TUESDAY 15 JUN 2021 2:21 PM


The Fan Relationship Index from transformation consultancy, The CLV Group, shows that the UK’s Big Six football clubs are missing out on up to £838m of revenue growth due to underutilising fan engagement. The report comes as UK clubs attempt to recover from the recent backlash against the proposed European Super League (ESL), which reduced trust in 37% of Big Six club football fans.

The research report is based on new analysis of the economic value of leading UK football club fanbases and their ability to increase revenues, by delivering better value to fans. The index assessed publicly available revenue, social media, match attendance data and commissioned surveys.

The proposed European Super League led to 23% of Big Six football club fans threatening to spend less money on merchandise, and 21% spending less on match attendance. Manchester United could unlock up to £216m revenue from shifting its comms approach from a focus on traditional media and sponsorship deals, to a more content-led data strategy, similar to that of Netflix and regain the trust of its fans.

Neil Joyce, CEO and co-founder of The CLV Group, says, “Clubs have become over-reliant on a small number of revenue sources, such as media and sponsorship deals, and the Champions League – leading to fans feeling disenfranchised and exploited. This report is designed to help clubs to avoid future errors and identify new revenue streams that acknowledge the importance of keeping their most loyal fans happy and engaged.”

Manchester United sits at the top of the UK’s Big Six football clubs ranking in terms of untapped revenue potential, with potential losses of £216m, which would result in a 129% increase in the average revenue per fan. This loss is largely due to the size of the club’s global footprint, a lack of trust among fans and poor consumer engagement. Arsenal is second in the rankings with a potential increase of 124%, closely followed by Liverpool and Manchester City.

The Fan Index attempts to identify three types of fans, ‘fanatics’, ‘casuals’ and ‘followers’, all of which are defined as having different engagement needs. The CLV Group says football clubs must use this data to understand consumers and access these untapped revenue streams.

Joyce says football clubs should ask themselves three questions, “How can I create a products and services that cut out middlemen and deliver what my fans really want? Do I have access to the data that enables me to truly understand my fans? And am I willing to take the financial risk associated with not strengthening my relationships with Fanatics and Followers?”

To improve external engagement, brands and football clubs alike must prioritise strategies to gather deep, actionable data about its consumers to inform impactful comms campaigns and drive revenue growth.