Sports Pitch Finance and Sports Facility Funding

With clients across the sport, leisure, education, and business sectors we understand the challenges of funding new sports facilities. These financial challenges face community organisations, sports clubs, and schools alike.

As a leading sports contractor we have developed a deep understanding of the funding, grants, finance, and leasing options available to support the development of new sports facilities. If you are considering a new sports construction project we can introduce you to organisations who provide grants and finance to help you build your new sports facility.

Please call 01635 34521 or email for an informal chat about your project.

White Horse Federation used a sports pitch operating lease to fund the new 3g football pitch at John Madejski Academy

Sports construction funding for schools and universities

Where capital expenditure or grant funding may not be an option, sports operating leases are becoming increasingly popular in the education sector.

Sports operating lease

Particularly popular for schools, sports operating leases allow you to spread the cost of investing in new sports facilities.

The lease enables you to construct a new sports facility, or resurface one, such as a synthetic pitch, in return for agreed regular payments.

Why use an operating lease to fund a sports pitch?

A high-quality artificial grass pitch can support 60 – 80 hours of play per week, regardless of the weather. In a school setting, this can improve player and team performance, motivate students in their academic studies, and enhance wellbeing programs.

Outside of school hours there is a strong rental market, with many artificial pitches generating significant revenue for schools. Using an operating lease to fund an artificial pitch can reduce the budgetary impact of asset investment by spreading payments over a number of years – rather than paying for the pitch outright.

Sports operating lease case study

We worked with the John Madejski Academy who utilised an operating lease to fund their new FIFA Quality 3G football pitch. Popular with the local community, the pitch pays for itself through revenue earned from pitch hire.


The benefits of a sports pitch operating lease:

  • Reduce upfront costs and free up funds for other projects.
  • Fixed payments improve financial management and forecasting.
  • Reduced tax payments and the option to reclaim VAT.
  • 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)

Learn more about sports pitch leasing for schools.

Artificial turf hockey pitch construction Down Grange

Sports construction funding for sports clubs and community organisations

Whilst some professional clubs are able to secure operating leases with a guarantor in place (please see above), other funding options may be preferable to lower league clubs and community level organisations.

Hire Purchase Agreement

Available to sports clubs, a hire purchase agreement allows you to spread the cost of your new sports facility over time.

In return for an agreed deposit and regular monthly payments, your new sports pitch can be constructed through a hire purchase agreement before your monthly payments even begin.

Why use a hire purchase agreement to fund a sports pitch?

Many clubs are aware of the benefits of artificial turf sports pitches, supporting 60 – 80 hours of play per week, compared to just 2-6 hours of play per week on grass pitches.

It’s no wonder that in football for example, many elite level clubs choose to train on 3G football pitches, with many non-league clubs turning to 3G stadia conversions for enhanced playability and revenue opportunity.

For all clubs however, funding can be a barrier to 3G pitch construction or renovation. Where options like football club relocation aren’t viable, a hire purchase agreement can enable a club to spread the cost of their new pitch over time, with a significantly reduced up front cost.

Options such as deferred payments also allow clubs breathing room, so that payments can start once the pitch is already complete, allowing revenue generated from pitch hire to offset the repayment costs.

With various options available, such as smaller (10%) deposits and 6-month payment deferrals, hire purchases can be tailored to suit your club’s needs.

Hire purchase agreement 3G pitch example

We work with carefully selected finance partners, who are able to offer our clients hire purchase agreement options that work for them.

An example below outlines a real-world quote presented to a football club, for the conversion of a natural grass pitch to a 3G artificial turf pitch. The payment profile for this example is no payment for 3 months, followed by 81 monthly payments at a 3% flat rate.

3G Football Pitch Cost Breakdown
Cost Price (Net) £450,000.00
VAT (20%) £90,000.00
Total £540,000.00
Hire Purchase Agreement Example
Cash Deposit £200,000.00
Balance Financed £340,000.00
81x Monthly Payments £4,917.86


*Figures quoted are correct at time of writing (Oct 2020) and serve for illustrative purposes only. Contact us for a tailored quote.

The benefits of a hire purchase agreement

  • Reduce upfront costs make construction more affordable
  • Full ownership on final payment
  • Fixed payments improve financial management and forecasting
  • Deferred payment options allow pitch construction to be completed before payments begin, allowing revenue generated from your new pitch to contribute to repayments
  • If paying annually, payment can be deferred for up to 12 months
  • Claim tax relief via annual capital allowances

Get in touch to learn more about Hire Purchase Agreements for sports clubs.

Government grants for sport

Funding from the government and organisations like the national lottery are often delivered via sport governing bodies, like Sport England.

Sport England offer a number of funding options for community level and elite level facilities, which you may be eligible to apply for when funding a new sports project or refurbishment.

Local and regional councils will often also have grants available for sporting projects that can demonstrate specific benefit to the local community. These may be partial or full grants depending on the size and scope of the project, they also may require additional fundraising in support of the grant.

We encourage you to refer to your local council’s website to see what may be available in your area.

Funding for 3G football pitches

The Football Foundation is a charity partnership between The Premier League, The FA and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, established to help communities improve their local football facilities through football grants.

Over 20 years, they have allocated grants to construct 829 artificial grass pitches, 1091 changing room/pavilion facilities and improved 3091 natural grass pitches.

With £60m allocated in 2019 alone, it’s worth looking into the eligibility options to see whether your school or local facility may be able to apply for funding from the scheme.

We’re proud to be official suppliers to the Football Foundation’s AGP Framework with our artificial turf partners FieldTurf. Together, we deliver projects funded by the Football Foundation to provide first-class facilities to communities across the country. Recent examples include delivering Swindon Town FC Community Trust’s new 3G training pitch and a state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitch at Fleet Primary School in London, officially opened by former Arsenal player Robert Pires.

Ringmer AFC Football Club Relocation S&C Slatter

Developer funded relocation

Many sports facilities are located on high value land but realising the land’s value can be complex. Our in-house Design & Planning division are experienced in relocation projects and can advise you on the potential for developer funded relocation.

With a poor-performing natural turf pitch in need of repair, Ringmer AFC faced an uncertain future. Thanks to housing developer Bedford Park developments, the club were able to sell their land for housing development, with the developer covering the cost of both relocation and construction of a cutting-edge new 3G Pitch and clubhouse.

Offsetting costs with facility hire

The demand for high-quality artificial turf pitch hire across the UK is high, with the likes of 3G Pitches and water-based hockey pitches commanding high hourly rental rates.

Many organisations enjoy the benefit of additional revenue from their new-build or refurbished facilities through pitch hire. See how non-league football clubs are reaping the rewards from their 3G Stadia Pitches.

Funding and finance advice from S&C Slatter

We’ve worked with clients who have utilised a variety of funding options to bring their sports construction projects to life. With 30 years’ experience in the design, construction and maintenance of sports facilities, we have a large network of funding partners and contacts.

View our sports funding and finance case studies to see a selection of projects funded by operating leases or framework funding.

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