Day: March 10, 2013

Football Fan Engagement – A Psychobabble Special

I’m so ‘old school’ that I don’t even spell ‘old school’ ‘old skool.’ So when I read Arsenal’s Head of Marketing Charles Allen in the Independent on Sunday newspaper recently, my heart almost audibly sank. “In all of our international territories,” Charles said, suggesting a previously unheralded set of regime changes, “we want to build our reach and engagement.” As he explained: “Our focus is to connect with fans via social media and engage them in a dialogue with the club. Monetisation is further downstream.” Allen’s psychobabble-heavy quote came in an excellent article – terrifically-researched and depressing in equal measure – entitled World will soon be worth more to the Premier League than the UK, by Jonathan Dyson, who is working on a book on the EPL’s global “reach.” Leaving aside the headline-writer’s assumption – oft-made but rarely-challenged – that the “UK” is the English Premier League’s ‘domestic’ market, the article was a timely reminder that the nature of football consumption will change quickly and radically during the lifetime of the latest EPL overseas broadcast rights deals. And one of the demonstrable downsides of this will be the use of language such as “reach and engagement,” “monetisation,” and concepts such as “continuing the conversation” which will be “key drivers” of the new football “fan experience.” Psychobabble is becoming football’s vernacular. If Allen’s bottom line demonstrated that the bottom line is still the bottom line, the...

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Wimbledon & York City Shred The Nerves At The Foot Of League Two

It is getting to the point of the season at which time starts to run out. The luxury of believing that our teams can afford to drop points starts to fade from view as we reach the home straight, and there are few other places in the whole of English football in which nerves are already in the air than at the bottom of League Two. Just four points separate the bottom seven clubs in the division, with variations in the patchiness of form of these clubs meaning that trying to predict which two may eventually slip through the trapdoor and into non-league football lays somewhere between being a tricky business and a fool’s errand. This also means that there a rather a lot of “six-pointers” between the clubs at the foot of the table, all of which means that there was plenty of good reason to be at Kingsmeadow yesterday afternoon for the match between Wimbledon and York City. These two clubs have both recently escaped the Blue Square Bet Premier through the play-offs, Wimbledon two years ago and York City last season. They arrived in that division from opposing directions, though, Wimbledon after their nine year rise from the Combined Counties League, whilst York dropped out of the Football League after an attempt at asset-stripping at the start of the last decade which nearly killed their club....

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