Fan activation at Schalke 04 from an SLO perspective
Thomas Kirschner - Head of Fans & Tradition at Schalke 04 - explained which activities and projects the club has implemented to maintain a strong relationship with their fans. In total, Schalke 04 has over 160,000 members, 900 different fan clubs and an average stadium attendance of 61,197.
Schalke 04’s department of Fans & Services focuses on three main categories to connect with their fans:
- Information: using different channels to inform fans and get in touch with them
- Interaction: using the pre-season to create and maintain a strong relationship with fans
- Involvement using the knowledge of your fan base and find common projects
It is important to keep your fans up to date and share your latest updates with them. A brief overview of several projects which have been implemented at Schalke 04:
- WhatsApp newsletter with around 4,000 fans where they receive matchday-related updates (in general, fans who regularly join away matches)
- SLO news e.g. interviews during half-time with information about away matches, events,...
- Members corner: the main goal is not to promote the club but to offer fans the possibility to ask questions and meet with other fans e.g. with ambassadors from different German regions
- Away fans: also provide the visiting fans as much information as possible e.g. in the away section there are screens with information regarding attendance, previous matches, how to exit the stadium, feedback,..
“It is also important to offer fans of visiting clubs with accurate information and to create a pleasant environment for them to experience the match.”
An excellent example of pre-season interaction is the club’s efforts during their training camps. In summer over 1,500 fans travel together with the club to watch the training sessions, while in winter 300 to 400 fans join.
During the training camps, Schalke 04 interacts with their fans via:
- Players night: autographs, photos, meet & greet,...
- Club magazine: Schalker Kreisel, dedicated to the training camp
- Other activities including pub quiz, movie evening, e-bike tour,...
- Meet the manager: to answer questions, receive feedback, a face-to-face contact,...
“It is part of the tradition of the club to make time for their fans, also during training camps.”
The club created an annual conference to discuss and share ideas with fans. The main topic of last year’s edition focused on welcoming fans in the stadium including disabled fans and visiting supporters. Different stakeholders were involvement in the conference including Schalke 04, supporters (from different fan clubs and disabled fans but excluding ultras) and police. As an outcome of the conference, several projects have been implemented e.g. an F&B truck for away fans outside the stadium, implementation of a working group regarding parking solutions and a video for disabled fans on how to access the stadium. Overall, it is important for Schalke 04 to create a dialogue with their fans.
What can we learn from Thomas Kirschner's presentation:
- Inform your fans not only via social media channels but for example also via WhatsApp
- Don’t forget to interact and inform with visiting fans and offer them a similar experience your fans expect during away matches
- Constantly involve your fans and keep them updated for example during away matches and on training camps
- Make sure you listen to your fans and provide them with opportunities to discuss certain topics
- Importance of dialogue with your fans
- Include all stakeholders and let them discuss topics together
Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.