John Wood, commercial director at Exeter Chiefs, gave Wellington Business Association members an intriguing glimpse of the business side to Premiership rugby when he was the April guest speaker.
Chiefs fans, it seems, drink more than any other UK rugby supporters with an average bar spend on match days at Sandy Park of around £71,000. “They’re not alcoholics, there’s just no pubs nearby,” said John.
The club currently has a turnover of around £14m, which has grown steadily over the past 10 years since Chiefs went professional. It makes a profit of about 7% but that is re-invested not paid out to the 700 loyal shareholders.
Wages for 52 professional players plus coaches and support staff amounts to almost £5m a year but John said that even with club stars like Jack Nowell and Henry Slade playing for England, there was no real upward pressure on salaries.
With the President and Treasurer of Wellington Chiefs in the WBA audience, John Wood gave a great explanation of the formula for a financially successful rugby club.