BEST FAN ENGAGEMENT BY A CLUB
AFC Wimbledon – Cake
AFC Wimbledon is one of the world’s most famous fan-owned football clubs. After the original Wimbledon FC was moved to Milton Keynes, the fans decided to start over at the lowest level of English football.
The club has made incredible progress and after six promotions is now in League One. However, there was one final hurdle the club faced – getting back to their spiritual home Plough Lane.
The Dons Trust – fan-owners of AFC Wimbledon – hoped to raise £3 million from fans and investors, within one month to maintain fan control and help fund the final phase of construction.
Cake were up for the challenge – our Plough Lane Bond campaign was split into two phases:
1. A targeted AFC Wimbledon fan-focused awareness campaign
2. A media launch to engage a wider audience of fans and investors nationally, who were not local or regular match goers
• We engaged AFC Wimbledon fans, harnessing their passion for the club to raise £2 million
• We secured 20+ pieces of national PR coverage
• The media launch raised £1.5m in one week
• The £3m target was smashed, reaching almost £5.5m within the initial deadline
Chelsea FC & FA Cup Final Fest
When Chelsea progressed to the final of the 19/20 FA Cup, we wanted to bring the excitement of Cup Final Day to our fans who couldn’t join us at an infamous Wembley FanZone. In just 10 days, colleagues across multiple departments created a fantastic live event, hosted from the roof of Stamford Bridge and streamed for free to our fans across Facebook and YouTube. The campaign to promote the event had a ‘festival line-up’ look and feel, with new acts/guests announced every day.
The event included celebrity guests, former players including Didier Drogba, music, giveaways, competitions etc. – everything that you’d hope to get from the build-up if you were making the trip to Wembley. We also organised live links to the team hotel to speak to newest signing Timo Werner, as well as personal messages from A-Listers such as Matthew McConaughey. Not only did this set the tone for all the fans who’d missed out on a trip to Wembley, but it also allowed us to bring all our global fans with us via interactive prize giveaways.
The event was extremely successful, with strong streaming numbers both overall and peak live viewers from fans around the globe.
Chelsea FC & Play Predictor, iX.co
Chelsea Football Club, one of the world’s most successful football clubs, turned to iX.co to design a premier digital platform for its fans. As part of the engagement, iX.co was asked to create a data-driven bespoke digital product strategy and revamp all of Chelsea’s digital platforms, including its mobile app, in advance of the 2018-2019 season. iX.co and Chelsea have worked together to enhance these platforms over the years, including launching the Play Predictor.
Play Predictor, which launched July 2020, has been an important addition to the 5th Stand, Chelsea’s fan-focused mobile app which has been designed to be a true community for Chelsea’s global fanbase. Since the app’s launch in 2018 it has been downloaded over 6.7 million times, making it the fastest growing football app in the world. According to a recent survey from the club, 92% of all Chelsea fans recognize the importance of having the 5th Stand app.
Thousands of Fulham supporters joined together to become a formidable FULFORCE of unity going into each and every remaining fixture of the 2019/20 campaign.
Our fans pulled together and supported each other during lockdown, and when football resumed in June 2020, that unwavering support from home was captured in an online space; the FULFORCE From
Home Social Wall – fulforce.fulhamfc.com
The online platform provided a hub which allowed supporters from all over the world to come together on matchdays, interact and create a virtual ‘White Wall’ of support from home.
Fan images, messages and videos were also displayed during matches at Craven Cottage, meaning Fulham fans were never far from the action as they continued to support the team en route to the EFL Championship Play-Off Final. Their images would once again be on display for all to see – draped behind West End of Wembley Stadium in the Final – pushing the side on to Premier League promotion.
Whilst there may not have been fans physically present when Fulham earned their Play-Off success, thousands of Fulham fans were emotionally together and their voices and messages of support truly heard, as we brought an unprecedented season to a brilliant end.
Leicester City FC
With COVID-19 restricting any kind of face-to-face activity with supporters, Leicester City’s Supporter Engagement Department adapted by offering virtual and interactive experiences for its fanbase. Despite the obvious hurdles presented by the pandemic, a unique take on fan engagement allowed the Club to continue connecting with its fans and form unbreakable bonds throughout the uncertainty of 2020.
The Football Club utilised mascot Filbert Fox as the face of numerous junior initiatives, each designed to not only entertain but to educate, while virtual quizzes and events with first team players became a forefront of the Club’s wider outreach strategy.
An approach with increased digital engagement at its heart but also with core Club principles as a driving force, Leicester City was able to build on already-established relationships with fans, whose returned generosity would contribute to the opening of a brand-new facility at a major city hospital.
Lincoln City FC
At Lincoln City FC, the supporters are vitally important to us and despite recent challenges, our relationship with them is stronger than ever.
Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic gave us many hurdles both financially, and from a fan engagement perspective, we managed to ensure that our supporters received the best experience possible.
Match days are such a huge way of engaging with our fan base and we had to change our way of thinking when the supporters were not able to attend. We created a new match day experience for them and engaged with them digitally to ensure they were at forefront of our thinking.
The results of our engagement with our supporters were astonishing. The hard work, fan engagement and gestures of goodwill from the club were rewarded by exceptional loyalty and backing from our fans. We are starting to emerge from the pandemic successfully and the supporters have played a huge role in this by backing their football club in return.
Our constant engagement in the community has strengthened this even further, and we cannot wait to welcome them back in the near future.
Manchester United FC
Manchester United draws its strength from our millions of fans around the world and the shared sense of community which exists between them. When the pandemic struck, disrupting football and the routines and rituals which surround it, we had to act quickly and creatively to develop new ways of engaging with fans when we could not welcome them to Old Trafford or hold our usual physical fan events around the world. Our virtual I LOVE UNITED event and our ‘Take You Home’ fan mosaic were examples of how we did this. The result was high levels of digital engagement throughout the pandemic and a strengthened bond with our fans.