Sports Entrepreneurial Plan

Leeds Rhinos Emerald Stadium:
An entrepreneurial idea for the expansion of Leeds Rhinos’ stadium


1. Introduction 2

2. Brief 3

3. Focus Area 4

4. Main Discussion 4

4.1 Business Planning 4

4.2 Leadership 9

5. Summary 10

6. Recommendations 11

7. Conclusion 12

References: 14

Appendices: 19

Appendix 1: Innovation Design Map 19

Appendix 2: 19

Appendix 3: Breakdown of Activities and Responsibilities 20

Appendix-4: Schedule of Activities 21

Appendix-5: Risk Rating 22

Appendix-6: Bottom-Up Approach of Decision-Making 22


Leeds Rhino’s Emerald Headingly stadium is in a desirable location: located close to the city center it is the most densely populated ward in the city, with good transport links elsewhere (ONS, 2011; Dyckhoff, 2012) and with a large population (40,000) of students and economically active people (ONS, 2011). These factors mean that the expansion of the stadium could be successful due to number of people that frequent the area, potentially willing to spend money. Therefore, this entrepreneurial project involves the building of a large entrance, commercial space and a multi-story car park executed in the car part next to St Michael’s lane and the area left by the demolition of the South stand (Appendix 1).

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In this innovative Sports Entrepreneurial Plan plan, the South stand will be expanded upwards into a three-story building with several entrances, similar to that of Liverpool stadium (Appendix 2) that would be for variegated commercial purposes such as cafes, restaurants and a hotel. The hotel will overlook the pitch, an idea influenced by Dallas Cowboy’s and Blackpool FC’s hotel (Anon, n.d.) (Appendix 2). On the right of the South stand entrance there will be a multi-leveled parking space for various purposes, depending on demand and market research (See Appendix 1). Moreover, this entrepreneurial idea entails an open-air event space between these two buildings inspired by the Staples center in Los Angeles (See Appendix 2). This open-air space could be used to launch films, live music, festivals and many other events. This area would join the path on St Michael’s lane to create an open and seamless area that attracts people towards the main buildings (See Appendix 1).

This entrepreneurial project would attract new commercial opportunities to bring people of the community towards the stadium. These commercial opportunities could provide several benefits to the Rugby club, both socially and through increased revenue.

  • Increased footfall at the commercial stadium area means that new fans, such as students and the wider population, may be attracted and encouraged to attend sports events at the stadium.
  • Leeds Rhinos Foundation, that delivers projects to the community can gain prominence and attention in the area through the running of events in the space and advertisement and campaigns directed at the increased footfall.
  • Reduction of parking issues in the area with the building of a multi-storey car park which creates further revenue for the club.

2. Brief

The purpose of this project is to add entrepreneurial value to the Leeds Rhinos Club: innovation is significant for entrepreneurship to provide creative ways to add value (Crumpton, 2012) and has become a pre-requisite to survive and compete in fast-changing environments (Bessant and Tidd, 2007). Sports is a fast-moving industry in which businesses are devising new and innovative ideas to engage fans and expand (Ball, 2005) which involves proactive and innovative approaches and often requires risk-taking. Innovation in the sports industry has led to emergence of new fields of sports, and in sport-related social and technological development (Ratten, 2011; Vanessa, 2012) and this includes social innovation; a key aspect of sports entrepreneurship (Tjønndal, 2017). This project emphasizes social innovation, with the aim of the project being able to add value to Leeds Rhinos by engaging the community through a platform where they can come together, interact socially and enjoy their time.

This idea would connect the community and could attract new fans to the club in various creative ways. Firstly, through creating a modern space to invite new businesses, it would create an exciting new area of the city. Businesses would be attracted to the opportunity to be a part of a new commercial area in the heart of the city, which would attract the broader community towards the area and the club and therefore add commercial value to the space, for example with student led businesses such as restaurants, cafes and leisure activities. There are more than 64,000 students in Leeds city (Anon, n.d.), which will visit the place for recreation. In addition to the commercial value, the recreational value of the club would be enhanced by providing space to restaurants, hotel and the open-air event space. Moreover, the multi-story parking space would not only cater for the retail space but would provide parking on match days, for both the cricket and rugby. Headingley is in an area where parking can be problematic, causing traffic problems on match days (Anon, 2017). In addition, community groups have commented on issues such as residents having difficulty with parking during match days, and damage to grass when it is especially busy (Leeds HMO Lobby, 2009). The car park would also compensate for space lost from the building on the current car park. All of these ventures will provide income for the club itself, which can feed back into the sport.

