“This scheme is far in advance of anything seen before and has had a really impressive impact on the local community.” Judging panel, Football Business Awards 2015, on the Club’s investment in infrastructure in deprived areas around the Etihad Campus in East Manchester
Manchester City, as part of City Football Group, is proud to be part of a truly international sports and commercial organisation, committed to delivering world-class football performances, memorable experiences for fans, and sustainable commercial success.
In the 2015-16 season, the Club reported record £391.8 million revenues and a second consecutive annual profit, while continuing to operate with zero financial debt.
In the 2015-16 season, the Club reported its highest ever revenues, of £391.8 million. There was growth across all areas of the business. Most notably, matchday revenues rose by 21%, following the Etihad Stadium expansion, while broadcast revenues were up 19%, driven by City’s progression to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League.
The Club hosted a total of 28 games at the Etihad Stadium this season, with record attendances as a result of the expanded stadium, and a corresponding uplift in matchday revenue.
The Club’s licensing programme was brought in-house in 2015-16, resulting in a significant uplift in the number and geographical spread of licensees. In line with a more customised global approach across the Club’s activities, City fans in more than 40 countries can now access unique products and merchandise from 85 different licensees.
In July 2015, a dedicated e-commerce platform was launched for supporters in Asia, providing a faster and more localised experience, including dedicated language sites in traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai.
City focused its efforts on deepening engagement with partners, with enhanced benefits for fans and significant impact for Club partners. The opening of new offices in China and Singapore was an important part of the Club’s growth strategy, enabling deeper and more personalised engagement with fans and partners all over the world.
With an expanded commercial presence in the region, City welcomed relationships with six new Chinese partners: Whaley, Soccer World, PAK Lighting, Wolf Blass, Tencent and DiDi.
Integration, fan engagement and content creation
In July 2015, SAP SE and City Football Group (CFG) announced a global, multi-year marketing and technology partnership designed to transform the way the Group and its football teams operate and perform, from the boardroom to the pitch.
Modelling intangible impact and renewal
Hays, the Club’s Official Recruitment Partner, this year renewed its association with the Club for another three years. Whilst a key objective of the original partnership was brand awareness, Hays have now become a more established and recognised brand in the UK, and as part of the renewal Hays challenged the Club to demonstrate how the partnership had delivered return on investment beyond media exposure and traffic.
Continued digital engagement
In January 2016, Manchester City and Etihad Airways hit the road again for the return of their branded video content series, Global City Fans. This time they visited four new locations in search of the most passionate and loyal City fans - Mumbai, Seoul, Johannesburg and Los Angeles – before returning to Manchester for the season finale with some familiar faces from across the series.
Replicating the success of season one, the five-part series received over 4 million views and nearly 1 million engagements, and Global City Fans continues to be one of Etihad’s most exciting partnership projects with the Club. The series has generated over 9 million views in total, with an average viewing time of four minutes.
Construction of the Etihad expansion was completed as scheduled in August 2016 after an intensive 18-month build that took place around 34 home games, three One Direction concerts and the Rugby League Magic Weekend, and was carefully designed to minimise disruption for fans over this period.
A test event, required for the stadium to obtain its safety certificate, was held for 7,000 fans. This successful event had the dual benefit of raising more than £15,000 for City in the Community’s disability football programme. This money was used to purchase new powerchairs for weekly use by City in the Community participants at the City Football Academy.
As demand for general admission tickets increased, so too did the demand for premium experiences. Joe’s and 93:20 were created in response to this demand, and achieved a sell out and 83% capacity respectively.
In the Visit Football survey commissioned by the Premier League, Manchester City was rated in second place overall (up from third place last season). It was in first place for hospitality, for the third year running.
The Club has developed a number of new hospitality experiences, including an Access All Areas VIP experience, and the ‘City in the City’ train service for fans travelling from London in partnership with Virgin Trains – a City fan-only train, with former players in attendance and travel discounts.
The Etihad Stadium played host to its first ever international rugby union match as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 in October, when England took on Uruguay in front of a sell-out crowd.
For the first time in a number of years, the Etihad Stadium did not host any concerts as it entered the final stage of the expansion programme.
In December 2015, the Club celebrated its first full year in the City Football Academy with a series of staff activities and coverage across key media outlets.
In February, the Manchester Institute of Health & Performance (MIHP) officially opened its doors. The facility, situated on the Etihad Campus, is designed to create a world-class environment for diagnosis, education and research in health and performance for a range of sports.
A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
This season, City Football Group won a place in the UK Top 30 best places to work. City Football Group was the only sports company to make the Top 30 in the ‘Large Workplaces’ category, with 95% of staff reporting a sense of pride in what the organisation accomplishes.
Manchester City has developed a relationship with Job Centre Plus to provide opportunities for more local people to join the Club, with the intention of attracting young people, the long-term unemployed and people with disabilities.
The Club’s physical environment has changed dramatically in recent years, most notably as a result of the development of the Etihad Campus and the City Football Academy.
The Club is proud to report the return of butterflies, moths, birds and dormice to a previously polluted site in East Manchester.