Suis-nous
Interview de Danny Lee, Head of Ticketing à Swindon Town FC Interview de Danny Lee, Head of Ticketing à Swindon Town FC

Interviews

INTERVIEW : Danny Lee (Swindon FC) : “Les jeunes sont le futur de notre club”

Responsable de la Billetterie au Swindon Town FC, Danny met en oeuvre de nombreuses actions pour satisfaire l’ensemble de ses fans.

Publié

le

Fanstriker suit Danny depuis un bon moment maintenant, puisque c’est un acteur clé sur le sujet de la fan expérience, souvent à l’origine de contenu très pertinent sur LinkedIn. Lui et son équipe au sein du Swindon Town FC sont toujours en train de proposer de nouvelles activations intéressantes à leurs fans.

—–
🇬🇧➡ English version of the article here.
—–

Le Swindon Town FC est un club de football professionnel anglais fondé en 1879. L’équipe joue en League Two, la 4e division de la ligue de football anglaise. Le club joue à domicile au County Ground, un stade de 15 700 places.

Bonjour Danny, peux-tu te présenter plus en détail pour nos lecteurs français et nous expliquer un peu ton rôle au sein du club ?

Je suis le Responsable billetterie au sein du Swindon Town FC (STFC), ce qui veut dire que je suis responsable de la vente des billets pour tous les matchs à domicile et à l’extérieur mais également en charge de toute l’expérience jour de match et de l’engagement des fans. C’est très lié donc au remplissage du stade et à l’intérêt général des fans pour le club. Mon rôle est d’améliorer et de développer notre stratégie billetterie et notre service client pour tous les spectateurs.

Combien d’employés sont dédiés à la fan expérience au sein du club ?

Nous avons vraiment une petite équipe ici. Et souvent nos missions sont assez transversales et on s’aide les uns les autres. À l’approche du jour de match, je travaille avec le Responsable Médias (ndlr: Ben Hooke) et l’équipe créative pour tout mettre en place niveau marketing et activations pour les fans comme par exemple les animations de maquillage. En jour de match, j’ai vraiment à cœur d’accueillir et de souhaiter la bienvenue aux fans. Je m’assure que notre promesse de leur offrir une expérience inédite est bien tenue. On a également du personnel spécifique en jour de match mais ce sont principalement des bénévoles qui nous aident. Tous sont plutôt des habitués, une fois encore pour assurer la qualité de notre offre à tout moment.

"My First Match", le diplôme offert aux enfants dont c'est le premier match au stade@DannyLee

“My First Match”, le diplôme offert aux enfants dont c’est le premier match au stade

Un enfant et son papa fans de Swindon avec le diplôme@DannyLee

Un enfant et son papa fans de Swindon avec le diplôme

Il y a deux mois vous avez lancé une initiative géniale appelée “Mon premier Match”. Un diplôme remis aux enfants venant pour la première fois au stade. Nous l’avions partagé sur les réseaux sociaux de Fanstriker, et cela avait suscité beaucoup de réactions positives.
Peux-tu nous en dire plus sur cette action ?

C’est vrai que c’est une super initiative et les retours que nous avons eu sont très positifs, tant pour les fans du club que pour les fans des équipes visiteurs. L’idée nous est venue avec un collègue lors d’un séminaire de la ligue de football en Avril dernier. On y avait évoqué des nouvelles idées pour améliorer l’expérience jour de match des fans. J’ai été particulièrement attentif aux actions proposées pour les enfants et comment faire de ce premier match un moment unique avec un petit quelque chose en plus. Je pense que cela les incite à revenir, peu importe le résultat sportif. C’est dans cette voie que nous souhaitons développer nos activations.

En effet, on remarque que la plupart de vos actions sont menées pour le jeune public (enfants et ados). Pourquoi en faire votre cible privilégiée ?

Les jeunes sont le futur de notre club et sont donc très importants pour nous. Ce sont les futurs abonnés et nous sommes vraiment fiers d’avoir cette culture familiale au sein du club. J’ai l’impression que les enfants sont moins intéressés par le score final que les adultes lorsqu’ils décident d’aller voir un match. Donc si on fait des choses pour les jeunes, leurs parents seront également plus enclins à venir.

