Former Jockey Club chairman Simon Bazalgette and its former chief executive Paul Fisher have launched a new advisory, investment and services business for the sports, leisure, media and entertainment sectors.
The new business, Global Venue Services, will offer strategic advisory, investment and interim management plus a range of business services to sports, leisure, media and entertainment investors, in addition to business owners, venue owners and event promoters.
A statement from the new company indicated it will draw on a network of experts in finance, law, human resources, information technology, communications, content, sustainability, diversity and inclusion and live music, to create a ‘one-stop shop’ consultancy service for clients.
The company’s Global Advisory Board will include Bernard Kantor, one of the founders of Investec Bank, and Trevor Watkins, global head of sports practice at Pinsent Masons.
Kantor drove the building of the Investec brand through extensive sponsorship activities in horse racing (the Investec Derby), football (Tottenham Hotspur), cricket (the England home tests), rugby (the autumn internationals) and the England women’s hockey team. He joins GVS as a shareholder and non-executive director.
Watkins is head of sports at the major multinational professional services firm, Pinsent Masons, which he joined in 2011. With Pinsent Masons appointed as legal advisor to GVS, Trevor will be the first member of GVS’s advisory group, providing strategic advice gained from his experience of working within the sports, entertainment and leisure sectors.
Watkins has direct experience of the sports world as a past chairman of AFC Bournemouth and as a past non-executive director of the EFL, Sport Revolution and the National Anti-Doping Panel.
During their time with the Jockey Club, Fisher and Bazalgette sought to consolidate ‘back-of-house’ functions, including accountancy, payment centre, loyalty and ticketing across the 15 racecourses operated by the organisation. They then took what they had learned from the process to launch Jockey Club Services, a new advisory service for other sports rights-holders and event operators.
Simon Bazalgette said: “Paul and I are hugely excited about the launch of GVS and we are privileged to have been backed by Bernard Kantor and Trevor Watkins, who are both leaders in their respective fields. The range of skills, experience and networks within GVS means we can make a real difference to clients.
“We are already working on a pipeline of deals that we expect GVS to announce during the course of the year. The coronavirus lockdown has created huge challenges for the sports, entertainment and leisure sectors, but there are also opportunities for business owners and investors to restructure and find innovative new ways to survive and grow in the post-lockdown world. We can add significant value to these plans as advisors and investors.”
Paul Fisher added: “With a combined experience of more than 40 years in the leisure, hospitality and music industries, we know just how challenging it is for venues to operate successfully and profitably in these difficult times.
“Working with Trevor and Bernard means we have huge additional experience to bring to bear on behalf of our clients and to our business, whether it’s to assist with investment, turnarounds, and management or to bring together and manage relationships with many of the top-rated event service operators in the sector.”