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Gary Hutchinson out at Wembley Stadium

Gary Hutchinson is to leave his position as head of venue sales and commercial partnerships at Wembley Stadium.

The former Sunderland AFC exec joined the UK’s largest stadium earlier this year, effectively replacing its ex-head of business development, Jim Frayling. He will leave the FA, the venue’s owner, at the end of 2017 to run a private hospitality venture, Chrysalis Leisure Group.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the FA, and I’m committed to supporting the organisation over the next few months, until they have plans in place to take [membership organisation] Club Wembley forward in the new year,” he says.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the FA and I’m committed to supporting the organisation over the next few months”

“However, I have been pursuing a new business venture for the last few months, and it has very quickly moved from being just a concept to something I am ready to push the button on and turn into a reality. It’s moving ahead rapidly, and I am sure it will continue to develop quickly.”

The Sun FM radio station reports Hutchinson has taken over the Fat Buddha restaurant in Newcastle, which he plans to transform into a “must-visit Tyneside venue”.

A spokesman for the FA tells IQ Danielle Russell, the stadium’s partnership development manager for music and new events, will continue to be the key contact for live music, while her colleague James Taylor supports sporting events.

 


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Wembley concerts boost record FA revenue

The Football Association (FA), the owner of Wembley Stadium in London, posted record revenue of £370 million in the 2015–2016 financial year, bolstered by a packed events calendar at the 90,000-cap. stadium.

Turnover in the year ending 31 July 2016 grew 16.4%, from £318m in 2014–15, while the FA made an after-tax profit of £7m, compared to a £9m loss in the preceding 12 months.

According to its 2016 financial report, the growth was driven by three main factors: prize money and broadcasting income from England’s participation in the Euro 2016 tournament; higher sponsorship revenues, chiefly from Emirates’s sponsoring the 2015–2016 FA Cup; and an increase in revenue from live and sporting events at Wembley, which increased to 35 from 28 in 2014–2015, including four additional concerts.

Major concerts at Wembley in 2015–2016 included dates by Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Rihanna and Ed Sheeran, who famously became the first male solo artist to play a headline show at the stadium.

“The FA is a not-for-profit organisation, and our focus is on investment for the future of the game. Last year we made very good progress”

“The FA is for all, and this [growth] allows us to invest even more money than ever before back into every level of our national game,” comments FA chief executive Martin Glenn. “The FA is a not-for-profit organisation, and our focus is on investment for the future of the game. Last year we made very good progress.”

Despite the critical and financial success of those concerts, the stadium is known to be scaling back its musical activities in favour of a renewed focus on football. “Despite having built a great concert franchise, Wembley remains at its core a football stadium,” reads the 2016 report, which also highlights a potential deal for Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur to play home matches at the stadium while their White Hart Lane ground in north London is replaced.

While there might be fewer events in 2017, Danielle Russell, the stadium’s partnership development manager for music and new events, told IQ recently that Wembley has a “great music calendar” for 2017, including shows by The Stone Roses, ELO and Adele. Wembley Stadium recently welcomed a new events management team, led by ex-Sunderland AFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson, to replace outgoing head of business development Jim Frayling.

 


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