Die-hard fans are an under-explored resource, reveals Go Inspire Group

Research on the EFL leagues 1 & 2 show that 51% of the nation is either “interested” or “very interested” in football, so Go Inspire Group decided to analyse whether the potential of this enthusiasm is being suitably leveraged. In fact, while the nation’s engagement with football is astounding, there is strong evidence that the commercial relationship with football fans is still greatly under-explored in the two lower leagues.

Major sponsor funding is clearly important to a club’s success, but over-reliance on a commercial sponsor is a fragile basis for long-term financial planning. Media-neutral Go Inspire Group conducted research to examine the value of other revenues, such as merchandising or events. The analysis applied models based on best practice marketing standards in fan management, specifically through three key revenue streams: reactivation of lapsed fans; retention of current fans; and an additional revenue stream generated through fan base rewards schemes. Based on a sample of over 11,000 fans from teams in Leagues 1 & 2, Go Inspire was able to estimate the untapped revenue potential from existing fans in the two leagues.

The results of the research note conservatively estimate that:

· the value of untapped revenue for Leagues 1 & 2 amounts to just over £11 million per year;

· this is equivalent to an average of £230,000 per club per year;

· in other words, each football club could be missing out on a significant £1.2 million over a five-year period if they do not explore the potential of their existing fan database.

These substantial revenues may only represent a proportion of a club’s financial requirements but can still make a significant contribution to healthy operating finances in the two lower leagues. To access this additional revenue, however, clubs need to ensure they have a clean and compliant database of fans. This database provides the lynchpin for understanding the fans, their revenue potential, their levels of interest and engagement, as well as helping to define right format and right time communications that are tailored to the fan.

Specifically, in a market that is so emotionally charged, clubs should be focusing on recognising and rewarding loyalty through invitations to special events or extra content from players. Finally, a key part of the personalisation effort should focus on identifying media preferences based on objective analysis of data and behaviours to achieve optimal response rates.

Patrick Headley, CEO at Go Inspire Group, comments: “Our research shows that there is a significant amount of untapped revenue which football marketers can retrieve simply by engaging with their existing fan base in a media-neutral fashion.

“New communication channels are providing fans with a plethora of new ways to stay engaged with their teams while providing valuable revenue for football clubs. This research shows that the value of fan base marketing should not be ignored by savvy marketers wishing to diversify their revenue streams and become more financially sustainable.”

This story was provided by Go Inspire Group

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