Quelle est l’action mise en place pour vos fans dont tu es le plus fier ?

Je suis vraiment fier du diplôme “Mon premier match” dont nous parlions plus haut. Mais je dirais que notre journée portes ouvertes aux jeunes “Junior takeover” a été la plus réussie jusqu’à présent. Nous avons eu plus de 700 nouveaux enfants au stade, nous avons distribué des billets gratuits dans les quartiers, des joueurs sont allés donner des cours de sport dans les écoles et nous avons offert des visites gratuites du stades à des groupes scolaires. C’était fantastique et je suis vraiment fier de voir autant de nouvelles têtes au stade. Il y a eu aussi le lancement de la nouvelle fan zone famille, également un grand moment dont je suis fier.

Junior-takeover-Swindon-Town-Danny-Lee@DannyLee

Journée portes ouvertes pour les enfants à Swindon Town FC

La thématique de la fan expérience c’est plutôt un hobby, une passion ou juste une partie de ton travail ?

Tout d’abord, avant d’en faire mon métier, j’étais (et je suis toujours) un très grand fan de football. Du coup, j’imagine avant tout ce que j’aimerais vivre en tant que fan lors d’un match, et j’essaie ensuite de l’intégrer à ce que nous proposons à Swindon.

“Un samedi après-midi en tant que papa, j’ai le choix d’emmener mes enfants au match et dépenser peut-être 50£, ou d’aller au zoo pour le même prix et y passer toute la journée. Il faut donc que l’on propose une valeur ajoutée à ces 90 minutes de jeu.”

Que penses-tu du lien entre la billetterie et la fan expérience ?

Le lien entre billetterie et fan expérience est énorme. Aujourd’hui, il n’est plus uniquement question de football, tout particulièrement pour les familles, où toutes recherchent le meilleur rapport qualité prix. Par exemple, un samedi après-midi en tant que papa, j’ai le choix d’emmener mes enfants au match et dépenser peut-être 50£, ou d’aller au zoo pour le même prix et y passer toute la journée. Il faut donc que l’on propose une valeur ajoutée à ces 90 minutes de jeu. C’est pour cela que mon but premier est d’engager nos fans, mais pas forcément uniquement autour du football. Je cherche à mettre en place des idées uniques pour faire cette différence. On propose des stands maquillage, des selfies bords, des activités, des visites de joueurs dans les zones familles qui permettent d’ajouter ce petit plus et améliorer de manière globale l’expérience au stade, au-delà des 90 minutes de match.

Quelle est ta motivation dans ce que tu fais ?

Je suis vraiment animé par l’envie de voir le County Ground aussi plein que possible avec une super atmosphère à chaque match. La réussite sur le terrain aide beaucoup à cela c’est sûr, mais je suis vraiment passionné par mon job et le fait de pouvoir rendre cela possible à chaque match.

Photo-Swindon-Town-FC-Danny-Lee@DannyLee

La photo homme du match, l’une des nombreuses activations pour les enfants à Swindon

Quelle différence y a-t-il selon toi entre fan expérience et fan engagement ?

Je pense que les deux sont indispensables lorsque l’on va voir un match. Une expérience fan réussie ce n’est pas seulement créer cette connexion entre le fan et son club, cela englobe aussi les personnes avec qui le fan décide de venir et de partager ce moment. L’engagement d’un fan contribue pleinement à l’expérience d’un autre fan et c’est ce qui rend le football ou le sport unique. Dans un match de football, votre propre expérience est dix fois plus dépendante de l’expérience des autres que dans n’importe quelle autre industrie. Et c’est notre job en tant que club de foot de faciliter cela.

En général, penses-tu que les clubs sont assez créatifs en matière de fan expérience pour permettre aux fans d’être plus heureux ?

De plus en plus de clubs doivent l’être, tout particulièrement à notre niveau ou comme je l’ai dit chacun cherche à rentabiliser au mieux ses dépenses. Certains clubs le sont plus que d’autres mais cela dépend des individus, de leur créativité et de leur intérêt pour le sujet.

Penses-tu que le sport récompense à sa juste valeur la loyauté et la passion de ses fans ?

