Recent Question/Assignment

Fan Engagement
Johan Cruyff Institute
Proposal for: Major European Football Club
The Johan Cruyff Institute and Football Consultancy has been approached by a major European football team who will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in August 2021.
A pitch has been issued to a range of sports marketing agencies, football consultants and sports managers around the world to develop a plan to celebrate this famous mile stone in the club’s illustrious history. They are already domestic champions 20 times, winners of the Champions League on three occasions and are the beating heart of a city of 5 million inhabitants.
Being a football club and winning on the pitch is important but the role of the 21st century football club goes beyond the football pitch. Technology, passionate fans, demanding stakeholders and the desire to make a contribution to the next generation is something all football clubs are dealing with.
Achieving success off the pitch is as much dependent upon the fans, supporters, sponsor and community as the players.
Individually, you have been tasked to develop a strategic plan that will optimize fan engagement for the football club. But, the football club are looking to capitalize on this moment in the club’s history that will re-define the club’s ambition, purpose and legacy for the next 100 years.
Key objectives include:
1. Grow the club fan base by 100,000 ‘engaged fans’ each year
2. Generate 10% additional revenue which would be €50 million per year
3. Donate €25 million to educational, community, social and innovative business development projects for the city and surrounding region.
The European economy is ‘cooling down’ and the size of the broadcast deals for domestic and European football has levelled off. Clubs cannot expect to earn 50% of their future revenue from broadcast deals. Equally, sponsorship deals are only growing at 5% per year and the stadium of this club was recently expanded to 75,000 and there is no space to grow further. A new kit supplier deal with Nike has secure a fee of £50 million per year for the next five years.
The real growth in commercial terms needs to be generated from the international ‘fan base’ of 20 million (according to latest estimates from Nielsen Sports). The key overseas markets include: the USA (500,000), South Korea (1.5 million), Brazil (1 million) and India (2 million). Rest of the world in 60 countries contains the other 15 million.
At present, there is no women’s professional team but there is a Women’s Super League in this country with a total of 11 other club teams participating.
This is a football club that was founded in an industrial region where football was originally for the working classes. Many of the successful players grew-up in the region and played for the club for their whole careers. As a result there is a real sense of pride, no nonsense, teamwork, work hard and play hard mentality. Unity, equality and respect for each other are values that are reflected in a broad family fan base, young and old, teachers, nurses, students, investors and politicians all stand side by side on the stands.
The team has one of the best football academies in Europe and players rarely leave the academy for another club until they have played in the first team. Loyalty is a value that is part of their DNA.
Fans and followers who believe there is ‘life beyond football’ and those who want to leave a legacy for the next generation of players, trainers, supporters, friends and the local community.
The 16 to 24 age group is an influential group in terms of promoting the football club but not the group with the highest disposable income. The 25 to 49 year old group is an important group to mobilize through fan engagement activities.
Whilst there is an active business club of 5,000 members the majority are from small or medium sized business. The stadium does contain 50 Skyboxes (from 10 to 50 persons capacity) but these are not sold out and currently do not attract international companies due to the historical status as a manufacturing city. (There is an airport only 15 km from the football club and there are good motorway and public transport facilities to and from the stadium to the airport and city.)
The football club is a consistent performer on the football pitch competing each year for the domestic league and qualifying for the Champions League. It would be possible to continue on the same trajectory but the club feels it can play a greater role in society.
Without the support of key stakeholders to activate and engage the domestic and international fans, supporters and followers, it will not be possible optimize the potential of the club and create a win-win for all parties.
To show leadership, breaking the mould, adding new elements to the brand identity such as innovation, cultural diversity, educating the next generation of leaders in sport, business and society.
Showcase the brand to attract more partners and investors to fund projects that will leave a legacy for future generations.
There is a €3,000,000 seed budget to develop a fan engagement plan each year for the first 3 years from the football club
The football club has 600,000 GDPR approved registered fans in the club Database from the domestic market and 2 million email addresses from overseas fans subscribing to newsletters and football content.
Social media: FB 3 million, Twitter 1 million, Instagram 1.5 million
Business Club: 5,000 members with 200,000 employees in total
There is no time for meeting with the client, Football Club, so each JCI team will need to make assumptions about the most suitable timing, venues, fan engagement activities, number of events/activities, type of sponsors / partners involved
The brand values of the Football Club need to be used as the foundation of the concept, strategy and all the fan engagement activities.
There is no limit to your imagination in terms of concept development and ideas

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