Saturday 26 May 2012

Scarlets: let's speak Consultantese!

This week saw the (partial) publication of a report on the contribution the Scarlets make to the local economy.

The 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".

The 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).

According 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):

Beyond 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 and Romania. 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.


Anonymous said...

I think the only possible response to this report is "Who are they trying to kid?" and "How long before Carmarthenshire Council coughs up yet more money to support this failing venture?"

Anonymous said...

Softening us up for a loan from the Council...

Anonymous said...

Rwy'n cytuno'n llwyr â'ch sylwadau. Mae'r sefyllfa'n drist ac yn gwneud i rywun anobeithio. Hefyd, dylai papurau newydd wneud ymchwil eu hunain - yn hytrach na chyhoeddi propaganda celwyddog.

Anonymous said...

I would rather watch a Scarlets game on T.V than watch a torch going around the country. A new stadium i bet cost a lot less than sending this daft torch around.
Bit of a grander scale but what is the Olympics worth to Wales. The price of a pot of cockles maybe.

caebrwyn said...

There are about 10 months to go until the decision to 'roll over' (until 2023) half the interest on the council's £2.4m loan to the scarlets comes to an end, as well as the decision to allow suspension of payments into the sinking (maintenance) fund; if everything is as rosy as this report suggests I assume the interest will be increased back up to the agreed level and the sinking fund payments start which have been set at a total of £250,000 for years 5 and 6. I'm not holding my breath.
One wonders how they will fare without the resident shareholder on the Executive Board.

william price said...

just out of curiosity do the ospreys get similar level of funding?
*just curious* they seem to be doing better than scarlets