Je dirais que chaque club est différent. Nous à Swindon, on a vraiment besoin de récompenser nos fans les plus fidèles car ils ont été à nos côtés dans les bons comme les mauvais moments et il est important de récompenser les abonnés, et ne pas faire uniquement des choses pour les nouveaux fans. C’est pourquoi pour chaque promotion sur la billetterie par exemple, on s’assure que nos abonnés puissent également en profiter ou à défaut obtenir quelque chose à la place.
À Manchester United par exemple, ils ont une liste d’attente de 30 000 personnes pour les abonnements, donc peut être que pour eux récompenser la loyauté des fans n’est pas la même priorité que pour nous.

Mascot-Swindon-Town-FC-Danny-Lee@DannyLee

La mascotte Rockin’ Robin sur un événement pour les étudiants

Dirais-tu que la fan expérience a une dimension culturelle ? Les fans anglais sont ils différents des autres fans dans le monde ?

Je suis à 100% d’accord avec cela. J’ai beaucoup voyagé et assisté à de nombreux matchs de foot dans des pays différents. L’Angleterre est toujours un peu old school, avec beaucoup de ségrégation.  Les autorités sont un peu frileuses et préfèrent éviter que les fans se mélangent, mais cela est dû à des problèmes plus anciens. Mais c’est tout de même très culturel : j’ai vécu en Espagne, et même au-delà du sport, ils ont un esprit de communauté, l’habitude de se mélanger et se socialiser qui est beaucoup plus forte, et cela fait une grande différence.
La mise en place de fan zones comme pour la Coupe du Monde ou les finales de Champions League aide petit à petit à créer cet esprit plus communautaire en Angleterre.

As-tu déjà assisté à un match en France ?

Pas encore, mais je suis toujours intéressé par découvrir d’autres clubs et d’autres cultures ainsi que leurs manières de faire. Je suis un fan de Manchester United donc pourquoi pas venir à Paris pour un match de Champions League contre le PSG l’année prochaine !

En France, beaucoup d’acteurs du monde du sport pensent que le modèle américain du “sport spectacle” n’est pas réalisable dans un pays comme le nôtre. Qu’en penses-tu ? Est-ce un exemple que tu essaies d’appliquer à Swindon ?

Je suis un grand partisan du modèle américain. Comme je l’ai dit, j’essaie d’offrir bien plus qu’un simple match de 90 minutes. Les américains s’en sortent très bien, mais c’est culturel. Ici les fans sont très traditionnels, ils ont leur petite routine chaque jour : se lever, aller au pub et ensuite au stade à 14h45 juste avant le coup d’envoi. Mais on peut arriver à les faire changer, et c’est là où cibler les enfants est important. Leur proposer des activités en amont du match les incite à venir au stade bien plus tôt et à générer cette atmosphère géniale d’avant match.

Tout le monde parle de la transformation digitale dans le sport avec les stades connectés, les applications, la réalité virtuelle, etc. Quels sont les risques et les opportunités d’utiliser des outils digitaux pour la fan expérience ? Et quel impact attendre pour le club et les fans ?

C’est vraiment très important puisque tout le monde est sur son téléphone, et c’est un fabuleux outil d’engagement. Actuellement, nos tourniquets d’entrée au stade fonctionnent grâce aux téléphones : les fans peuvent scanner directement leur billet dématérialisé pour entrer. On a aussi une application pour les fans qui envoie des offres pushs, du contenu spécial, la possibilité de voter pour l’homme du match pour encore plus engager nos supporters. Tout l’objectif est qu’ils partagent sur les réseaux sociaux leurs expériences, ce qui inévitablement se transforme en de nouvelles opportunités pour le club, à plein de niveaux différents.

Quel est le rôle des sponsors dans la fan expérience ? Peuvent-ils réellement contribuer à améliorer l’expérience des spectateurs ou y a-t-il toujours un frein dû à leur finalité de vendre ou de gagner en notoriété ?

Leur rôle est très important car ils cherchent à améliorer leurs interactions avec nos supporters. Par exemple, un de nos sponsors, Relish, voulait faire une activation à la mi-temps. Je leur ai proposé l’idée d’un challenge où 3 supporters sont sélectionnés pour participer et essayer de marquer un but contre la mascotte du club, et cela devant tous les fans. Le premier à réussir gagne 2 tickets hospitalités pour un prochain match. Pour moi, il était vraiment important que ce ne soit pas seulement les participants qui profitent de l’expérience, mais l’ensemble des spectateurs.

