Commercialising Team GB’S Most Successful Winter Olympic Sport

A year ahead of Sochi 2014, and the proposed merger between the GB skeleton and bobsleigh national governing bodies, British Skeleton decided to capitalise on its position as the only skeleton nation to return a medal at each of the six times it had competed at the Olympic Games by introducing its first-ever commercial plan – to shift the revenue model for the sport from 95 to 80% government lottery funding.

Client challenge:

  • To raise overall public awareness of British Skeleton and its gold-medal winning athletes/coaches in the lead-up to Sochi 2014.
  • To ensure the financial security of the NGB – acquiring a strong base of corporate partners.
  • To get the sport on mainstream British TV.
  • To create a platform to further grow sliding sports through to PyeongChang 2018.

THE INSIDE TRACK:

We came in with 12 months to go until the Sochi games to help British Skeleton audit and identify its most valuable commercial rights and assets by:

  • Defining the sport’s best commercial proposition and pitch to prospective sponsors, financiers, and also new members.
  • As part of the Board, preparing the sport’s ‘Follow us, Join us, Sponsor us’ first-ever commercial plan.
  • Organising, finding and securing a suite of new ‘official partners and suppliers’.
  • Working with the FIBT international governing body and the BBC to secure TV and digital rights ownership and ‘official media partner’ coverage of the World Cup season leading into Sochi.
  • Devising a programme of social media activation to revolutionise British Skeleton’s exposure on all Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels.

Impact:

British Skeleton secured 19 official partners in the Sochi year – including JLT, Ignite, McLaren, BAE Systems, Lane4, Adidas, BioCare, Rocktape, Cassano London and BBC Sport – to grow its commercial income five times inside 12 months. At the same time, the sport achieved an increase its season-long TV audience from 2.3m to 17.7m, as well as introducing new commercial innovations – such as becoming the only sports NGB to retail it’s own wine – ‘La Medaille d’Or’. We were retained to help write The Growth Years Strategic Plan 2014-18 which achieved a resultant 93% increase in UK Sports lottery funding for the four years to PyeongChang 2018.

“It has been largely down to you that British Skeleton evolved from a cottage industry to an organisation of substance in every respect. For that, you have our admiration and thanks.”

Martin Davis

Board Member, British Skeleton

“You have achieved miracles in such a short space of time and from such a low base, and for that I thank you sincerely.”

Clifton Wrottesley

Chair, British Skeleton

“Thanks to a stellar document produced and a good pitch on the day I am delighted to tell you that our meeting was a success. They were so impressed with the vision that they agreed to partner with BBSA for four years.”

Christopher Rodrigues

Chair, British Skeleton