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Bazalgette and Fisher launch Global Venue Services

Bazalgette and Fisher launch Global Venue Services


A new advisory, investment and services business has been launched for the sports, leisure, media and entertainment sectors by Simon Bazalgette and Paul Fisher, who successfully led the growth and transformation over the last decade of the company behind many of the UK’s leading events, as Chairman and Chief Executive respectively of Jockey Club Racecourses.

Global Venue Services (GVS) offers strategic advisory, investment, interim management and a range of business services to sports, leisure, media and entertainment investors and business owners, venue owners and event promoters, delivered by a strong, credible and experienced team.

The venture will benefit from a Global Advisory Board made up of experts in their respective fields, and the first members to join alongside Simon and Paul will be Bernard Kantor and Trevor Watkins.

Bernard Kantor is one of the co-founders of Investec Bank, and he also joins GVS as a shareholder and non-executive director. Under his tenure, Investec built its brand through major sponsorships in sport and the arts, including in horseracing, cricket, football, women’s hockey, rugby and opera.

Trevor Watkins is the Global Head of the Sports Practice at Pinsent Masons. As a multi-disciplinary professional services’ firm Pinsent Masons will advise GVS and provide guidance across a range of areas.

The GVS team will also leverage a strong network of industry-leading experts in Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Communications and Content, Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion and Live Music, enabling GVS to be a “one-stop” solution for clients.

On the operational side of the sector, GVS will draw upon long-standing relationships with the best-in-class venue service operators across Traffic Management, Cleaning, Ticketing (primary and secondary), Security, Stewarding and Temporary Event Structures to enable clients to enhance their businesses and events.

Simon Bazalgette said:

Paul and I are hugely excited about the launch of GVS and we are privileged to have been backed by Bernard Kantor and Trevor Watkins, who are both leaders in their respective fields. The range of skills, experience and networks within GVS means we can make a real difference to clients.

We are already working on a pipeline of deals that we expect GVS to announce during the course of the year. The coronavirus lockdown has created huge challenges for the sports, entertainment and leisure sectors, but there are also opportunities for business owners and investors to restructure and find innovative new ways to survive and grow in the post-lockdown world. We can add significant value to these plans as advisors and investors.

Paul Fisher added:

With a combined experience of more than 40 years in the leisure, hospitality and music industries, we know just how challenging it is for venues to operate successfully and profitably in these difficult times. Working with Trevor and Bernard means we have huge additional experience to bring to bear on behalf of our clients and to our business, whether it’s to assist with investment, turnarounds, and management or to bring together and manage relationships with many of the top-rated event service operators in the sector.

Simon Bazalgette was Chairman of the largest UK racecourse operator for 11 years, and Group Chief Executive of its owner, The Jockey Club. Prior to this he spent four years as the founding Executive Chairman for Racecourse Media Group, the start-up venture created to manage the media rights of more than 30 racecourse businesses and now generates more than £100m per annum. He was previously Chief Executive of Music Choice Europe, the first digital broadcaster in Europe, which was jointly owned by three major music groups and BSkyB. Bazalgette is an independent Non-Executive Director of the EFL and was the Senior Independent Director of the successful London 2017 World Athletics and Para-Athletics Championships.

Paul Fisher was Chief Executive and Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses until February 2020, having previously been COO of the group. He was on the Board of one of the UK’s leading music promoters, Jockey Club Live and was key to the inception and success of a number of ventures, including Jockey Club Catering alongside Compass UK & Ireland, and Rewards4Racing. Prior to that he was Managing Director of Kempton Park and Finance Director for the three London racing venues of Epsom Downs, Kempton Park and Sandown Park. Before joining The Jockey Club in 2001, Fisher was Finance Director of EFL club, Gillingham FC. He is a Founder Director of City Racing and a Director of SuperSix racing.

Bernard Kantor stepped down as Group Managing Director of the Investec Group in 2019, having co-founded the bank 40 years earlier. Under his leadership it grew to more than 10,000 staff worldwide in 14 countries and with more than $200 billion of funds under management. He drove the building of the Investec brand through extensive sponsorship activities particularly in horse racing (the Investec Derby), football (Tottenham Hotspur), cricket (the England home tests), rugby (the autumn internationals) and the England women’s hockey team. Investec also supported charity and the arts organisations, such as the music therapy charity Nordoff-Robbins and the Holland Park Opera.

Trevor Watkins is Head of Sports at the major multinational professional services firm, Pinsent Mason, which he joined in 2011. With Pinsent Masons appointed as legal advisor to GVS, Trevor will be the first member of GVS’s advisory group, providing strategic advice gained from his significant experience of working within the sports, entertainment and leisure sectors. He has direct experience of the sports world as a past Chairman of AFC Bournemouth and as a past non-executive director of the EFL, Sport Revolution and the National Anti-Doping Panel.