Et pour toi, quelle est la meilleure fan expérience que tu aies vécue ?

Un match de NFL à Twickenham. L’avant match était incroyablement bien réalisé, c’était génial et l’atmosphère était tout simplement géniale et il y avait des animations partout et pour tout le monde.

Nous arrivons au terme de cette interview, mais avant de conclure, quels sont tes prochains projets, à plus ou moins long terme ?

Mon ambition est de continuer à grandir et me développer ici à Swindon Town, je veux vraiment faire la différence et si possible voir le club passer dans les divisions supérieures. Il y a beaucoup d’opportunités avec peut-être l’investissement dans un nouveau stade et terrain d’entrainement, qui nous permettraient de continuer à grandir dans les années à venir. J’aimerai aussi travailler à l’international plus tard, mais pour l’instant je veux plutôt continuer à faire ce que nous faisons et de voir où cela nous mène !

Merci beaucoup à Danny pour cette immersion dans la vie très active du club anglais de Swindon Town FC. Nous sommes ravis de voir tant de professionnalisme et d’importance accordée à la fan expérience, peu importe le classement sportif du club. Bravo à vous !

Pour suivre Danny sur les réseaux sociaux, jetez un oeil à sa page LinkedInOn vous encourage également à visiter le site internet du Swindon Town FC qui regorge de bonne pratiques pour les clubs. Nous avons particulièrement aimé une action dont nous n’avons pas parlé dans cette interview, le guide d’accueil pour les supporters visiteurs. Malin ! 

Cet article était-il intéressant ?

Passionnée, supportrice et grande curieuse, j'ai à cœur de partager ma vision des événements. Convaincue du rôle central que les fans ont à jouer dans le développement du sport, je suis ravie de pouvoir mettre en lumière les bonnes pratiques qui peuvent servir d'exemple et d'inspiration à tous grâce à Fanstriker. Passionate, curious by nature, and a true fan, I like to share my vision about sport events. I am convinced that fans have a considerable part to play to develop the sport economy. Through Fanstriker I aim at bringing to light the best practices that can serve as an example or an inspiration.

In english

INTERVIEW: Ryan Murrant (Brentford FC) “We are all about togetherness”

Ryan is very active about fan experience and engagement with his club Brentford FC. He is dedicated to provide the best experience to the fans.

Publié

le

Interview Ryan Murrant Brentford FC

Ryan Murrant, Fan Engagement Manager at Brentford FC in England has accepted to answer our questions about the amazing work he is doing and that we are sharing on our social media. He explains to us what motivates him, what inspires him, its work…

 

Ryan, what can you say more to present yourself to our french community and help us understand better what you do for your club Brentford FC?

I’ve worked in football for 7-8 years and my role here is Fan Engagement Manager. In short, my role is mostly to interact and to add value to supporters once they are coming to a game. Some of what I do is about acquisition which is why we have built a bespoke website for families: family.brentfordfc.com. That site explains what it is like here for families, what to expect, what they can do here and how to get the most out of their day.

I have a large focus on our families but also on the move to the new stadium and ensuring our supporters have an experience there that they buy into. We have about 10 focus groups covering different topics who meet to shape the new experience. 

Brentford new stadium of 17 250 seats which will open in 2020

Your title is Fan Engagement manager at Brentford, how do you describe Fan Engagement and Fan Experience. Are they similar, complementary or different?

I think the term “Fan Engagement” is thrown around too much these days. A lot of businesses come up with new Fan engagement tools and apps which in my opinion isn’t fan engagement, it’s marketing and communications. The same with block chain “solutions”, it’s not fan engagement. To me, I believe that fan engagement is treating fans well, being nice, creating unique opportunities, adding value to the supporter experience knowing that transactions may follow. Treat your supporters well and they will appreciate it. It’s really easy to get right and so easy to get it wrong and to alienate fans. It’s a science and I believe to do it well you have to have served time as a football fan knowing that your club will mostly let you down. Fans have an emotional attachment to their club and it’s down to us to embrace that and to enhance their journey. They are they ones that will be here forever. 