3. Focus Area

The focus of this project is to add value to the Leeds Rhinos Club by enhancing its community engagement, an area decided on because of its significance in sports ventures (Tjønndal, 2017), and the entrepreneurial focus of the project is community-based or social innovation.

In sports enterprises, community involvement is key because sport is a social phenomenon: it involves complex social interactions between individuals, communities and organizations across the world (Ratten and Ferreira, 2016). In this project, new social interactions will be made in the community towards the new available commercial and educational opportunities: the retail outlets, hotel, leisure activities potentially classrooms for students of Leeds Beckett University. Community-based or social innovation emphasizes sports organizations to engage and partner with the local community and encourage the efforts to achieve a common goal (Ratten, 2011; Hoeber and Hoeber, 2012). For Leeds Rhinos this common goal is community and leisure: Leeds Rhinos would encourage commercial success as the local community would engage with Leeds Rhinos club through these commercial opportunities on a frequent basis.

This is due to the location. The location chosen for the commercial, retail space and multi-story parking is on the site of and attached to Leeds Rhinos club. It is predicted that, if the area becomes attractive socially to shoppers and the local community, the club itself will do too. The social aspect of sports entrepreneurship involves motivating individuals to engage in community sports through different campaigns (Khromin et al., 2014), and this plan involves various methods of motivating individuals to engage with Leeds Rhinos as commercial, leisure and recreational opportunities are major motivations to connect and engage community.

4. Main Discussion

4.1 Business Planning

This entrepreneurial project requires adequate planning before execution; business planning is considered crucial for performance of entrepreneurial venture (Russel, Atchison, and Brooks, 2008), as opposed to performance of established firms (Shane, 2000; Delmar and Shane, 2003).Therefore, to ensure the successful implementation of this entrepreneurial idea and to achieve project objectives, it is significant to adequately collect information through extensive research of the market and the required capabilities.

Planning begins with situational analysis. Sousa, Lima and Martins (2016) suggested analysis of external environment is crucial for planning mega sports events such as Olympics. Hence, in current idea of sports enterprise analysis of external environment is necessary. Turner (2008) suggested that macro environment is related to the forces of the external environment such as economic, political, technological, social and other external threats which cannot be ignored while planning and managing projects. For planning of the current project, macro-level or PEST (Political, Economic, Social/Cultural, and Technological) analysis is used.

  • Political/Legal Factors:

Political and legal constraints need to be considered while planning a new venture. Like many other industries, sports and recreation industry of the United Kingdom is considered to be majorly affected by the recent event of Brexit. Many football clubs and other sports federations have shown their concerns about the potential implications of the Brexit on sports sector (Allen, 2018). They are concerned about limited access to fans and players to enter and exit the UK and decreased effectiveness of the UK for mega sports events. In this case, Leeds Rugby club may also suffer. This project overcomes this problem by engaging community to the club by making that area a commercial and recreational hub. The commercial and recreational options such as retail stores, shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, open air event space will engage the community towards this area, hence increasing the engagement with the Leeds club as well. Furthermore, government support is also an important factor to increase sports activities. The government of UK is concerned about the significant decline of participation in sports post-2012 Olympics and taking measures to increase community sports participation by providing more sports opportunities and funding (Perraudin, 2015).

  • Economic Factors:

The economic recession in the UK is likely to affect the revenues of football and other sports clubs. The major clubs such as Manchester United are becoming expensive for the community. Therefore, economic issues of the country could have probably declined their revenues, but the fan loyalty at local and international level did not negatively affect its revenues (Keller, 2012). Leeds Rugby is providing discounts to the fans especially students (Leeds Sport, 2018). A vast majority of the sports fans in the UK are youngsters who are either students or at early stages of employment (Langhorst, 2016). However, the disposable income of households is increasing, which implies that their spending on entertainment will increase. This is an opportrtnity that can be catered by Leeds Rhino.

  • Social and Cultural Factors:

The UK has a legacy of involvement in sports events which shows that overall inclination of individuals towards sports recreation is high. Although the individual sports participation declined after Olympics of 2012, but the memberships of sports clubs increased (Fullfact, 2016). To increase sports participation Government is partnering with universities and schools to increase pupil participation in sports (Perraudin, 2015). The pupils of England are reportedly quite healthy because of their sports involvement (Fullfact, 2016). Moreover, community engagement in sports clubs is also an attractive opportunity for sports enterprises. In addition, women participation in sports is also high in the UK (BBC, 2016). Therefore, this project needs to look forward to attract youth especially towards the Leeds club and also provide opportunities to women to increase their connection with the club.

