Strong year for Newcastle-based Nova Group after it expands portfolio

Nova boosts profits and turnover as it adds to its portfolio of mass participation events across the UK

Brendan Foster

The business behind the Great North Run boosted turnover by 17% in 2013 to hit £18.5m.

Newcastle-based Nova Group also grew profit for the financial year from around £1.3m in 2012 to around £1.6m and continued to grow its portfolio, adding two major Scottish events - The Great Scottish Run and the Great Women’s Run.

It became the delivery partner for the National Lottery Anniversary Run, the first event to be held inside the London Olympic Stadium since the 2012 Olympic Games.

Founded in 1988 by Olympic athlete Brendan Foster, Nova is known for attracting many of the biggest names in world athletics to its events, a trend that was particularly noticeable at the 2013 Great North Run when three of the best distance runners of all time competed against each other, Kenenisa Bekele narrowly triumphing over Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie.

During the year, Nova Group also introduced a major new campaign, ‘GO Run For Fun’, developed in collaboration with INEOS, with the aim of increasing participation in running for children between the ages of five and 10.

Nova Marketing Consultancy Limited, the subsidiary company responsible for the marketing and promotion of the “Great” brand and all associated rights, meanwhile, has continued to focus on maintaining the quality and impact of the “Great” brand, helping retain current sponsorship levels and develop new commercial partnerships.

Chief executive Eric Wilkins said: “2013 has seen Nova take over the responsibility for staging mass participation events in Scotland and work with a major new partner INEOS.

“We are continuing to develop our reputation in the mass participation sporting events industry.”

Nova International Limited, a subsidiary company responsible for the organisation of the events, receives all income from individual entrants and public agencies, which it uses for the management and staging of the group’s event portfolio.

It describes its aim as being “to deliver quality-driven, exciting and safe events with an infrastructure that supports the participant before, during and after their participation”.

Nova Group also has a television production arm, Filmnova, which, during 2013, increased its UK terrestrial broadcast output to more than 45 hours.

Among the 10 live programmes it covered was a host broadcast production of the European Athletics Team Championships held at Gateshead International Stadium.

A strategic report for the year said: “The outlook for 2014 is positive and there are opportunities for Nova to continue its growth, both organically and through event acquisition and strategic partnerships.”

Final dividends of £700,000 were paid on December 6, 2013.

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