I agree with Philip Buxton’s article Net Payers (MW May 6) that football clubs must look for alternative revenue streams to sustain financial growth. However, I do believe he has missed an important sector to enhance growth: the database.
Recently, Chelsea FC and The Daily Telegraph set up a lifestyle questionnaire that was sent out to 650,000 people. Most were based in the London region, but many were also supporters who had expressed an interest in the club but who were based outside the catchment area.
The survey captured lifestyle information about the fans and directly asked them for their view on key strategies. The Telegraph, with its extensive football fan database, was able to find a large percentage of people that Chelsea was unaware of.
This information has meant that Chelsea is now well-equipped to move in new directions, and has a strong database from which to exploit new initiatives. The data that is captured will be used to find affinity partners and will take away a great deal of the risk that is often associated with launching a new line or product.
It should be a lesson that all football clubs and even the Football Association should sit up and listen. This survey can be replicated with every football club and could be used for the national team as well. Opening cafés in existing catchment areas is certainly a good way of attracting existing fans but finding out about lifestyle habits and trends of your supporters will mean that these people may be more marketable than you think.
Business development manager