“Treat your supporters well and they will appreciate it. It’s really easy to get right and so easy to get it wrong and to alienate fans.”

How is the Brentford FC staffed around the fan experience (dedicated staff/part of their role/ transversal issue for all the staff)? 

We have a culture from above that demands we are the best at everything we do. Not in a dictatorship manner, but in a way to ensure our fans are proud of what we do on and off the pitch. Our owner is passionate about attractive, affordable football, our CEO wants us to have the best supporter/ fan experience in the country, and above all that we aim to be the most diverse and inclusive club in England. So that is the starting point. That breeds a culture and we are all only here as we share that vision. We are all about togetherness. 

On a matchday we have a “here to help” team that are in place around about a kilometer of the stadium footprint to help with any directions or enquiries. When you get the ground there are more of them and then in the stands we have friendly stewards who are trained to promote and implement the club messages.

In my team on matchdays I have Jenn, Amber and Zelda who help make our family offering what it is. Currently 2nd out of 71 teams in the EFL and the best family experience in London. You also have to remember that our stadium is built in between houses. If you jumped over a wall you’d end up in someone’s garden. It really is that small.

Few days ago, we shared two email you have sent to your fans. The first one was to announce a renew contract from a player. And the second one was to ask fans why you didn’t see them at the previous games. Can you tell us more about those ideas? 

As a fan of most clubs your interaction with them is being sold to, being told to read something, watch something etc. As I said before fans are mostly broadcast to which is fine but that doesn’t add value. With the new contract story we wanted to give our Season Ticket holders and members some exclusive news and add value to their commitment to the club. It worked well as the open rate on the email was the highest of any we have ever sent. If we keep doing that and getting it right then that gives us a commercial sponsorship opportunity so it is completely win/win for all parties and actual fan engagement in its truest form.

“With the new contract story we wanted to give our Season Ticket holders and members some exclusive news and add value to their commitment to the club. It worked well as the open rate on the email was the highest of any we have ever sent.”

With the email to the season ticket holders that have missed our first two league games, that is the simplest of things and costs very little. We don’t know why people aren’t coming unless we ask them.However it’s very easy not to care and then in 9 months ask them for £500 again, by that time we could’ve already lost them. If we can put right a reason for them missing games sooner then the likelihood of them being happy and coming to more games becomes greater. From that email alone we have moved people because the person next to them is annoying, the roof was dripping or because they have had an injury that requires more leg room. Some were just on holiday or have changed work patterns. The fact is if we don’t ask we won’t know and then coming back to the strategy we can’t be the best. In my opinion every club should have that level of dialogue with their fans because it means the club are listening and valuing their fans. If fans don’t want to reply or talk to us they don’t have to but we need to give them the opportunity. It’s a basic that is often forgotten. 

“In my opinion every club should have that level of dialogue with their fans because it means the club are listening and valuing their fans.”

We observed that you are making many activations for kids and young people. Is that correct? Why acting mostly towards this type of public? Is it your main target for ticketing?

You can probably remember your first ever game? The first time you met a player or a mascot? Well things haven’t changed emotionally in the supporter journey, we just have access to more mechanics and activations to make matchdays magical these days. Kids don’t remember results and scorers when they are 5 or 6 but they will remember meeting the manager or high 5-ing the mascot. I have a belief that it is our job to engineer Monday morning stories. Give the kids something to tell their classmates, give the adults something to shout about at work. Those stories are better than any ticket campaign. Supporters are our greatest ambassadors, they live and breathe the club. Make them happy and you’re doing it right.

“Kids don’t remember results and scorers when they are 5 or 6 but they will remember meeting the manager or high 5-ing the mascot. […] Give the kids something to tell their classmates, give the adults something to shout about at work. Those stories are better than any ticket campaign.”

Kids are our next generation of season ticket holders, casual fans and maybe in there we have the next sponsor or better still the next Matthew Benham (Brentford FC owner)! We don’t know so we must assume best practice, implement the best ideas and make this a place families want to come and be amongst other similar types. 

