Russell Jones: Wolves' commercial growth can take club to next level on the pitch
General manager Russell Jones insists the club's business moves outside of football can help take them to the next level on the pitch – after Wolves launched a music record label.
With owners Fosun eager not to take financial risks and plunge the club into debt, they have set up several business ventures to help grow Wolves' commercial power.
In turn, if they are successful, the aim is to help take the football club to new heights with increased commercial revenue supporting Wolves in the transfer window and the plans to renovate Molineux.
Jones, who is the general manager of marketing and commercial growth, said: "The main objective of this, and other non-traditional football projects, is to support the clubs growth. If executed correctly, this could be a lucrative commercial project that feeds back into the club.
"Music provides a number of revenue opportunities. Track sales, publishing royalties, licensing fees, merchandising, sponsorship and ticket revenue from live events. Aside from commercial growth, our signed artists allow us to tap in to a new fan base, that may not necessarily associate with football.
"I completely understand that football will always come first for our fans. All of our recent initiatives – be that Esports, fashion, gaming or music – all have a similar purpose, to grow our fan base, increase exposure for our partners and by association increase commercial revenue.
"The bigger our commercial revenue, the bigger our opportunity to support the club, be that via transfer activity or stadium improvements."
The big question for fans, however, is when Wolves will begin to see a return on these investments.
Fosun have made no secret that their plan for the club is long-term as they attempt to catch up to the clubs at the top of the English game.
And Jones says this music venture is likely to be along the same lines.
He added: Commercial return will very much depend on the success we have with artist recruitment and music releases. This is a long term play and it’s not an exact science.
"Like football, we will be competing against other labels to sign the top musical talent and our success will depend on how we nurture and develop this talent and market the music. We may get lucky and release a hit single immediately but we will be taking a pragmatic, long term approach.
"This isn’t something that we have decided to do on a whim, we have been working on Wolves Records in the background for 12 months. We have a very talented team already working on the project.
"This team is supported by Warner music, one of the biggest music companies in the world. Warner will be working with our team to support the talent ID and nurturing process. We have already identified a handful of exceptional talent living in and around Wolverhampton."
Jones continued: "It is absolutely true that we want to grow the club. To give our commercial gap context, our current commercial revenue is 600 per cent less than Tottenham Hotspur and 1000 per cent less than Manchester United.
"While we believe that Wolves Records will become a commercial success in its own right, it also provides another point of difference from our peers. When we sit down and talk to potential partners, having a point of difference is really important.
"Our diversification across gaming, Esports, fashion and music, really set us aside from our football peers. That diversity and ability to create marketing magic for our partners in other sports and entertainment verticals really appeals. The recent partnership deal with a world-class, global brand like Royal Caribbean, is testament to this working successfully."
With the latest announcement, Wolves hope that the new record label – Wolves Records – will have a big impact locally as well as on the wider music scene.
"We are aware of the ambitious plans for the city’s music scene. Wolves Records gives us the opportunity to join forces with the council and AEG Presents to support local talent and the city’s music scene," Jones said.
"We encourage all local talent to go to WolvesRecords.com and submit their music. We’ll be working with producer S-X on our first release, and we have plans to work with lots of other well-known music producers and artists to nurture talent and release music.
"As a football club, we believe we have a unique proposition for artists. From day one, we can offer them a ready-made music venue for 32,000 people, a platform to reach 30million fans around the world and a distribution and publishing platform powered by one of the biggest music companies in the world."