Best Fan Engagement by a Club
Arsenal’s 2016/17… starring the fans
As part of a club-wide shift in tone of voice and fan engagement, we wanted to make our supporters central to our output throughout the 2016/17 season while also driving engagement across our platforms.
We also recognised that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach was not the optimal way to engage our global fanbase – so we set out to create a bespoke content strategy for key commercial regions and bridge the gap between the club, the players and the fanbase.
By making the fans central to our approach for 2016/17, our aim was to start long-term relationships through data capture and CRM, driving digital membership sign-ups and referrals to the club’s retail arm.
We did this across both club-owned platforms and our social media channels through a variety of measures – innovative and unique signing announcements on Twitter, geo-targeted content on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat stories and the use of Playbuzz to offers polls and quizzes that put supporters at the heart of our content during the 2016/17 season.
Leyton Orient FC, Kick it Out & the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF)
In August 2016, the Fans For Diversity campaign, a joint initiative run between Kick It Out and the Football Supporters Federation, teamed up with the Leyton Orient Trust and Leyton Orient Football Club to create a new matchday area for first-time attendees from the local community that welcomed them into the football environment.
The ‘Fans For Diversity Hub’, situated within the East Stand of the Matchroom Stadium, home of Leyton Orient FC, gave a number of communities from the east London and Essex area the opportunity to experience a professional game in a safe and comfortable environment.
During the course of the 2016/17 season, 20 matchdays were hosted with groups from the Asian community, mental health projects and local schools Over the course of the season, a number of groups including St Joseph Hospice, Stepney FC and Asian Women’s Support Group all attended Leyton Orient fixtures through the hub
Akik Miah from Stepney FC, who were the first group to use the Hub, said, “The youngsters had an experience that they will treasure forever.”
For many of our global fan base they will never get a chance to visit Liverpool or see their favourite team play at Anfield. The mission of LFC World is to bring Anfield directly to the homes of our fans, offering them money can’t buy experiences that they will never forget.
LFC World offers our fans a money can’t buy experience, directly in their own city. It has been specifically designed to give a real flavour of the Club to our fans, allowing them to feel what it’s like to be at Anfield on a matchday and hear the roar of the Kop, as well as having the truly special experience of meeting some of our greatest players. Its success as a fan engagement programme is overwhelmingly evident in the statistics presented in our supporting evidence. We look forward to the continuing success of LFC World and to bringing this one of a kind experience to even more of our fans in the coming season.
Manchester City FC
Our match day fan experience covers five and a half hours at our dedicated Fan Zones with live post-match analysis. Our match day experience is spread throughout the Etihad campus, reaching out to our different fan groups. By constantly gaining feedback from our fans, the Club have tailored our match day experience around them.
This season Manchester City has developed and evolved our provision for supporters including:
- Enhanced pre-match activities in our dedicated fan zone, City Square
- Improved and extended our Blue Carpet Experience, providing unique contact between fans and the players
- Introduced a new dedicated ‘City Family Day’ before every home Premier League fixture at City Football Academy – a Premier League first and attended by more than 1,000 people every event
- New activities within the Family Stand for this season include ceiling flags featuring fan chants, a letterbox for junior fans to send questions to their favourite players, photo opportunities and activations, FIFA 17 competitions and a colouring-in wall.
A dedicated team of x40 enthusiastic and energetic ‘playmakers’ welcome and help fans at different touch points around the stadium. Very engaging, they hand out giveaways, run spot competitions, face paint young fans.
Rangers’ successfully engaged with their supporters and strengthened their bond with the Club over the course of the season by creating unique and memorable experiences which included from private press conferences with the Manager, surprise doorstep visits from the first team squad and opportunities to play on the hallowed turf at Ibrox Stadium on a matchday. The initiatives carried out within the campaign ensured that supporters were getting added value and rewarded them for their continued loyalty.
The content generated from these experiences resulted in massive engagement with supporters watching nearly 2,500 hours’ worth of content from the campaign on the Club’s YouTube channel alone. The campaign successfully catered for the various demographics included in the Club’s fan base and utilised a variety of touchpoints to engage with supporters in different environments which added authenticity.
Sunderland AFC delivered a world footballing first by broadcasting a match between two local Sunday League teams on Facebook Live to launch its new 2017-18 Adidas home kit.
Dawdon Welfare Park FC and District Sunday League sported the new look and ran out 7-1 winners over Hall Farm Glasshus FC of the Durham Alliance Combination League at Ashbrooke Cricket Club – the site of one Sunderland AFC’s earliest grounds from 1887-1888.
The match broadcast reached more than 350,000 supporters live on Facebook, and coverage of the launch was seen by around one million fans across all of the club’s social channels.
Paul Welch of Dawdon Welfare Park said: “It was a huge honour for us to be chosen to unveil the new Sunderland home kit. For the club to recognise and celebrate grassroots clubs and players in this way is fantastic and it’s something we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
‘Our future is rooted in our history’ became the official tagline of the campaign as the shirt worn by Dawdon pays tribute to the ﬁrst ever red and white striped kit worn by Sunderland AFC in the 1880’s.
Tottenham Hotspur FC
The Lane, The Finale
The ‘The Lane, The Finale’ campaign celebrated and commemorated the closure of White Hart Lane, our beloved home ground for 118 years.
Starting in the weeks leading up to the final match to take place at the stadium, we embarked on a wide-ranging campaign to ensure the Lane had a befitting large-scale send-off.
The moniker ‘The Lane, The Finale’ was used throughout the campaign alongside universal branding featuring a drawing of the famous gates outside the stadium’s main entrance. The corresponding hashtag, #TheLaneTheFinale, was used 148,000 times on Twitter prior to, during and after the final match.
The campaign was a collaboration between the marketing and communications teams at the Club to ensure fans felt a sense of ownership and involvement with the occasion. A variety of fan engagement initiatives were activated including special stadium tours, party packs and competitions, plus a special website that contained memories submitted by fans.
The use of content through social, web and video played a leading role in the ongoing engagement with our fans, whilst the Finale ceremony delighted 32,000 fans inside the stadium plus an additional 5.6 million watching at home through the Club’s Facebook Live channel.