How local sports clubs can become more financially independent and prosper in 2021

How local sports clubs can become more financially independent and prosper in 2021

It has been a grim year for sports organisations who were among the worst hit from the pandemic. Traditional revenue streams from player registrations were significantly reduced, sponsorship payments were cut, fundraisers were cancelled, and canteens remained closed.

Many clubs could no longer afford merchandise or playing kits and could not keep up with ongoing payments to use council owned parks for their fields.

The resumption of contact sports by the NSW Government was a saving grace for most, but with the financial effects so deep in some sporting codes, for others it could take a few seasons to recover.

I have been asked by numerous sports clubs to provide them with some tips to cushion the financial impacts of covid-19 this year and to come out in full swing in 2021. Below are some of my main suggestions.


  1. Negotiate with your Local Council
    • By way of example, in September this year Canterbury-Bankstown Council waived all ground hire costs for sporting clubs and associations for the 2020 winter season. A critical decision that kept in excess of $250,000.00 in the pockets of sports clubs in the local area.
    • You should speak to your local Councillors about the prospects of a cost-free period or a substantial discount. It goes without saying that sports plays an integral role in engaging the community and boosts the mental and physical wellbeing of participants.
  2. Re-think your kit provider
    • No doubt, it would be nice to feel like Real Madrid or La Lakers and have Nike or Adidas produce your kits, but it may not be a financially viable decision. Because many brands will have experienced a reduction in their revenue stream due to covid-19, there will be greater competition in the market for your business which means brands will be more willing to produce your kits at a lower price and you will have greater capacity to leverage a cheaper deal.
  3. Expand your sponsorship opportunities
    • Local sports clubs are not bullet proof from losing sponsors and many clubs opt to find a single major sponsor rather than multiple minor sponsors. The issue we have seen in this pandemic is that the survival of some clubs was entirely reliant on a singular sponsorship payment.
    • It is important to diversify your income streams from sponsors. There are greater prospects of securing the clubs long-term financial position when there are multiple channels of income.
  4. Access the Government assistance schemes
    • There are many subsidised packages created by the NSW Government to encourage participation in sport. The ‘Active Kids’ program provides two $100 vouchers for parents, guardians and carers of school-enrolled children to use towards sport and active recreation costs each year. You may also be eligible for the Community Sports Recovery Package and the Grassroots Sports Fund which include one-off payments of $1,000.00.
    • You should also regularly check the NSW Office of Sport website for updates and I encourage you to get on top of every available benefit possible.
    • Get in touch

As a former professional athlete, I understand the financial and commercial struggles that face local sports organisations. If you operate a sports club or play for a club that is facing financial pressures, please contact me on [email protected] or (02) 9391 3196.


Article prepared by: George Mourani – Lawyer, Sydney

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