  • Technological Factors:

The technological advancement and proliferation of digital media has influenced the behavior of sports fans. The sports organizations have adapted to the new ways to communicate with their audience. Fans prefer two-way communication through digital media to access information and express their views (Williams and Chinn, 2010). The second-screen consumption, such as use of PC, tablets, smartphones, has increased among sports audience (Kelly, 2013). Sports clubs are using various digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to connect with their audience. In addition, clubs are using innovative ways to engage their audience. Manchester United is investing significantly in digital media marketing. It has recently launched a Global app ‘MUTV’ which is an internal television channel of the club specifically (Cohen, 2017). Therefore, adapting to the technological trends is becoming crucial for the sports industry.

Mintzberg and Waters (1985) presented a continuum of deliberate and emergent strategy. Deliberate strategy involves formal planning about what an organization plans to do in future and pursues over time (Bodwell and Chermack, 2010). For this purpose, it is important to devise a clear vision, mission, and strategic objectives for current business idea.

Vision To promote a positive culture among the community to enhance sports spirit
Mission Providing business and recreational opportunities to the community members to development their potential and to enhance sports spirit to attract them towards the Leeds Rugby Club
Strategic Objectives
  • To complete construction of entrepreneurial venture by December 1, 2019.
  • To launch the venture on April 10, 2020.
  • Increase community engagement through this venture by 10% by 2022.

Stutely (2007, pp. 117) suggests taking a nine steps approach to planning, which has been followed for this entrepreneurial idea. The first step is to break down the project into smaller component activities (Stutely, 2007, pp. 117), which is shown in Appendix-3. Stutely (2007, pp. 117) suggests that responsibilities should be delegated to team members in planning phase. Ramsey (2012) discusses that in planning phase of London Olympics 2012, clear responsibilities were given to members of project team, which enabled the plan to be executed properly. Therefore, responsibilities have been assigned in Appendix-3. The second step is to identify linkages and critical path, which is shown in figure below:

Establishing committee









Acquiring Land

Hiring workers

Building commercial space





Building Car Parking

Building open event space


Hiring workers











Figure-1: Critical Path

The critical path is from stage 5 to stage 6 and stage 5 to stage 7. The critical paths were identified in London Olympics 2012 to highlight the paths that were important for project completion (Birch, n.d.). Another example of use of critical path was observed in the Rio Olympics 2016 (Anon, 2016). The third step is to order the activities and scheduling critical and high risks ones (Stutely, 2007). Birch (n.d.) discusses that in London Olympics 2012, scheduling of activities enabled successful implementation of project plan. Developing a specified timeline was also seen in the case of Rugby World Cup 2015, where the building of ITV sports was planned to be completed in 6 months (Anon, 2015). The schedule of activities has been shown in Appendix-4.

The high-risk activities include construction of commercial space and construction of multi-story car parking. To mitigate risks of not meeting deadlines and in-sufficient resources, buffer zones have been placed after these activities, as suggested by Izmailov, Korneva and Kozhemiakin (2016). The next steps include setting up measurable targets (Stutely, 2007), which has already been done; for example, the measurable criteria for activities 5, 6 and 7 are ‘completion of construction of commercial space, car parking and open-air space’.Stutely (2007) mentions that mechanism of reporting must be developed, which is shown in the following reporting structure. One of the best practices of managing Olympics 2012 was that reporting linkages were defined precisely (Ramsey, 2012). Reporting linkages have been shown in figure-2:

Figure-2: Reporting Linkages

4.2 Leadership

Leadership is also important to make an entrepreneurial project successful. Hannagan (2008:40) defined leadership as ‘‘the process of motivating other people to act in particular ways in order to achieve specific goals.’’ The leadership strategy appropriate for this project would be service leadership as the major goal of this entrepreneurial project is to enhance community engagement. For this project, it is important to adopt leadership strategies while considering the motivational aspects of the community. An entrepreneurial leader should have the ability to make others understand their vision and motivate the team to further their ambitions (Gupta, MacMillan and Surie, 2004). Service leadership is a form of leadership which aims to serve others and aspire them to follow the vision (Fernald, Solomon, and Tarabishy 2005). This project is directed at attracting and engaging the community towards Leeds Rhinos Club by providing different commercial and recreational opportunities. These opportunities would serve the commercial and recreational needs of the community.

