Matchday Experience: Are Clubs Doing Enough?

Matchdays provide immense value for fans and giving them a good stadium experience remains an area that many clubs still need to focus on
by Anil Kadiyala   |   Wednesday, September 11, 2013

#FootyBiz - column on international football business, soccer marketing and finance.

Watching football matches at stadiums is the closest a fan could get to their football club. Not even the modern day technology or social media can replicate this experience. Irrespective of the progress a club hopes to make through other means, matchday should remain top priority.

However there is growing concern with regards to decline in matchday attendance, with the major worry being inflated ticket prices are driving fans away from attending games. There is wide speculation that clubs with large global presences are driving away certain sections of fans that financially cannot afford to make it to the stadium.

While there are other clubs who fail to attract a packed crowd, some fans feel it is not worth spending so much to go to the stadium. This is prompting fans to opt for other means of watching the game i.e., via television, free web streaming and at pubs.

Fans have to plan well in advance to attend football games. This might be due to their limited spending spree or travel constraints or both. This begs the question: Do football clubs try to figure out the common problems fans face in getting to the stadiums and more importantly do they make effort to ease these constraints?

While football clubs across the globe are far from adopting the German model, it is important for them to ensure fans are being looked after.

Adding ‘Value’ to matchday experience

Teams cannot guarantee a win all the time, but the experience of being at the stadium is what fans take back. Whether it is going to be a good or bad experience is surely in the hands of the club. So what can teams do to ensure fans feel worthy of every penny they spend in watching a game?

The most important aspect in adding value to their experience is in offering them something that goes beyond 90 minutes. Give them another reason for coming to the stadium. It could be a music concert, a play zone within the stadium or competitions for fans on matchdays. The ideas could be limited only by one's imagination.

Introduction of WiFi in stadiums is being looked as a positive move and a luxury for fans, but critics would argue that clubs could offer something more valuable and something that is more of a necessity for fans.

The priority for a club should also be in ensuring that fans come to the stadium well before kick-off and are not hesitant on staying back after the game for more entertainment. The idea is in increasing the net time spent at the stadium and in offering various sources of interaction. Don’t let the spectators be mere spectators. 

Anil KADIYALA

Nationality:
India
College:
Robert Gordon Univ.
Club Domestic:
Club Foreign:
Liverpool FC
A sports enthusiast and a soccer freak who previously worked in various sectors outside sports but eventually had to respond to the love of his life and at present working as a sports marketing professional.
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