We are in a location where we have Chelsea, QPR and Fulham only down the road so we have direct competition for the public’s money. They all have Premier League experience and we can’t compete with that yet, but by having the best supporter experience in the capital we can stand out. Until we can guarantee a 1-0 win every week you have to have a plan. Our starts with a fans first visit and our drive to be the best. 

In february, we wrote an article about kids helping during a matchday. With the coach, the team in the stadium, the organization, etc. How did you think about that what is that for? 

I think Everton were the first ever club do this with their Junior Blues and it’s been duplicated across the country. We did it at Doncaster with local school children and it flew, they still do it now. With the kids takeover here we felt we needed to evolve it and make it more about the vision of the club so we worked with our brilliant BFC Community Sports Trust to make it exclusive for the children that they engage with. No Club has ever taken this approach and we invited children with disabilities, aspiring girl footballers, young carers etc and gave them the chance to work a matchday. 

The feedback we got back from those involved was great, the media helped massively and we got to celebrate the great work that we all do. I go back to Monday morning stories and changing perceptions, there is no better way of doing it than this. 

As a result I am in regular contact with Morten at our sister Club FC Midtjylland as they are set to launch their own. 

What is the fan engagement & experience action you are the most proud of with Brentford FC?

I don’t know if I could choose one thing. Every day, week and matchday brings with it new opportunities and that’s what makes it the best job I could wish for. People joke here that my job is “pink and fluffy”, “it’s all smiles and Disney” and you know what? It probably is at times but then that is what entertainment is about. If someone comes here for the 1st or the 1000th time and they walk away with a smile because of something we have done then you can’t put a price on that at all.

Is the fan experience a hobby, a passion or has it become your job? Can you describe us more precisely your job (daily tasks, main project, etc.)? And what is in your opinion the link between the fan experience & engagement and the rest of the processus (ticketing, social media, communication, marketing, etc.)? 

I’ve got no idea, literally. I think it was a job but it’s become my life, i’m pretty obsessed. It makes me frustrated seeing poor content, dismissive clubs and clubs that have no desire to engage at all. You become a perfectionist and judge everyone by your own clubs high standards. Most of the good stuff out there comes from clubs with very little money but who care for their fans. I strongly believe that to do this type of job you have to be a football fan. I don’t mean a fan of the club you work for, but you have to understand that we work with a product that can lead to fans going home either elated or disappointed. I regularly say that you can’t understand a football fan until you have paid to watch your side lose 3-0 away from home on a cold Wednesday night in the rain …and have then done it again…..for years! It makes no logical sense to let a set of circumstances beyond our control determine our moods but as football fans we do it, often twice a week!

“Most of the good stuff out there comes from clubs with very little money but who care for their fans.”

It is so important for clubs to understand the DNA of the club and not to assume. The fans are the ones that know best so talk to them, listen, understand and shape your content around a tone of voice they can level with. We aren’t the BBC so why talk to fans in that manner? We tend to forget that in England.

What motivates you in what you do? Why are you so interested by the fan experience and fan engagement in sport? And when did you start this journey?

I’d say I’m motivated by being the best or by having the drive and environment that aspires for that. I’ve done this for 7-8 years and I once worked for a CEO that didn’t like kids reading the teams out before kick-off as “you are only affecting one life”. He was more keen on sending emails to the masses to sell. You can do both but you need the right culture. The thing I love at the Bees is that we have the culture, great colleagues and we have the backing, the trust to take a risk, the environment where I can call Thomas Frank (Brentford FC manager) and suggest a new idea. That is so unique in football. Being trusted and allowed to do your job makes coming to work very easy. Jon our CEO loves us just to crack on and do what we love, you can’t ask for more.

We know that the Brentford FC family experience is known by the 2nd best experience in the EFL. Can you explain about this ranking and how is it determined? 

And the best in the capital of course! That is done through the EFL. Real families visit us twice a season and judge us on various touch points on the supporter journey. The EFL have various assessments of that data and they feedback to all clubs at the end of season. We don’t train our staff to prepare for the EFL visits as that is the wrong way to do it, but we do work together to ensure every team across the matchday is evolving and making their area as family/ fan focussed as possible throughout the season. 

https://twitter.com/BrentfordFC/status/1162337711409078275?s=20

Where do all of your ideas came from? Is there a specific inspiration behind them?

