Six Steps to Attracting 18, 000 Spectators to Your Next Football Match – SPORT MARKETING SOLUTIONS FOR NPFL

Is it time to give up on the league? Spectators’ attendance declined further by 30% among Nigeria Premier League matches this year. Spectators aren’t showing up to see the games and it look like 22 miserable players are just on the pitch tossing the ball around for themselves. It can be really funny because we all know a football match is nothing without spectators. So what are you going to do? Are you going to back off?

Let me rattle you a little. A recent study found that any genuine football match, no matter how badly played, can attract more than capacity crowd to the venue; that’s if the right sport marketing knowledge is applied.

The fundamental thing really is to ensure the match is scheduled at the right place and the right time. For instance, while resident in Ajegunle year ago, a small ghetto town in Lagos Nigeria, I recalled that large number of young men usually come out of their apartment on the monthly sanitation morning just to watch kids (under 12 years ago) play football match on the street. And we all stand by the corner supporting our street kids.

On sanitation day people stay at home till 10am. There’s usually no movement and we didn’t need to go to any distant field to see the kids play.

Research has shown that venue closer to the target market get higher attendance. Weekend (Saturday or Sunday), may be the best for working class or business people in Nigeria who can afford to pay the gate fee for the match.

Ok, some matches are played in an open venue and may not require gate fees. But there are two cardinal sins that can out rightly stop spectators from attending a football match; and I should warn you ahead of time.

Don’t Fix A Match:  The beauty of football, I guess in most sports, is in the unpredictable nature of the game. The mystery of who is going to win the match is what propels spectators to come and see. Once they sense any form of ‘match fixing,’ you may never see them again. You should understand that match fixing is the worst sin against football.’

Provide Assurance for Security:  Insecurity is a lesser sin than match fixing. Spectators in the city of Kano still defiled all the terrorist bombings and are still flooding the Sani Abacha stadium every other week to see Kano Pillars play.

However, Adequate security is to be provided and assurance given to your potential spectators, to take away fear from their minds.

Having made the above points clear, let me go ahead to reveal the six steps you can take to attract 18, 000 spectators to the venue of your next match.

Why 18, 000 spectators, you may ask?
Well the average size of stadia in Nigeria are between 18, 000 – 25, 000 capacity. And I am thinking you can attract a minimum full capacity in your next match.

What are the six steps?

Identify Your Potential Spectators: Your possible spectators are football lovers who may be connected to the match in some ways. For instance, the home club may belong to the city or school; it may be that a home boy or a friend plays for any of the teams. Perhaps, people in your area like the quality or style of the football the team plays.

Identify where these possible spectators cluster. Most fans of Enyimba FC are traders in Ariaria market Aba. The spectators may cluster in a location or a media channel such as a radio station or a sport Newspaper.

Use the Right Promotional Medium to Reach The Spectators:  Spectators may not come to watch your match except you persuade them. It doesn’t necessary have to be through expensive media platforms such as TV and Radio. For instance, while in Owerri years back, the Sport Council Van usually drive around the city and neighboring villages on match day, Persuading spectators to come in the evening to watch Iwuanyawu Nationale’s match.

Today, bulk SMS could do a lot of wonders. Just make sure you promote the match to about 50, 000 potential spectators, if you are expecting 18, 000 to attend.

Use Attractive Pricing Strategy to Lure the Spectators: Consider ability and willingness to pay when planning your pricing strategy. Provide exclusivity for VIP tickets, then lower the ticket price for Popular side. Also informally let the less privileged ones know they could pay half the price to see second half of the match. Less passionate spectators may prefer to watch only second half. They believe this is when the game gets more interesting.

Promote the Stars on Parade: Stars attract spectators. Let the potential spectators know about all the star players and coaches that will be on the pitch for the epic match.

Possibly get some of the stars to make public statements of how they will perform or speak rashly against the opponent team. Such statement of challenge has a way of propelling spectators to attend classic matches.

Promise Extra Incentive for Attendees: Your match may have been scheduled with some EPL games on TV or some other entertainment program in the city. You have to promise something extra to lure spectators to prefer your match. There are different ways you could do this. You could promise free soft drinks or coffee at half time. You could promote discount prices for sponsor’s products purchased inside the venue during the match.

Some price sensitive spectators may want to take advantage of that ‘to kill two birds with one stone’ – watch the match and purchase products at cheap price.

Promote Other Performances for Half time: Imagine getting 2face to perform at half time, which alone could attract a mammoth crowd. Let your potential spectators know of the great entertainment designated during the match.

You can creat fans exhibition hall inside the stadium, where spectators may have the chance to meet one=on-one with ex-star players of the club.

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