Operating Lease for Sports Facility Funding

Through our exclusive partnership with Buckingham Leasing we offer (subject to approval) the option of Operating Lease funding for your sports facility.

Sports Operating Leases allow you to spread the cost of investing in new sports facilities. The Operating Lease enables you to refurbish or construct a new artificial sports turf pitch, playing court or athletics track in return for agreed regular payments.

Find out more about Operating Leases below or get in touch for an informal chat about your project.

3g football pitch constructed to FIFA quality standard by S&C Slatter for the JOhn Madejski Academy a member of The White Horse Federation
3g artificial sports turf pitch constructed by S&C Slatter to FIFA quality standard

How does a sports Operating Lease work? 

A sports Operating Lease is a form of financing that is particularly beneficial to state and academy schools.

Already commonly used across the sector, Operating Leases are not classed as borrowing, therefore do not require Secretary of State for Education (SSE) authorisation (as would be the case with a Finance Lease or similar).

With a sports Operating Lease, you can refurbish or build a new sports facility – with no deposit – in return for fixed repayments over a period of 1-7 years, on a repayment schedule that works for you.

Through our exclusive partnership with Buckingham Finance, our clients (subject to approval) can now use Operating Leases to fund, build and maintain their sports facilities through one single point of contact.


What are the benefits of a sports Operating Lease?

  • No deposit required – free up funds for other projects
  • Fixed payments over 1-7 years improve financial management and forecasting.
  • Claim VAT back on each lease payment
  • Never repay full asset value, monthly costs are lower than other forms of finance
  • Operating Lease rentals are treated as an expense item.
  • An Operating Lease is an additional line of finance (so may not affect existing bank arrangements)
  • Maintenance and service costs can be included

Utilising an Operating Lease, with a deposit of £96,500, eligible organisations can fund a brand new 3G all-weather sports pitch – complete with fencing and floodlighting – from as little as £13,900 per month (subject to site survey, conditions, and specifications).

See our real-world example below for more details.

St Barts floodlit MUGA netball

Why fund your sports facility with an Operating Lease?

Perhaps the single biggest benefit of an Operating Lease, as with our other finance options, is the ability to spread the cost of your new or refurbished sports facility over time.

Monthly costs for an Operating Lease however are lower than other forms of finance, as you never pay back the full asset value under the terms of the agreement.

With competitive rate fixed repayments and no-deposit options you can refurbish or build a brand-new sports facility without ever needing to lay out large capital sums in one go.

This not only maximises cash flow but frees up capital to invest in other areas of your school.

Sports Operating Leases also come with notable tax benefits, allowing your school to claim back VAT on each and every payment.

Many schools generate additional revenue for their organisation through the hire of their facilities. This means you can offset repayment costs through hire revenue, allowing your new or refurbished pitch, track or playing court to help pay for itself!

The John Madejski Academy did just that, using an Operating Lease to fund the refurbishment of their FIFA Quality 3G Pitch, with pitch hire revenue offsetting their lease repayment costs.

Financing a 3G Pitch 

Below you’ll find a real-world quote for an organisation who wish to finance the construction of a brand new 3G artificial grass pitch (including fencing and floodlighting) via an Operating Lease.

The example uses Sport England’s latest facility cost figures and includes a low deposit and no payment for 3 months. The balance is paid back in fixed monthly payments over the remaining 7 years.

Operating Lease Agreement Example

Cash Deposit £96,500.00 + VAT
Balance Financed £965,000.00 + VAT
81x Monthly Payments £13,835.25 + VAT


*Figures quoted are correct at time of writing (May 22) and serve for illustrative purposes only. Contact us for a tailored quote.

In this example, with a significantly reduced up front cost, the club is able to build their new 3G Pitch before repayments begin.

After 3 months, repayments begin and the lessee will pay just under £14,000 a month for their new pitch over the duration of the agreement, with full ownership at the end of the term – and the ability to reclaim VAT on every lease payment.


Berkhamsted School netball and tennis court construction and traffic improvements by S&C Slatter

What can sports facilities can you fund?

Through our exclusive partnership with Buckingham Leasing, we can now fund, construct and maintain a variety of sports facilities.

A selection of facility types can also include maintenance packages, as well as ancillary features such as floodlighting and fencing, allowing you to spread the full project cost over the term of your agreement.


Who is eligible for a sports Operating Lease?

Sports Operating Leases are recommended for the below organisations:

Operating Leases may be an option for independent schools but schools must check their constitution, or memorandum and articles of association, (whichever is appropriate) to check if they are able to borrow. It is worth noting that not all charities have the power to borrow.

For independent schools, universities, leisure operators, elite sports clubs and other organisations, Hire Purchase Agreements (if VAT registered) and Finance Leases (if non-VAT registered) are the recommended finance solutions to fund your facilities.

Talk to us

S&C Slatter are experts in the design, planning, and construction of artificial sports pitches. We are experienced in working with schools who utilise funding and finance options to refurbish or build new sports facilities.

Through our exclusive partnership with leading asset finance brokers Buckingham Leasing, our clients can now fund, build and maintain first-class sporting facilities through one experienced point of contact.

If you’re planning to resurface an existing pitch, playing court or track – or construct a new one – please contact us for advice, guidance, or a free consultation.

Further reading

The Education & Skills Funding Agency has published detailed information and good practice in academy trust financial management which includes: Leasing guidance for academy trusts.

The Department for Education offers guidance on best practice and practical suggestions on how to find the best value for money agreements here: Leasing and subscription services for school equipment.

S&C Slatter portfolios: Academies | Independent Schools | Local Authorities.

Credit is available for business users only. Subject to status and acceptance, terms and conditions apply. Administration fees apply. Finance agreements are arranged by Buckingham Leasing Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 671552, Company Registration No: 4637226. Buckingham Leasing are acting as a credit broker and not a lender. Registered address: Waterfield House, Wellmore, Foscott Road, Maids Moreton, England, MK18 1QQ.



Sports Facility Finance & Construction

Working exclusively with our partners Buckingham Leasing, we offer a variety of financing solutions to enable clients to fund, build and maintain sports pitches, playing courts and athletics tracks.

Contact our team to talk to us about your plans and receive advice and guidance on what funding options may be best suited to you.

For more information call 01635 34521 or email enquiries@slattersportsconstruction.com