This week saw the (partial) publication of a report on the contribution the Scarlets make to the local economy.
report was trailed recently when the club published its latest set of
dire accounts which were accompanied by stark warnings from the
auditors, Grant Thornton.
Both the Western Mail and the Llanelli Star carried lengthy and very similar accounts based largely on the club's press release, which can be found here.
The release, available in English only, also carries a summary of the
report produced by Focus Consulting, a firm based in Dublin, "in
association with Carmarthenshire County Council".
club describes the report as "independent", which it most certainly is
not, and the publication of edited highlights only means that it is not
possible to verify many of the claims made or to see how the figures
were arrived at.
What is certainly true is that the
club does make a contribution to the local economy - it would be a
remarkable beast indeed if it did not, but some of the key figures
appear to be based on conjecture, and some are just optimistic
projections. Others seem to be pure nonsense.
For example, we are told that the club is making a
direct contribution to the local economy of £16.1 million (that £100,000
is very precise, isn't it?), and that in just 4 years from now, this
will double to £32m. This number is qualified by the statement that it
is based on "current event projections". Elsewhere we are told that these are targets.
The £16.1m is "based on direct expenditure levels of
£13.5 million for the local economy (this is based on expenditure in the
local economy outside of money generated from Stadium commercial
activities e.g. banqueting and ticketing)". Where this figure comes from is anyone's
guess. Bundled into these numbers, it seems, are the club's wages and
stadium operations spending of £5m and a further £3.2m spent on local
goods and services purchased by the stadium.
According to the report, the stadium has generated 28,500 bednights for local hotels and B&Bs
since November 2008 (just over 8,000 per year). How this figure is
arrived at, we are not told. Did they really check with Mrs Evans at Glanymor B&B to see how many of her guests had stayed in connection with an event in the stadium since 2008?
Based on attendance targets of 200,000 per year, the report reckons that the number of bednights will shoot up to 15,000 (nearly double the current guestimate).
to the report, the stadium has attracted 649,000 visitors since it was
opened, which works out at an average of just under 190,000 per year
since November 2008 (based on a generous 41 month period). The target of 200,000 looks very modest indeed set
against this number, and makes you wonder how such a small increase in
attendances will double bednights and the overall contribution to the local economy by 2016.
Perhaps the full report makes more sense, although the maths and English in the summary don't inspire much confidence.
Here's a sample of the hyperbolic consultantese we have been treated to (note the absence of an apostrophe, dodgy grammar and strange use of capital letters):
the local economic impact Scarlets has delivered to date, it is also
contributing to the economic profiling of the area through its
international involvement with delegations from countries such as Qatar
In addition, the media value generated internationally from Rugby
activities has further enhanced the clubs position as an iconic brand on
a global scale.
Bollocks, or what?
But let's give the last word to our new council leader, Kevin Madge:
It is wonderful news to have confirmed the club is providing
exceptional value in terms of revenue and jobs in Carmarthenshire.
This report makes that abundantly clear.