Leeds United aims to march on to­gether with busi­nesses

Club wants to turn area into hub for technology

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - GREG WRIGHT DEPUTY BUSI­NESS ED­I­TOR Email: greg.wright@ypn.co.uk Twit­ter: @greg­wrightyp t

LEEDS UNITED aims to be­come a “cat­a­lyst and en­abler” for fast grow­ing technology busi­nesses that will bring long-term jobs and in­vest­ment to Leeds, ac­cord­ing to the club’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor.

An­gus Kin­n­ear, who pre­vi­ously held se­nior roles at West Ham and Arse­nal, said the club was work­ing with Leeds City Coun­cil to turn the area around El­land Road into a thriv­ing com­mu­nity as­set which had a fo­cus on youth and sport.

Mr Kin­n­ear, who was ap­pointed by Leeds United chair­man An­drea Radriz­zani ear­lier this year, said the club’s first pri­or­i­ties had been to put the in­fra­struc­ture and per­son­nel in place to en­sure Leeds United can be suc­cess­ful on the pitch “and si­mul­ta­ne­ously re-en­gage with our mas­sive fan base, many of whom had be­come dis­il­lu­sioned”.

He added: “Hav­ing cre­ated a strong foun­da­tion, we are now work­ing hard to em­brace the Leeds and York­shire busi­ness com­mu­nity and work­ing in part­ner­ship with the coun­cil to ex­plore the po­ten­tial that El­land Road pos­sesses.”

Mr Kin­n­ear be­lieves that the club has joined the city on the same up­ward tra­jec­tory.

He added: “We know there are many fast grow­ing York­shire busi­nesses who could ben­e­fit from the aware­ness and scale that a part­ner­ship with Leeds United can de­liver.

“We are build­ing the club on the val­ues and prin­ci­ples of pride, am­bi­tion and in­no­va­tion, that we think th­ese busi­nesses will share.

“Whether a brand’s ob­jec­tives are hy­per-lo­cal mar­ket­ing, or cre­at­ing a prod­uct case study for ex­po­sure on an in­ter­na­tional scale, Leeds United can be a key part­ner. The tra­jec­tory of the club means that the jour­ney over the next few years is go­ing to be ex­cit­ing and one that busi­nesses will want to align with.”

Mr Kin­n­ear said that Mr Radriz­zani has a track record of en­trepreneuri­al­ism and in­no­va­tion in the dig­i­tal me­dia and sports space.

Mr Kin­n­ear said: “Our vi­sion in­cludes Leeds United be­ing a cat­a­lyst and en­abler for fast growth tech busi­nesses to flour­ish in the city, us­ing the Leeds United brand and fa­cil­i­ties as a plat­form.”

He ac­knowl­edged that se­cur­ing the deal to buy back Leeds United’s iconic El­land Road ground had been emo­tion­ally im­por­tant to all the club’s sup­port­ers.

Mr Kin­n­ear added: “How­ever, it was also a sign of long-term com­mit­ment from the own­er­ship. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, it has al­lowed us to in­vest in the ground as our as­set, and we are al­ready us­ing this to im­prove the fan ex­pe­ri­ence on many lev­els.”

Mr Kin­n­ear joined the club in June, af­ter spend­ing the pre­vi­ous three years as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at West Ham United, where he presided over the club’s move from Upton Park to the Olympic Sta­dium.

Dur­ing his time at West Ham, he grew the sea­son ticket base to more than 50,000 and dou­bled com­mer­cial rev­enue. Be­fore his spell at West Ham, Mr Kin­n­ear spent a decade at Arse­nal as the club’s di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing, sales and part­ner­ships. Dur­ing his time with Arse­nal, he led the club’s sales and mar­ket­ing strat­egy for the Emi­rates Sta­dium and the sur­round­ing prop­erty re­gen­er­a­tion be­fore fo­cus­ing on grow­ing Arse­nal’s brand and com­mer­cial in­ter­ests in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Mr Kin­n­ear said: “I have seen at Arse­nal and West Ham how phys­i­cal re­de­vel­op­ment can be a cat­a­lyst for the rapid growth of a club and also for the re­gen­er­a­tion of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“We are work­ing in part­ner­ship with the coun­cil to ex­plore how El­land Road, over the long term, could be­come a thriv­ing as­set to the com­mu­nity seven days a week and not just on match days, trans­form­ing this part of the city, with a fo­cus on youth and sport at its heart.”

With re­gards to the po­ten­tial size of the sta­dium, he said: “It is ev­i­dent from the phe­nom­e­nal sup­port that we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in the Cham­pi­onship, with the ma­jor­ity of matches look­ing to sell out this year, that if we se­cured a sus­tained pe­riod of Premier League foot­ball then de­mand would war­rant an in­crease in ca­pac­ity.

“Any re­de­vel­op­ment plans will be fu­ture proofed for this even­tu­al­ity.”

PIC­TURE: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE

AN­GUS KIN­N­EAR: ‘We are build­ing the club on the val­ues and prin­ci­ples of pride, am­bi­tion and in­no­va­tion, that we think th­ese busi­nesses will share.’

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