Some are recycled old ideas like the kids reading the teams out before kick-off. We did that at Southend in 2013, 6 years on we do it here and other clubs are now picking up on it. I love that, every club can do these things, they are free and you change lives. Our new initiative of young fans delivering messages to the first team dressing room is unique. Clubs in cricket lets fans write messages but here we wanted to make it very Brentford. We sat down and thought about how we add some magic, how do our messages become better than anyone else’s ? Because we have such a good relationship with Thomas Frank I called him up. I told him the concept, he loved it and told me to bring the kids into the changing rooms at 2.45pm! Fifteen minutes before kick-off, that is incredible. So where do the ideas come from? In this case the culture drove that one. It’s magnificent. 

The other ideas can come from anyone or anywhere at any time. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night before with a concept, emailed myself and then discussed it the next day. It can happen like that but as I mentioned the right culture will bring out the best in everyone at the club. No egos, “no dickheads” as Thomas would say and you can all excel, as one. Togetherness.

What KPIs do you use to assess the results of your activations (occupancy rate, engagement rate,etc.)? And do you see the result of all your efforts so far?

We analyse website visits, tweets, social media and emails and we evolve accordingly. With matchday analogue content, it’s really hard to gauge. I joke with our data heads and say “count the smiles” but it is really hard to gauge that stuff. You know if an idea is working as the activity is busy or not. If it is working we carry on and make it better, if it’s not working then we make it better and then carry on!

“With matchday analogue content, it’s really hard to gauge (the results of our activations). I joke with our data heads and say “count the smiles”.”

In general, do you think that clubs are creative enough in the fan experience and making fans happier? 

No. The game is cluttered with token efforts and lack of desire to involve fans in anything that doesn’t involve transactions. The EFL and Mark Bradley of the Fan Experience Company have done some great work to help clubs realise the importance of the supporter experience but it isn’t down to them. It’s down to the clubs to make the effort and to have the staff and culture willing to shine.

“The game is cluttered with token efforts and lack of desire to involve fans in anything that doesn’t involve transactions.”

I don’t buy into the “lack of money” claims as the best ideas are often free. It’s ego’s, understanding supporters and recognising the need to identify with each supporter group as their needs are all different. We can’t do much more with the limited space or with families but we probably have a gap with the “carnival fan” and younger supporters where we need to improve things. They are an important group, often labelled “ultras” or troublemakers because they want a different matchday experience to a family or to a 30 something. We all need to make more effort with those groups as they are the ones that will make the noise and create the atmosphere. That’s where Clubs should work with the FSA (Football Supporters’ Association) to learn best practice of other UK clubs or with those that do it well abroad.

“We all need to make more effort with those groups (“ultras”) as they are the ones that will make the noise and create the atmosphere.”

Would you say that the fan experience is very cultural? I mean, do you think there are several different good fan experiences type according to the sport or the country? Or is it finally a more global concept like universal, shared by all the sports fans and commonly the same? Are british fans different from other fans around the world? 

Yes it’s very cultural. In Scotland you have Motherwell and ‘Well Bois, a great Club and set of fans and whilst they have a decent presence at the games they are often frustrated with the policing laws up there and the lack of alcohol in the ground. Because of historic events the laws have become strict and there is no real consideration for the honest fan that just wants to sing and have fun. It’s pretty similar down here but not as strict. We can’t drink in sight of the pitch here, but you go to Germany or Denmark and you can watch a game with a few beers and guess what? You just enjoy the game and you don’t automatically become a hooligan! It isn’t just about beer though, it is that culture word again. I spent some time in Denmark earlier this year to visit a few clubs, FC Copenhagen, Bronby IF and FC Nordsjaelland and it was well worth it. FC Copenhagen are a commercial beast and the work they do with their fans on ticketing is groundbreaking. You have Brondy who have a huge ultra section, it’s pretty intimidating but with the right people you are made to feel welcome. The ultras there even decorated the family area. Then you look at FC Nordsjaelland who have 82% of all first team minutes played by academy graduates and 98% of the fans are a family audience. Three completely different clubs in the same league with three very different cultures. 

