Friday 17 June 2011

Can Swansea City be Premier League off the pitch too?

Today saw the publication of football fixtures for next season and so the excitement from Swansea’s play-off victory is ratcheted up another notch as fans (including myself) start to pencil in visits to Eastlands first then the Emirates, Stamford Bridge and beyond.

With the riches that accompany the Premier League comes a greatly increased profile and an opportunity to maximise off-field earnings as well as those from TV and gate receipts.

This isn’t about bleeding supporters dry, it’s about engaging with supporters through the means of targeted and relevant content (both Online and Offline). Although it feels like treason to say it, I don’t think Swansea have done great things on this front so far.

Regardless of what’s been going on this season, the only contact has been a weekly email every Friday afternoon which has a couple of one line teasers to content on the website with the rest of it being advertisements.

It could be argued that the aim of a newsletter is to drive people to the website and so content in the newsletter isn’t crucial. Unfortunately, in my opinion the content in the newsletter is so bland that I rarely bother opening them as I know that I’m better off just looking at the website directly now and again (I’m sure in plenty of cases however people will neither open the email or visit the website).

For successful off-field business, a club needs to be able to identify who is doing what with them. The obvious starting point are Season Ticket holders, but then beyond that there’s everyone who subscribes to the email newsletter, everyone who buys Match Day tickets (both Home and Away), Club Shop sales etc.,

One example of where this may have helped is after sealing promotion they announced the sale of a final batch of 2,000 Season Tickets. Rather than being able to determine those who may be more deserving of the opportunity of buying these tickets, it was announced on a Thursday afternoon that they were going on-sale at the club ticket office at 10 a.m. the next day, in-person sales only.

This meant that those season tickets just went to the first people who could get down to the ticket office and didn’t have to worry about work the next day. Some would say that real fans would have bought their Season Tickets already but there will be others who would argue they have been forced out by those jumping on the bandwagon.

It doesn’t have to be like this though, by combining all customer interactions you can then have a more solid understanding of:
• Who your key supporters are
• Who to target to try and increase their interaction with the club
• Delivering different offers/communications for different segments e.g., Those who bring children to the game, those who travel to away games, exile fans etc.,

This approach could be a cost effective strategy for a non-league team let alone a Premier League side but all too often is overlooked as it’s too far removed from the day to day running of a football club but is about:

• Capturing data
• Consolidating data into a single area
• Analysing the data to gain insights on activity

Which of course is where we come in, so if there’s any football clubs out there who are looking to get more from their data then get in touch.

Dan Barnett

Director of Analytics


  1. Well, as you say, it does not sound a Premiership club yet but Rome was not built in a day. If you want details of a club that does engage with its supporters ad is prepared to try new ideas, I'd suggest you speak to Mark Catln the Commercial Director at Bury FC. He's been there 18 months and really spruced up that side of the club. Impressive. Last season I visited all 92 clubs and it was fascinating to see the differences between the different set-ups. (On that score 9/10 to Swansea, thanks)

  2. Dan,

    I know that the club want to do more for sure off the field but the blog above is not strictly correct.

    The email you see above is one that is sent out automatically and is the same for all league clubs.

    The club do have their own database which they send a number of communications to. See the examples below

    This goes out to an ever growing database of users but the club are working to allow more to be added to this.

    They are also working hard on profiling their data to communicate different offers to the right people



  3. James, it’s a fair point to make that I’m not aware of all communications that Swansea send out.

    It does for me however highlight where I think Swansea have been missing a trick in that there are probably plenty of people like me who get the standard email, visit the website and have used the club shop/ticket office but who don’t get these other communications.

    As the first poster says, Rome wasn’t built in a day and they are getting it right in the most important area which is on the field.

    This season offers huge opportunity and I hope they make the most of keeping supporters engaged.