In addition, participatory leadership style could also be suitable for the execution of this project. Participatory leadership is considered important to foster innovative entrepreneurship by encouraging the inputs of the group members in decision making (Van Hemmen, Alvarez, Peris-Ortiz, and Urbano, 2015). This project should involve the community in gaining knowledge about what commercial, retail and recreational opportunities would gain their interest and then invest in those opportunities.

5. Summary

This entrepreneurial project is focused on enhancing community engagement for Leeds Rhinos club. This idea aims to attract and engage the community in various ways. Firstly, the building offering various kinds of commercial and retail opportunities like cafes, outlet of brands, super markets, would attract community members from business purpose. It would enhance the commercial value of the area and community would be more engaged due to commercial aims. The several business opportunities would be offered such as cafes, restaurants, retail outlets, and hotel. Moreover, businesses such as sports retail shops and hotel design inspired by Dallas Cowboy’s and Blackpool FC’s hotel would also inspire community engagement in sports and would increase their engagement in the Leeds Rhinos Club.

Secondly, multi-story car park area provided near the commercial building and Leeds Rhinos club would provide convenience to the community involved both in the club and in the businesses. There is currently an issue with parking during match days, so this would provide a solution for the community, providing the pricing is appropriately chosen.

Thirdly, open-air event space would also be an attraction for the community members. Leeds Rhinos Club is a recreational attraction for the community. Businesses such cafes, restaurants and hotel; and an open-air event space would increase the overall recreational value of that area, hence increasing the value of the club as well. This project is not offering a single product or service new to the market it is offering multiple services simultaneously in an innovative manner to engage the community.

Therefore, this project would benefit the community as well as the Leeds Rhinos Club. The community would benefit from the commercial and recreational opportunities and Leeds Rhinos Club would benefit from the increased interest of the community in that location which will increase the frequency of visits to the club and attract their interest in partnering with the Leeds Rhinos Club.

6. Recommendations

From the above discussion, following recommendations can be drawn:

  • The entrepreneurial research emphasizes business planning for effective performance new firms (Delmar and Shane, 2003). There is always a factor of uncertainty regardless of the degree of planning (Forbes, 2007). Strategies need to evolve according to the changing environmental forces. As suggested by Mintzberg and Waters (1985), emergent strategies are born in response to the new challenges and opportunities. Although macro-environment analysis helped us to plan the deliberate strategy; however, environmental factors change over time and the strategy needs to be adopted according to the new opportunities and challenges. It can be done by doing macro-environment analysis or PEST analysis on periodic basis. Quarterly and annual review of the strategies in the light of PEST analysis can enable the business to adapt to new opportunities and threats. Therefore, situational analysis should be conducted after every 4 months.
  • The entrepreneurial venture includes high risk, so detailed risk assessment is important. It can be done by assessing the external/environmental risks and internal/organizational constraints (Ward and Chapman, 2003). These risks can then be prioritized by their likelihood of occurrence and their consequences (Shenkir and Walker, 2007). For instance, the risks having high probability to occur and have severe impact are rated high which require immediate action (See Appendix: 5). In short, it is recommended to conduct a thorough risk analysis for this project.
  • This entrepreneurial venture can be successful if it is able to serve the needs and wants of its target community in a better way. It can be done by the bottom-up approach of decision making which involves all the stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process. In this approach information is progressed from subordinate units to upper level units in the organization (Fraser et al., 2006) (See Appendix: 6). This approach can make an organization more customer-centric and increase internal coordination among employees and management (Schneeweiss, 2003). This approach can be made effective for the current project if a survey is conducted in the community to understand what kind of commercial or recreational opportunities are important for them. This kind of survey would enable us to tailor the offerings according to the community needs.
  • The sports organizations are adopting innovative ways to connect with fans through digital media. This factor of technological advancement cannot be ignored for this project. This project needs to devise its digital marketing strategy to connect with the community. The social media can provide platform to communicate with community members, provide access of information to the members, and a way to collect feedback in the form of reviews and comments (Williams and Chinn, 2010). It will enable the firm to efficiently adapt to the changing customers’ needs and evolve its strategies accordingly. It can be done by maintaining social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to constantly stay connected to the community members and to welcome their feedback. Therefore, a digital marketing plan should be devised to engage consumers before launch in April 2020.

7. Conclusion

The current project is aimed at adding entrepreneurial value to the Leeds Rhinos Club. The major project has focused the area of community engagement due to its significance in sports entrepreneurship. Therefore, the entrepreneurial focus of the project is social innovation or community-based innovation which is achieved by partnering with the local community by working towards a common goal. This entrepreneurial idea entails the commercial, retail and recreational opportunities for the local community. These opportunities would not only benefit the community, but also add value to the whole area. The business opportunities and recreational attractions would increase awareness and interest-level of the community around Leeds Rhinos Club.

