'Increase value and interaction' as key takeaways of Jupiler League regional workshop sessions
On 27-28 March, the Jupiler League, the 2nd division in the Netherlands, organised regional sessions with their clubs to exchange best practices on commercial exploitation. Every session welcomed 5 to 6 clubs creating an ideal scene for in-depth discussions and open communication.
The sessions took place on 3 locations:
- Goffertstadion – Nijmegen
- Mandemakers Stadion – Waalwijk
- Kras Stadon – Volendam
ESSMA gave an overview of European examples on how stadium operations can be improved. The main focus was on initiatives to augment fan interaction, trends in hospitality, partner activation initiatives and multifunctional usage of the venue.
Throughout the different sessions it became clear that Jupiler League clubs are focusing on personal contact with business club members, acting as network facilitators and making the most out of every partnership. To do so, clubs have created original concepts providing more than just visibility to partners and sponsors.
As a next challenge, clubs are looking into initiatives to further extend the overall experience by not only focusing on 2 times 45 minutes of football. For example, RKC Waalwijk is organizing a Boxing Tournament with sponsors, local celebrities and other club representatives. After a successful first edition, the club will organize their next edition on the 14th of June.
Nowadays, partners are looking to create a social returnthrough the partnership with the club. FC Emmen has been playing in their stadium since 1977 with different naming right sponsors as from 2001. However, the initial name, ‘De Oude Meerdijk’, still had a very strong emotional connection for the fans. Rabobank, one of the biggest banks in the Netherlands, were looking for a way to support FC Emmen beyond the classic visibility. The club suggested to set up a campaign in which Rabobank gave back the original name of the stadium instead of naming the stadium the ‘Rabobank Stadium’. Both media and fans reacted extremely positive.
Bottom line, there were 4 general takeaways taken out of the sessions:
- Partners and sponsors are valuable ambassadors of the club, it’s important to give them the right tools and framework to present the club to other potential partners
- Have a segmented approach, focus on the demand of the partner and take into consideration the CSR role companies want to fulfil
- Broaden the matchday experience, organise non-football events both inside and outside the stadium
- Clubs are more and more turning into platforms, providing the right network for partners. Technology (advanced CRM, digitalisation, mobile applications) can contribute to even more effective networking