Clubs in times of COVID-19: community support and adapted online strategies set the tone

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, European clubs and stadiums have been adapting an agile approach to support their community, to create awareness and to maintain a close relationship with their fans.

Research over our members shows five different actions that are setting the tone:

1. Create a unique hashtag

Lots of clubs are sharing dedicated hashtags (with or without club slogans) through social media posts with several call to actions:

  • To urge their fans to stay at home 

    • Arsenal FC with the hashtag #StayAtHomeSaveLives

  • To show and spread the word that we are all in this together 

    • PSV supports its fans through #PSVwestandtogether

    • While NAC Breda created the #NACvoorelkaar hashtag

  • To support the community by offering help

    • With #BorussiaVerbindet Borussia Dortmund is communicating towards its fans

2. Stay in touch with the fans

As competitions are suspended until further notice, clubs are looking for alternative solutions to connect with their fans and to keep them entertained, often through online challenges

The most popular challenge so far is the toilet paper challenge where the goal is to juggle as many times as possible with a roll of toilet paper.

In addition, clubs are also trying to keep their fans active and fit through home challenges and work-out sessions. FC Porto for example has launched the #DFHomeChallenge with which young fans can train their skills and are encouraged to share their session.

3. Call to action to support the community

Furthermore, clubs are urging their fans to take care of their community and neighbors by launching campaigns to help others and volunteer if you’re still healthy.

Some examples:

  • FC Utrecht launched ‘FC Utrecht helpt’, a platform where both volunteers and people in need of help sign up to help each other.

  • Together with the city of Wolfsburg and Stadtjugendring Wolfsburg, VfL Wolfsburg started a similar project - named Wir Helfen - for citizens in need.

  • Royal Antwerp FC called upon its fans to donate their protective face masks to hospitals and care centers in need.

4. Using the stadium facilities to create a temporary field hospital

A more comprehensive and complex initiative is offering your stadium facilities and turning it into a temporary field hospitality.

FC Porto is opening up its Estádio do Dragão to support the medical community in either creating a field hospital or to offer a resting area for medical staff. 

In addition, PSV offered its facilities as well to the city of Eindhoven if needed. 

5. Donating money to health organisations and foundations

Several clubs including Inter Milan and Olympique de Lyonnais are donating a significant amount of money to organisations researching COVID-19 and to support local health organisations.

Read more on initiatives from our ESSMA Stadium & Corporate Partners

In addition, ESSMA is launching its first webinar on 23 April. Francesco Gianello, Head of Allianz Stadium, will share some personal experiences from the first row, regarding the road to lockdown, handling facilities during lockdown, and the strategy toward reopening.

Join our webinar