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Besides aiming to achieve community engagement, a careful approach to business planning process should be taken. For this purpose, the detailed planning should begin with the environmental analysis to be aware of the challenges and opportunities that exist in the target market. It can be done through macro-level or PEST analysis. Then the deliberate strategies are planned in the form of vision, mission and strategic objectives. Furthermore, the planning process includes breakdown of project activities to achieve those objectives. Critical linkages and paths need to be identified to know what activities are critical for the project completion. The activities are then prioritized and schedules are assigned. The targets of each activity should be objective in nature so that they can be evaluated. Then the responsibilities are assigned for each activity and evaluation is done against those responsibilities. The reporting lines should be clear so that performance of each member is evaluated properly according to the assigned targets. This mechanism makes it easier to report problems that occur during target completion. In this way, corrective action can be taken if the targets are not met. However, some intended goals are not achieved due to the situational factors. Therefore, continuous environmental analysis and risk assessment is important to upgrade the firm’s plan according to the situational requirements.

In addition to detailed planning, the role of leadership is crucial to execute the intended plan. In current project participatory leadership would be effective to implement bottom-up approach of decision making. It will enable the leader to stay well-informed about the community needs and regular feedback can enable the leader to evolve business strategy and improve offerings. Moreover, due to increased focus of sports ventures and fans on digital media, the current project also needs to emphasize on digital media to effectively connect and engage the community.


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Appendix 1: Innovation Design Map

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Appendix 2:

A picture containing building

Description generated with high confidenceLiverpool Stadium

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description generated with very high confidenceDallas Cowboys

Blackpool FC

Related image

Staples Center


Appendix 3: Breakdown of Activities and Responsibilities

Activity Who is Responsible
1. Establishing the project committee Leeds Rugby Limited

CEO and top executives of Leeds Rhino

1.1. Assigning Project Manager Leeds Rugby Limited

CEO and top executives of Leeds Rhino

2. Land Acquisition Leeds Rugby Limited

Project Manager

CEO and top executives of Leeds Rhino

3. Procurement of raw materials Procurement Manager

Project Manager

4. Hiring workers for construction Human Resource Manager

Project Manager

5. Initiating construction of commercial space Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
5.1. Building retail outlets Workers, site supervisors, project manager
5.2. Building cafes and restaurants Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
5.3. Construction of hotel Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
5.4. Wiring in commercial space Electricians, site supervisors, Project Manager
5.5. Plumbing in commercial space Plumbers, site supervisors, Project Manager
5.6. Painting of commercial space Painters, site supervisors, Project Manager
5.7. Quality check of commercial space Quality Control Team
6. Building foundation of parking Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
6.1. Building first story of parking Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
6.2. Building second story of parking Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
6.3. Building third story of parking Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
6.4. Building fourth story of parking Workers, site supervisors, Project Manager
6.5. Quality check of car parking construction Quality Control Team
6.6. Painting the car parking Painters, site supervisors
7. Building open air space Workers, site supervisors, PM
7.1. Lighting of open space Electricians
7.2. Quality check of open air space Quality control team
8. Opening contracts for retail shops, cafes and restaurants Project Management Committee
8.1. Finalizing contracts for retail shops, cafes and restaurants Project Management Committee
9. Hiring workers for managing commercial space, car parking and open space Human Resource Management

Project Management

10. Grand launch Project Management Committee

Marketing manager

Project Manager

Appendix-4: Schedule of Activities

Activity Start Date End Date
1. Establishing the project committee September 1, 2018 September 15, 2018
1.1. Assigning Project Manager
2. Land Acquisition September 16, 2018 October 31, 2018
Buffer Zone November 1, 2018 November 10, 2018
3. Procurement of raw materials November 11, 2018 December 11, 2018
4. Hiring workers for construction December 12, 2018 December 30, 2018
5. Construction of commercial space January 1, 2019 June 1, 2019
Buffer Zone June 16, 2019 June 20, 2019
6. Building car parking June 20, 2019 September 20, 2019
Buffer Zone September 21, 2019 December 21, 2019
7. Building open air space December 22, 2019 December 31, 2019
8. Contracts for retail shops, cafes and restaurants January 1, 2020 February 15, 2020
9. Hiring workers for managing commercial space, car parking and open space February 16, 2020 March 15, 2018
10. Grand launch April 10, 2018

Appendix-5: Risk Rating

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Appendix-6: Bottom-Up Approach of Decision-Making

Flow of Information

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