Part Two: Key Elements of the Plan — What’s it Going to Take?

Bullpen Strategies
3 min readJan 29, 2021


You’ve established the necessity of having a defined plan. Now what?

Step 1: Assess and Understand Current Revenue Streams

a) Assess current revenues

  • Identify at-risk accounts (sponsors, season ticket holders, donors)
  • Determine current attrition rates for each group to measure the future impact

b) Calculate contracted revenue for the 2021–22 year

  • Identify expiring contracts
  • Calculate contracted revenue for FY22, FY23, and FY24
  • Identify major partnerships with expiring contracts or opt-outs in the next three years

c) Understand the gaps to create a model of current revenue trajectories

d) Work with leaders responsible for each revenue source to understand the timing and cycles of each revenue source

  • When do renewals tend to land? Upsells? New business?
  • Single-game, mini plans and other ticketing revenue timing
  • What drives licensing revenues?
  • Key times of the year for donations

e) Focus on revenues that can be increased directly

  • TV revenues, guaranteed games, student enrollment, and conference sharing revenue streams are not variables that can be impacted by planning, so leave those factors out

Understand and assess the state of the departments revenues to inform the vision and set realistic goals.

Step 2: Acknowledge Uncontrollable Factors

To build a plan, start by acknowledging factors which create complexities to overcoming the hurdles that lie ahead:

(a) No defined timetable

(b) Outmanned — dozens of staff serving hundreds of student-athletes, thousands of fans, and an entire campus community

(c) Trends pointing to enrollment decreases mean anticipating decreases in primary funding sources

(d) Increased expenses for safety, new COVID protocols, and changing standards

(e) Fatigue — employees are over a year into the fight with no immediate end in sight

This step has a dual purpose: To define the difficulties that people outside of the department should be aware of before making assumptions; AND to identify factors before implementing the plan to take away excuses.

Step 3: Define the Vision for Success

(a) Introduce a shared vision for a success to create staff-wide buy-in

(b) Create multiple achievable milestones that can be celebrated along the way

(c) List key objectives that guide the creation of goals by starting with the why behind defining the intended impacts

(d) Identify priorities in order of importance to clearly define objectives and give staff clarity in the areas where they should be focused (sample below)

Step 4: Set Clear Markers

(a) Define success and establish clear benchmarks to achieve them

  • Creating clear markers help identify when each task has been completed, each goal reached
  • Goal completion provides real-time business intelligence to know when revenues are falling behind targets and determine if additional steps are needed to address potential shortfalls

(b) Unlike team performance, academic improvement, and student-athlete welfare, revenue focused performance is measured by numbers:

  • Growth percentages
  • Attrition rates
  • Revenue secured

(c) Set annual goals — define expected FY22 revenues by source

(d) Define anticipated expense relief achievable through cost-saving efficiencies

(e) Understand the impact of each source to the overall bottom line

  • Focus effort and priority on most impactful revenue streams
  • Avoid distraction from one-off or low-priority revenue streams that require significant staff time and attention

The natural progression of the academic calendar provides benchmarks for success. Breaking the year into four quarters and setting goals within each quarter for the quarter as a whole provide markers to ensure success. Next, we’ll discuss how to use each quarter to build a vision to succeed.



Bullpen Strategies

Bullpen Strategies provides strategic advising services to brands and sports organizations to drive revenue growth and deliver memorable fan experiences.