Winning new fans and increasing revenue
How can sports clubs attract a young audience and convert them into fans without losing the fans they already have?
When we recently gathered James Smethurst (Marketing Manager at Caldy RFC) and Jamie Griffiths (General Manager at Hereford FC) on a webinar hosted by our very own Alex Eagle, Sales Development Manager at TicketCo UK & Ireland, that was the premise of the conversation.
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing, sports clubs often find themselves facing the challenge of keeping up with the changing times. The shopping habits of the younger generations differ immensely from the older generations. Adequate payment methods for today’s fans are not necessarily suitable for the next generation, and alternative forms of payments such as subscriptions may be necessary to win new fans and increase revenue.
Here are some takeaways from the conversation:
One of the key topics was the shift towards digital ticketing and the adoption of a subscription model. James Smethurst, marketing manager at Caldy RFC, shared his insights into the reasons behind their decision to introduce subscriptions. He highlighted the need for greater control and visibility over payments, especially when dealing with a large number of participants in various club activities.
Previously, the club relied on direct debits and standing orders, which made tracking payments a daunting task. The subscription model offers a solution by providing accurate reports and enabling proactive communication with members who haven’t yet set up their subscriptions. It not only simplifies the process for the club but also empowers volunteers to focus on other important tasks.
Convincing older members
The webinar also touched upon the challenges faced in convincing older members to embrace digital platforms. Smethurst acknowledged the initial resistance but emphasised the importance of gradually introducing the concept and showcasing its benefits. By offering incentives and demonstrating the ease and convenience of digital ticketing, the club managed to win over a significant portion of their audience. The transition from physical membership cards to digital versions further exemplified their commitment to embracing technology. The process wasn't without its hurdles, but with time and persistence, Caldy RFC has successfully navigated the path towards digital transformation.
Another aspect discussed during the webinar was the impact of digital innovation on the matchday experience. Jamie Griffins, the general manager at Hereford Football Club, joined the conversation to provide insights from his own club's perspective. He highlighted the importance of simplifying processes to free up time for volunteers and enhance fan engagement.
By moving towards digital programs and online ticket purchases, Hereford FC was able to streamline operations and open up new revenue streams. The transition wasn't without its challenges, but the majority of fans embraced the change, recognising the benefits of convenience and accessibility.
The conversation also delved into the broader implications of digital transformation within the sports industry. Both Smethurst and Griffins acknowledged that sports clubs tend to be conservative when it comes to adopting new technologies. However, they emphasised the need to keep up with the times and harness the power of data-driven insights.
The subscription model and digital ticketing not only simplify operations but also provide valuable data that can be utilised to enhance fan experiences and make informed decisions.
Staying ahead of the curve
The webinar also touched upon the club's commitment to innovation and their willingness to embrace change. By leveraging digital technology, they have not only streamlined their processes but also improved communication with their members and fans. The success stories emerging from their early adoption of digital solutions are a testament to the benefits of taking calculated risks and staying ahead of the curve.
In conclusion, the webinar highlighted the transformative power of digital innovation in the world of sports. By embracing technology, the Caldy RFC and Hereford FC have not only improved efficiency and engagement but also paved the way for a more sustainable future. The journey towards digital transformation may have had its challenges, but the rewards have been significant.
As the sports industry continues to evolve, it is crucial for clubs to adapt and leverage emerging technologies to stay relevant and thrive in the ever-changing landscape.