Turkey was in the news today for less than appeasing reasons. Last night at Elland Road, a minority of Manchester United fans taunted the Leeds supporters with a rendition of “always look for the Turk carrying a knife” (edited from original lyrics as fans often do!). This verbal attack, also visual by an odd flag pronouncing ‘Galatasaray’ or ‘Istanbul’. Naturally, both sides played a part, with a reminder of Munich in the Leeds’ repertoire.
Just up the road in Istanbul another footballing spectacle was catching worldwide attention. You’ve no doubt read earlier about the problems in the Turkish game. After the allegations facing Fenerbache and other instances of fans’ violence, it was expected that empty stadiums would be one form of punishment. The Turks however, brought us a novel approach, courtesy of our friends at the TFF including Cem ülkeroglu (Turkish Football Federation).
They opened the gates to last night’s game against Manisaspor, but only to — women and children under the age of 12. That’s right no men, the traditional dominant punter were not allowed into the Ground. It doesn’t stop there. All tickets were free of charge. A whopping 40,000 crowd attended the fixture! The singing and hospitality was more ‘lady like’ in tone and activity also.
Now that’s a turn up for the books. How can this impact on that Country’s sport which mirrors many of the problems that were former ‘evils’ of the British counterpart in former years?
I should have used the last blog photograph with this post as I’m banging on my drum again about the pitfalls associated with completely ignoring social media. Naturally, I’m a convert but I’d like to think from a reasoned platform.
It seems to me ages ago since my colleague and brother-in-law, Bilen, wrote his thesis whilst completing his Master’s Degree in Strategic Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University. It was titled: “The role of online communities in internet marketing: a study of three professional football clubs in the North West of England”. Its compilation kindly assisted by the co-operation of three of my clients: Stockport County FC, Bury FC and Oldham Athletic FC. I recall this subject, as still to this date some organisations are only just awakening to the potential of its use in digital marketing strategies.
Some have said, Manchester is leading the way. “United” is a key case study in Facebook Marketing’s intelligence. “City” is on a pedestal with a selection of tactics scoring ‘early goals’ such as Flickr and Twitter.
We’ve had some great R.O.I (return on investment, not to be confused with Republic of Ireland) from social media. I hope some of you are following me on Twitter and YouTube? Or maybe Check In at my office on FourSquare (specials available!). However you look at it, this social approach has merits and has to be considered. There is no prescriptive solution but much best practice around. Furthermore, when expanding into the use of ‘social communities’ I buy in here also. I think it was David Jones that wasn’t in favour of online fans forums – but you cannot be a serious marketer if you don’t embrace this methodology and communication channel. It’s valuable in research, PR, polling perceptions and publicity. Expect more from me on this subject at a later date.
No surprise when latest intelligence suggests that it’s getting more expensive to watch and attend football matches. I read with interest the latest “Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Price Index” which has said that in the last 24 months prices have risen by more than 36 percent.
Just how much appreciation is there ‘club-wide’ on the state of the economy. Football is just one option as people have to make tough decisions on their discretionary, leisure spend – or not spend at all – as belts tighten and families feel the pain in their pockets. Contrary to fans’ wishes, the mortgage, food and fuel might be necessary priorities when selecting where that hard-earned cash goes.
More than one in four fans will cut back on the number of games they go to this season as the UK’s economic slowdown spreads to football. Promotional offers, loyalty schemes, discounts and tiered pricing will be evaluated and implemented for the ‘original’ fans. Yet the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’ may buck the trend and prop up other revenue streams.
QPR has put up prices by 40 percent next season as they return to the top flight of English football. Manchester United’s top price season ticket has hit £950 for just 19 games and fans must pay extra for domestic cup and European competitions. Surely, there’s potential, especially lower down the leagues, for an innovative approach to ticket pricing and other match day purchasing? I’m available if anyone wants to talk.
FC United continues with its “name your price” strategy on season tickets: radical but with some success.
BBC’s coverage of football titled “Lord Sugar Tackles Football” was aired last night. You can get a repeat performance on the BBC iPlayer (though apparently it doesn’t work worldwide).
I missed it ‘live’ but caught the repeat performance. Must say that I felt the programme to be somewhat academic. It emphasised basics of running a business which we all know have been ignored by many a football club. Furthermore, it came across as a TV production made for entertainment without any real delving or investigative stuff – just headline stories and stats. The simple facts of ‘financially keeping ones house in order’ was once communicated accurately at a Stockport County FC fans forum (post mortem) by a member of the Parfett’s family. It’s like a former colleague said to me, “Adrian, the problem with common sense is that it just isn’t common”.
One thing clearly apparent is the game has moved on, becoming a complex maze of commercial forecasting and debts accelerated, since Lord Sugar’s time as Owner of Tottenham Hotspur FC. Lord Sugar sold his majority stake at Tottenham to ENIC (leisure group) for £47 Million. He has described his time at that club as “a waste of my life”.
We were reminded of the £800M purchase by Glazer’s of Manchester United FC, with “extreme borrowings”. Long live FCUM.
Surprised that Harry Redknapp said he didn’t know the wages of any players at his club. Karen Brady was an articulate contributor to the show and I always thought her to be a plausible candidate for a top job at the Football Association.