“I do believe that all clubs and countries can learn off each other if we all put our minds to it.”

https://twitter.com/ryanmurrant/status/1130158141923123205?s=20

Would fans over here all want drums, a capo to orchestrate it all and smoke bombs to welcome the teams? probably not but over there it works so well. I do believe that all clubs and countries can learn off each other if we all put our minds to it.

In France, many sport stakeholder think that the american model (entertainment, huge shows during sports games) cannot be copied in a country like France or wherever else. Because of the culture and how people consume sport here. What is your opinion about that, is that the same feeling in UK? Even if we see that US sport are more common in UK, hosting NFL and NBA games for example. Is it a business model you are looking at within your club? 

We have the same thought process over here and to be honest before I worked in football i thought the same. I was probably the biggest anti-me there was! The way you look at it we all have to evolve and why wouldn’t we copy what the Americans do? They are world leaders at supporter services. If we don’t evolve and become more American we risk losing new fans who may not be as long in the tooth as the football purist. Football Clubs should never forget the history of themselves but we can’t always aim to keep the traditionalists happy, once they all die or stop coming then what?

Please don’t get me wrong I once had a boss who just didn’t get football and he was hard to manage as he wanted all sorts of things in place that football fans would frown at. There is a massive balance to get right but if you take the time to listen to fans and to understand what they want then you are on the right track. If you want to see the best culture I have come across then get to FC Nordsjaelland and tell me that encouraging kids and the Amercican way of thinking isn’t the right thing to do. They have global sponsors as a result of their culture, no brainer.

Everyone is talking about digital transformation in sport, with connected stadium, mobile apps, virtual reality, etc. What do you think about opportunities and risks by using digital tools in the fan experience? And the impact that can be expected for the club and the fans? 

I think esports are a huge threat to the traditional matchday as people have learnt to consume and to engage in that type of activity.It’s huge and we will all lose fans to it. I think that the shift to digital happened over the last couple of years but I also believe the pendulum has swung back towards analogue engagements and we are now sitting right in the middle. Clubs need more of that American way of thinking to embrace the digital stuff but it is going to take time and a lot of financial investment. We have to be careful that if we were to ever launch esports, amazing apps, virtual reality etc that it is of the very best quality otherwise we lose that “new” audience. I think top teams will do it well as they can almost afford to fail where many EFL clubs can’t take that risk despite the right intentions.

What is the role of the sponsors towards the fan experience? Can they really contribute or is there always an impediment due to their last end objective of selling/being better known? Do you have tangible examples at Brentford FC? 

Sponsors can help massively. Again I look at FC Nordsjaelland, a great culture, they know their audience and every sponsor is a global brand as a result. They don’t have large numbers but the audience is so relevant. Sponsors and clubs can get it wrong too if they don’t understand the culture and authenticity of the fans matchday. Too much corporate won’t work for the fans, and not enough corporate won’t work for the club. There has to be a balance.

We used real fans and players to create the Umbro the double diamond on the pitch and let fans deliver that message from their own social media accounts.

“They don’t have large numbers but the audience is so relevant. Sponsors can get it wrong”

What is the best fan experience you lived? If you can remember and explain us why?

When I was still at school we applied to be part of fans meeting to help select the new retail and kit options at Leicester City (my team). My dad and I were invited and thought we would be part of a big panel. There were 6 of us in total!!. That day I got to wear the new club kit and a week later I received a letter from the club telling me that I was the first ever supporter to wear the new kit. I still have the letter and i’m telling you about it now, it’s that powerful!  In most jobs I have had in football we have had fans wearing the new kit for launches and guess what? I’ve made sure they each got a letter telling them that they were the first to wear it. I know how good that feels, I’ve lived it! 

What are your future ambitions, if you are comfortable sharing? What are your projects in the future, in 3, 5 or 8 years?   

My immediate ambitions are to win the EFL Family Club of the Year 2020 or to at least be the best Club in the Championship. I also want to do what I can to help make the transition between this stadium and our new home as slick and as inclusive for our supporters groups.

Away from that who knows? I’d like to be in the Premier League within two years and hopefully with the good people I work with here at Brentford.

Cet article était-il intéressant ?

Continuer la lecture

Nouveautés