PwC strengthens its sports advisory team with Robert Elstone

18 August 2021 2 min. read
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PwC has bolstered its sport business advisory wing, with the appointment of Robert Elstone. The former Deloitte professional spent the last two years as the Executive Chairman of Super League Rugby.

Clive Reeves, Strategy& Director & UK Sports Lead, commented, “We are pleased to have Robert joining our sports business team. His vast knowledge and practical experience will add another dimension to our team and ensure we are better equipped to solve our clients’ key challenges.”

Strategy& is PwC’s strategy brand, and its sports practice advises organisations across the UK. In his new part-time role as Senior Advisor, Elstone will support the growth of the sports practice and provide extensive industry knowledge and experience. His 25 years of experience in the sports industry combined with PwC’s core capabilities will enable the firm’s sports business advisory team to create further value for its sports sector clients.    

PwC strengthens sports offering with Robert Elstone hire

Elstone exhibited his strategic sporting capabilities in his last role in particular. The Rugby Super League is the top-level of the British rugby league system, and from 2018, Elstone worked as the institution’s Executive Chairman. During that time, he played a key role in securing the organisation’s independence, restructure and rebrand. His time in charge saw a significant growth in both TV audiences and commercial revenues, and attracted a substantial offer of private equity investment. 

Elstone handed the Super League his resignation in late 2020, when the 12 clubs rejected a private equity offer which was worth a reported £60 million from Novalpina Capital. With a new television rights deal expected to bring in less money for the sport than before, Elstone had championed the deal that would have brought in significant short-term funding, but also involved handing greater control of the game to outside interests.

He was given the position at the head of the Super League having worked at the game's governing body the Rugby Football League, during his time a chartered accountant at Deloitte. His experience running a top-flight elite football club also played a role, having spent 13 years at Everton Football Club, the majority as Chief Executive.

Speaking on his new challenge, Elstone said, “I am excited to join PwC at a time when its sports business is growing from strength to strength. I look forward to helping the firm’s clients capitalise on the stream of emerging opportunities being generated by this dynamic industry.”

Illustrating the kind of work PwC’s sport advisory wing participates in, in 2020, the firm was called on by Premiership Rugby to help plans to restart the season. Like football’s Premier League, the contest had been suspended due to the global coronavirus pandemic.