How are PSV, VfL Wolfsburg and Royal Antwerp FC responding to the COVID-19 crisis and how has it impacted their daily operations?
Joeri Verbossen (PSV), Sven Froberg (VfL Wolfsburg) and Dimitri Huygen (Royal Antwerp FC) shared their experiences and learnings on which impact COVID-19 is having on the daily operations at their respective clubs.
The community aspect and social role clubs are representing is a very important factor, which can be seen in the different social initiatives clubs are launching and offering to the community.
PSV created the #psvwestandtogether platform, which is a large-scale community platform on which the club is sharing challenges, creating day-to-day content, the possibility to send PSV-branded (physical) greeting cards as well as a supply and demand form for those in need.
Sven Froberg from VfL Wolfsburg highlighted an important aspect of community work and current initiatives:
"The club does not communicate all activities and measures, as it is always important to remain authentic. In addition, not every donor or helper in the club wants to be mentioned or is doing it for PR reasons."
However, the VfL Wolfsburg’s “we help” initiative (together with the city of Wolfsburg), has been well received by fans. They have set up a daily service hotline where Wolfsburg citizens can contact the club in need. With a donation account they are guaranteeing the help which is needed directly.
At Royal Antwerp FC, they are focusing on three pillars:
Raising awareness regarding COVID-19 from a social perspective
Informing their target group regarding #OneRedFamiliy where they have gathered all its initiatives
Activating and interacting with their fans through challenges, games, etc.
Which projects are accelerating?
At Royal Antwerp FC they have expedited the process of moving all their season ticket holders from their old stand 2 to their new area in the stadium “Tribune 4’. Furthermore, they are intensifying their B2B campaign and preparing the upcoming 2020/21 season.
“After all, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. We can take a head start with all the work we can already take care of.”
Dimitri Huygen, Business & Communication Manager at Royal Antwerp FC
Secondly, one of the project which is accelerating at VfL Wolfsburg in their social initiative “We move together”. During the “we move together” day, around 100 employees work together in community-related projects.
Lastly, Joeri Verbossen from PSV mentioned that they are currently working on projects which they haven’t had time for in the past months such as a potential loyalty programme.
“The operational work is essentially divided into two core areas. On the one hand, the operational day-to-day business, in which we assume social responsibility, but of course also secure existing sponsorship partnerships, for example through small video stories or e-sports events, and thus achieve digital reach and produce content. On the other hand, we are now working very conceptually towards the future and are planning topics / events for the time after Corona.”
Sven Froberg, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications at VfL Wolfsburg
An unanimous response from all clubs is the rapid adaptation regarding teleworking and learnings regarding digital business methods. Of course, it has pros and cons but as clubs were forced to make the switch, given the circumstances, it’s all running smoothly. Even though, a personal and real-life connection with colleagues is being missed.
Revenue loss and uncertainty
As all competitions are currently put on hold, this of course has an effect on the revenue streams of all clubs. Not only the lack of matchday revenue such as F&B and ticketing but also the fact that fixed costs such as facilities and staff remain.
Furthermore, as the national competitions still need to decide whether to finish the 2019/20 season and under which circumstances, this leaves clubs with a lot of uncertainties as they need to be ready to finish or close the season.