Sunderland Football Club wanted to demonstrate full engagement and support to underpin their financial and planning situation.
The move away from their existing site had become controversial, but to secure their future the Club needed available funding and land to draw down for development. They importantly they needed political support and they needed to demonstrate support.
Its slightly intimidating to ask your customer base if they want to put their Club into debt for a new stadium, at a time when results are particularly poor on the pitch
Thus when we were instructed by Sunderland FC to engage with all their fans including hostile lobbying groups we suspected that it would test the established principles of EUX
Sunderland wanted to move from Roker Park their home for 99 years to a new all seat purpose built stadium.
The old stadium was deemed unsafe and as a consequence capacity was being reduced each year. At one time Roker held 75,000, but that had dwindled to 22,000 – many supporters felt it mirrored the Clubs decline. A new stadium would halt this –but not everybody agreed.
We used our established principles of engagement UX EUX to break down the components and manage the problems out. Sunderland’s data was primitive and we had to deal with this situation.
We used the club membership, gold card membership, ticketing data and basic location and profile information We also identified all the hotspots which would cause us problems, and who might involve themselves in this space. This strategy demand you engage completely and is over whelming if you don’t do it regularly.
We agreed with the Board that the visibility of Engagement would be their greatest Public Relations asset and we should have direction over this. We didn’t want the work-stream to be channelled into fans forum platforms and other lower shelf items.
The £24million stadium of Light is the 8th largest stadium in the UK with a capacity just shot of 50,000. Since opening it has always had the ability to be increased to 63,000. The Light Franchise has expanded around Sunderland encompassing training, charitable and commercial development.
To find out how we managed this process contact Gary Cartmell Director of Engagement and outreach.