My experience with football clubs is that they focus all their energy on football, with almost the total exclusion of everything else. They sleep and dream only football and soccer. Football clubs see fans as a necessary distraction and often pay lip service to how they interact with them.
I have a very different view of how football clubs should be run. I believe that a great club should put as much effort into growing their fan base as they do football. I’m not saying in the least that you should build up a fan base and then start a club. New. I say that, have a club but spend more effort to grow your fan base. The reasoning behind this is that you can buy something else in the club, but you can’t buy fans. Having fans will attract the wealth to the club that can afford everything else a club needs.
A fan perspective is your club’s view of fans and what you need to do to get, keep, and use them for the benefit of the club.
To grow your fan base, you need to have a good fan perspective and approach everything with a first-tier attitude. This means that all your fan-building programs need to be in place and whatever you’re doing needs to be done very well. There should be no chance of errors.
The first question the club must ask is whether fans have a place in the club. If the answer is yes, then the club needs to figure out where these fans can be found and who these fans will be. When these questions are answered, the club must move into activities that will bring in the fans, keep the fans, and grow the fan base.
How do you advertise a football club?
A club has to keep the fans informed, you have to listen to what they want and also constantly inform them about the goings-on in the club. If you constantly listen to them, you deliver what they want and that’s how you create a sense of community. A sense of community is most noticeable when strangers greet each other simply because they are wearing a shirt from the same club. This connection and pride are what create a football club other than a team. Remember that a team is what people watch and have no connection with; a club on the other hand is what fans are associated with.
A successful fan perspective will attract success to the club both on and off the field. It is the cornerstone of sustainable homegrown success, as opposed to purchased success.
Robert K Sebbale is a football marketing specialist. His main focus is on fan marketing and fan-club relationships to get the best out of fans, such as filling stadiums.