Stoke City FC: Staying connected through COVID-19 pandemic
At first, Stoke City FC was involved in various actions supporting the community. For instance, club staff and players gave part of their salary to local food bank. Stoke City also automatically and quickly refunded the remaining part of the season tickets ’19 – ’20 to give some financial relief to supporters in need. Aside this very visible initiatives, Club staff and players began to reach out to supporters and the supporters council became an important instrument to organize and structure interaction.
How to organise the limited return of fans to the stands?
Once the possibility arose to welcome back 25% of capacity, the question at hand was how to decide who got the opportunity to buy tickets. The majority of Premier League clubs opted for a ballot, a lottery that decided who were the happy few amongst existing season ticket holders.
Extensive consultation with supporters led to another approach: two 11-game season tickets.
The supporter design model resulted in two season tickets, a red one and a white one. That way, you knew in advance with matches where yours to see live and you could make your own choice between two packages of matches. The initiative was highly appreciated by fans and national fan body. Unfortunately, the idea had not been implemented, due to the second lockdown. Nevertheless, the initiative of extensive supporter consultation in matters relevant to them is most definitely a learning that will be maintained in the future!