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Extreme Leisure lays out sports hubs ambition

After teaming up with Grimsby Town FC on its new stadium development, the sports brand eyes more projects

Published in Sports Management Oct 2016 issue 127
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Grimsby Town has been trying to develop plans for a new stadium for years / Adam Davy / EMPICS Sport
Grimsby Town has been trying to develop plans for a new stadium for years/ Adam Davy / EMPICS Sport

Sports brand Extreme Leisure is on the hunt for new partners to grow its burgeoning sports facility and property portfolio following its stadium development deal with Grimsby Town.

Last month, the firm revealed that it was working with the League Two football club to build a new 14,000 capacity stadium alongside a number of potential recreational facilities such as an ice rink, swimming pool and retails outlets.

Talking to Sports Management shortly after announcing the deal, Extreme chair and chief executive Alistair Gosling said he was looking for “partners beyond Grimsby”, and that he was building a team which could “manage a significant amount of projects”.

Gosling said that Extreme was currently working on “three or four” similar projects which would be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Originally a media platform, which launched television channels in 68 countries, Gosling revealed that the time was right to “move the brand on”.

“We want to create hubs where there’s a collection of sports facilities – whether that’s extreme sports or mainstream sports such as football, golf or tennis – that can be commercially successful, great for the community and create inbound investment and jobs,” he added.

The CEO said the £55m (US$73.4m, €65.3m) project with Grimsby Town was still in the masterplan stages, and several things were on the table in terms of the facilities that would be built, and in terms of ownership structure of the stadium.

Gosling said: “We’re trying to understand what the local community needs, talking to local people, looking at the other facilities in the region. It’s really a case of developing high-level feasibility studies and business planning, and working backwards from there.

“The town is where it is, and is what it is,” he added. “In that respect we know there’s a deep-seated want and requirement for a new football stadium. We’re starting with that and building it out around that.”

Despite declining to give any detail on the type of design and innovation he would be looking for in the stadium, Gosling did make clear that the development would be “eco and green and as sustainable as possible”.

The development has been earmarked for just south of the town centre, but Gosling was certain that the hub would be in the “heart of the community” due to the building of a number of “affordable houses”.

“What we’re all about is creating destinations – it’s not about building stadiums in the middle of nowhere to use occasionally,” he said. “Look at what FC Barcelona is doing with its new hub project and some of the things happening in the US. That’s where we’re taking our vision.”

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