What do fans want?
The “Social and Community Value Report” published by Supporters Direct (SD) outlines some snippets of fans-feedback to dispel the myth – that it’s only results ‘on the field of play’ that matter. These included in response to the question: ”What do you think is the most valuable thing about your club?”
“The involvement the club has with the community”
“The opportunity to meet socially with friends to enjoy a beer and the game”
“It is a family club, approachable right up to director level”
“With us being a small club I like how close you can get with the players especially at away games… It makes you feel part of club and part of you feels you have helped them win”
“It represents the town and puts it on the map to an extent”
“My fellow supporters (who I know) are like a second family to me”
“You can identify easily with your local club because it becomes YOUR club. There is always a sense of passion and loyalty about everything the club does”
“Something for my son to follow, which helps him understand ups and downs of life, at a distance”
“It gives me a sense of belonging”
“It is easy to get to, and usually I don’t have to pre-book tickets: I can just turn up and watch a game if I feel like it”
“The fan base. Even when things not going well on the pitch, the fans still come, and stick together, to support the team”
“The fans and the community based projects”
“The belief that I, as an individual, am a real part of the club and that we, the club, are not reliant on a sugar-daddy to fund us”
“That their activities extend into the community beyond football”
“Supporters are allowed to take part in the running of the Club. We are able to communicate with anyone at any level and express an opinion. There is no ‘them and us’”.
I suppose some of the feedback is to be expected given SD’s reason for being. So I need to look further into research methodology, questioning formats and samples. Yet in this so-called ‘brand football’ many of the issues highlighted warrant attention in best practice, marketing strategy and relationship-building. I’ve decided to go to SD’s “Fans’ Weekend” to learn more.