Getting to Know: Sportsrooms
Since their founding in 2015, sports travel agency, Sportsrooms have been redefining travel and logistics for professional sports teams worldwide.
Working with hospitality and travel experts internationally, Sportsrooms specialise in travel solutions for elite clubs across Europe in football, rugby and cricket.
Sportsrooms experience includes working with Premier League football teams, Premiership rugby teams, County Championship cricket teams and major events including two Rugby World Cups, seven UEFA Champions League finals, three European Rugby finals, two Laver Cups, plus many more.
Having partnered with Somerset County Cricket Club since the beginning of last season, the company have helped the Club source their accommodation for away matches and provide important logistical support.
Founder and Director, Chris Newsham, took some time to explain the origins of the business, the factors behind their recent success and the reasons for partnering with Somerset CCC this year.
“The company was started by myself as my passion has always been sport,” he said. “In 2011, I got a job working for the Olympic Games Organising Committee, and it was off the back of that that the idea for Sportsrooms came about a few years later. I knew there were other agents on the market, but I believed that we could deliver something different. The seed was sewn then, and ever since we have delivered for sports teams and sports events.”
After breaking into the industry, it wasn’t long before the Oakham based business were accruing clients across the country, with cricket logistics an area quick to be explored by Chris and his team.
“We broke onto the cricket scene just after we started back in 2016, also working with Leicestershire, Middlesex and Derbyshire. Fundamentally, it is team hotel arrangements for the first and second team. We have regular conversations with the team at Somerset, and we source what they are looking for. We have been doing this for a long time now, so we know what most teams look for in terms of hotels and transport, then we negotiate a price that is best for the Club.”
Since establishing an effective and dependable relationship with the First Class counties, Sportsrooms have identified a successful blueprint that provides all their clients with the most efficient travel and accommodation support as possible – factoring in the unique nature of the sport.
“At the start of the season when we get all the fixtures, we start lining things up such as hotels, and get all those on hold before deciding which ones we are going to use. Once the season starts, conversations occur almost daily as variable factors change, things like numbers and squads. Cricket is different to other sports as it varies from one-night stays to sometimes four-night stays, plus rest and recovery is so important, which in turn makes the quality and location of the hotel vital. We always say our job is to make everyone else’s life easier – that way they can concentrate on what they need to do on the field.”
Working with many elite teams and global events, the Sportsrooms team are accustomed to supplying organisations with a plethora of requirements. The key to delivering world-class services is largely down to staying versatile, says the Director.
“We find a way, we always do. That much is true after nearly eight years. We have ensured that our success comes from trying to be reliable and flexible. Sport is so transient and changes all the time, so we must be able to adapt.”
Providing such key components behind the scenes for teams and events worldwide in such high-pressure environments of course brings its pressures, but the rewards for working so close to the action make it all worthwhile according to Chris. However, even after eight years of working alongside a wide array of sporting spectacles, there is one standout memory.
“It would have to be May and June just gone! The European Rugby Finals were in Dublin, then two weeks later we went straight onto the UEFA Champions League final in Turkey. The joke is that my 11-year-old self would be very excited about the things I get to do because if you’re into sport, then this job really is fantastic. There is of course a lot of pressure on the role in ensuring we get everything right, especially with Champions League final’s as they take so much preparation, but this one in Istanbul had something extra special after it had previously been cancelled during COVID.”
Alongside witnessing some iconic sporting moments, Chris has been lucky enough to brush shoulders with some of the biggest names in the sporting industry during his time with Sportsrooms. Working this closely to sporting stardom, sometimes just minutes before they enter the field, provides its own niche situations.
“Not all the requests are as straightforward as you might think,” he explained. “Often you sit there and think ‘what am I doing?’ – whether that be waiting for a delivery for someone or organising something last-minute. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many great athletes and coaches. Everyone is very amiable and polite, even when we see players and coaches just before games, that is what makes the job so great.”
Heading into 2024, Chris is confident that his team will continue to thrive in the sporting world and are already looking to venture into new areas of the market.
“I love this job and working with my team because although there is pressure on us, it’s so special to feel like you’re doing something meaningful, albeit a small part in the overall outcome. Hopefully, we continue to grow into the fan specific travel element of sports travel and continue to build relationships with more professional sports clubs like Somerset CCC.”