how they can deal with all the various stakeholders.
Then, after that, I go straight onto an internal call to look at how we’re going to contract with a new client in an emerging market. This is the sort of thing that comes up more and more now. We’re a global firm, so we need to think through contractual arrangements with clients in different jurisdictions, rather than dealing with a more traditional client who we may have contracted with many times before in the UK.
I follow that up with a few outgoing calls to a couple of people I know from the industry who’ve recently been appointed as CEOs. I chat about their plans and offer my congratulations. For the rest of the day I am just getting things straight. Today, I am able to leave around 7 o’clock. Anything else I need to get done, I can do at home.
That’s a fairly typical day if I’m in the office: a 6:30 start and aiming to get home sometime before eight unless I’m attending an evening event or am away on business. If you average it out, I probably spend about half my time in Manchester; a quarter in London; and the rest somewhere else. It just depends where the work is. I could be in India, the Middle East or Switzerland. There’s a lot of change in the sports business which makes professional advice and consultancy more important than ever before.
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