Are you making the most of matchday?
Selling tickets is an obvious revenue stream for grassroots football clubs. But it’s so easy to rely on the same tactics week in, week out to drive attendance.
To help you supercharge your ticket sales, encourage more spending by fans on the day, AND keep people coming back to your matches, we spoke to Kevin Miller, Vice-Chair and Commercial Manager at Whitehawk Football Club (Kevin also happens to be one of our very knowledgeable sales consultants).
Whitehawk FC has a very high standing in the local community. The club often supports local organisations like The Whitehawk Foodbank, as well as national charities. In 2021, fans even wrote a musical based on experiences of life at the club. In return, the beloved club has a strong fanbase, with dedicated supporters returning to buy tickets each season.
Here are Kevin’s tactics for maximising matchday revenue:
#1 Pop up posters around the area
Ask volunteers to distribute posters in local shops. This is also an excellent opportunity to build relationships with local graphic design students – invite them to design posters in exchange for tickets.
#2 Give free tickets to schools
Approach primary schools and let them know under 12s can get in free to matches. The deal can be extended to parents by offering 50% off, for example. Go to the school direct, as they will likely help with the promotion.
#3 Offer mascot packages
When approaching schools, you could also offer mascot packages. For example, recruit 11 mascots, with the children paying to be a mascot but at a reduced rate. As well as bringing parents to matches, the children are likely to invite their friends along too.
#4 2-for-1 deal
Reckon it’s counterintuitive to offer free tickets when you want to increase revenue? Think again. The more people at the grounds on the day means more revenue from things other than tickets. More on this later in the list.
#5 Reach out to the older generation
Speak to local care homes and pensioners within your community and offer them discounts. Call them ‘legends’ and make them feel like VIPs on matchday.
#6 Invite grooms and brides to be
Promote your club to stag and hen party groups. Offer a package that includes a match ticket, a mascot for the stag/hen and a free burger or drink.
#7 Showcase local breweries
Invite local breweries to bring in their beers and offer samples. Reiterate to fans that they can enjoy a drink on the terraces (unlike at all higher-level football matches where they have to drink in the concourse).
#8 Serve local food alongside those pints
Similar to the above, invite local food providers like burger/pizza vans, bakeries etc. This helps create a strong community spirit as you’re encouraging fans to shop local.
#9 Get students involved with matchday reporting
Contact media departments at universities and offer journalism students the chance to write match reports, take photos and get involved with social media. This gives the students practical experience while driving awareness of your club.
This is also a great opportunity to reach a new demographic, as those students are likely to bring friends along to matches.
#10 Help with transport
No universities in your local area? No problem. Reach out to universities further afield and offer transport/coaches as part of the ticket price to take them to and from the game. You could even get the coach sponsored by a local company that is also helping within their local community.
#11 Put on live music
Invite local bands to perform in the clubhouse or outside (weather permitting). Live music before matches is a fun way to drum up an atmosphere, and makes great content for social media. The bands will bring in their own fans too.
Similar to inviting journalism students, you could also speak to local music schools/colleges and invite their students to perform.
#12 Put on half-time entertainment
Have local children’s dance groups perform at half-time. This turns a match into a really special event, and helps the community feel part of the club. And let’s not forget the ripple effect of kids being involved as parents will attend too.
#13 Support local charities
Invite local charities to come in on matchdays for bucket and leaflet drops. Some clubs will have a nominated charity of the season. Again, this forges great links with the local community and generates goodwill.
#14 Get creative with exhibition
Turn your clubhouse into an event space on matchday. Hosting an art exhibition gives your fans something a bit different, plus you’re supporting local artists in the community.
#15 Open a pop-up club shop
A club shop on matchday could be as simple as a table. Pin badges, posters, hats, scarves and gloves, t-shirts, whistles – all these things are additional sources of revenue, and gives fans the chance to give back to your club while showing their support.
#16 Keep the party going
Host a quiz or PlayStation night after the game. This encourages fans to stay longer and spend more money on food and drink. Postmatch events could also be ticketed, adding yet another revenue stream on matchday.
#17 Set up a community day
Work with local community groups to create a day of fun, for example, with face painting, balloons, local stalls etc. Get the council involved by talking about initiatives they might want to promote in the community.
#18 Make the most of your programme
Invite local businesses, people or events to be featured in your programme. Advertising space is also a smart option to boost revenue.
#19 Go digital
There has been a shift towards having digital programmes, which saves on costs as printed programmes can go to waste, and you can reach more people. Digital programmes also give you a chance to have more dynamic features like videos.
Bear in mind what your fans want, however. There is a tradition of paper programmes, and older fans might still want something tangible.
A big thank you to Kevin for sharing these top tips. If you have ideas for maximising matchday revenue, share them with us in the LoveFootball Community Group on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of JJ Waller.
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