Meeting Report - October 2011
Meeting notes from the Fans' Forum held on 20 October 2011.
1. Review of action points
The Forum raised issues encountered by supporters attending home matches with children. Supporters have experienced issues gaining entry at the turnstiles due to faulty season ticket cards or tickets and the Forum cited incidents where the child was separated from the adult when entry was denied by a steward.
ACTION - Stadium Safety Office to investigate and respond.
The Forum asked for clarification on whether supporters should be sent to Goodison Road or Park End Box Office for ticket queries on matchdays.
ACTION - Fan Centre to confirm procedure and Stadium Safety Officer to confirm that the procedure has been communicated to all Matchday staff.
2. Forum response to Carling Cup attendances/pricing
Attendance figures for the Carling Cup fixture against Chelsea are already higher than those recorded at the West Bromwich Albion fixture. The window for Season Ticket holders to purchase tickets will be left open for a longer period to give more supporters the opportunity to buy tickets.
An analysis of attendance at other Premier League clubs for Carling Cup fixtures has been undertaken. The analysis found that there was no increase in attendance at Clubs who had offered discounted tickets for juniors. The Forum felt that it would be different at Goodison Park and would like discounted tickets to be offered at Cup games. The Forum felt that it was unfair to offer concessions for junior Season Ticket holders but not for tickets at cup games
ACTION - Discussion to be revisited during November's meeting, following the Chelsea match.
3. Club 5 Priorities
The Forum presented feedback from the wider fanbase. An initial discussion took place and members of the Forum submitted documents so that the Club can review the information in full. The discussion will be revisited ahead of next fans' forum meeting.
Forum Action: Consider ticket priority and how best to implement scheme alongside potential packages (and possible membership). Also to consider optimum time for tickets to go on-sale.
- The Forum suggested a discount or bonus could be awarded to existing Season Ticket holders if they introduce a new Season Ticket holder to the Club.
- Feedback also included the suggestion of utilising other agents to sell Season Tickets, for example, through door to door sales.
- The Club are investigating whether tickets can be sold at Everton Two. Tests will be implemented in due course.
- The Forum discussed dynamic pricing and reducing the price of Season Tickets.
- The Forum felt that the scheme should be scrapped other than for high profile games.
- Club should communicate to supporters that it reserves the right to introduce a priority scheme. Operational steps to be introduced.
- Forum suggested that the Club could investigate offering supporters the option to purchase online and self-print tickets.
On sales times
- Forum agreed that it would like the option to buy tickets for any match at any point during the season.
- The Forum felt that the ticket bundles should be offered for fixtures with a lower grade but should also include one high grade fixture as an incentive. Parent and child ticket packages have not proved popular in the past but the Club is committed to encouraging young people to attend matches at Goodison Park.
ACTION - Club to review and to form part of agenda for 5 key points meeting to be held before the next fans' forum meeting.
Forum Action: Consider where supporters want to consume their Everton news content and when - including internal and external platforms.
- The Forum cited that social networks are a very popular form of communication and felt that it is important for all platforms to communicate the same message. Feedback suggested that the internet is the first port of call for most supporters and is a trusted source of information.
- Android application has a low take-up but will change as more people move towards the technology. The iPhone application is not highly rated by users and will be reviewed by the Club.
- It was also noted that the older generation of supporters rely on Radio Merseyside for news content rather than social media.
- The Forum felt that if financially viable, evertonTV would be a positive channel for information and would help to integrate older fans who may be alienated by social networks. The Forum felt that the expectations of supporters would need to be managed regarding the channel's output, in comparison to Sky Sports News.
SMS and email databases are to be merged so that the Club can reach a higher proportion of its fanbase. The Forum raised issues with receiving duplicate emails.
ACTION - Club to investigate duplicate emails
ACTION - Email communication changes to be added to the November meeting agenda.
- The Forum advised that feedback from supporters' was that there are not an excessive number of SMS alerts. However, some supporters received the same text message at the same time each week asking if they wanted to continue to receive SMS alerts. Forum felt it was important that it remained easy to unsubscribe from the email and SMS alerts.
- Members felt that some media displayed negativity towards the Club. Many supporters access the Liverpool Echo online instead of the newspaper and select the articles they wish to read. Supporters also access unofficial supporters' websites such as Toffeeweb and Blue-Kipper.
Forum Action: Consider a group-led activity that will raise awareness alongside much needed funds.
- Forum felt that a Football Aid style tournament for children would be a good idea.
- The logo should be prominent and easily recognisable with a strong ambassador. The Forum felt that whilst there is awareness about Everton in the Community, many supporters are not fully aware of the charity's activity.
- Forum felt that that a good way to highlight the charity would be to try and break the world record for the largest Zumba class.
- Walk of fame. It was advised that the Club are already looking at the option for supporters to purchase space around the stadium for a ‘walk of fame'-style initiative.
ACTION - Club to review and to form part of agenda for 5 key points meeting to be held before the next fans' forum meeting
Forum Action: Consider one big idea that will enhance supporters' enjoyment across the many elements of matchdays, from leaving home to returning.
- The Forum cited that feedback from the wider fanbase included some negative comments about the half-time entertainment, and specifically that it does not engage young people. The Forum does not want singers or Changy to be involved in the on-pitch entertainment but would like to see footage of historic goals pre match and Z-Cars to be played at half time.
- The Forum gave positive feedback on the Hit the Bar competition and Best Buy Best Fan competition. Members also felt that bringing ex-players onto the pitch helps to boost the atmosphere in the stadium and they would like to see more interviews from ex-players.
Forum Action: Consider how we can engage more 5-16 year olds through non ticket related activities and offers.
Feedback from the Forum included:
- Coaching sessions before the match, which also include a match ticket.
- Local roadshow including activity from Everton in the Community.
- Local football tournaments
- Promote the Club across the entire North West region.
- Competition and giveaways to attract young people.
- Free junior tickets to reserve games at Goodison Park.
- Increased focus on making it easy to bring children to Goodison Park, with discounts for more than one child.
4. New Members
More information to be communicated to the Forum in relation to the shortlist submitted at the October meeting. Two existing members will stay alongside the new members for 12 months. The Forum felt that whilst it should choose the members, the Club should be involved in the process to ensure that there is a cross-section of the fanbase.
- Members from Everton in the Community presented details of how to enter the Santa Dash to the Forum.
- The Forum noted its concern about the behaviour of a small minority of fans at the Merseyside Derby and how this has left the Club in danger of facing sanctions. The Forum was keen to note its support for the Club in its positive actions to identify guilty parties.
- A formal announcement is to be made regarding banning plastic bottles in the seated areas of the stadium. The Forum expressed concern that this decision may discourage families from attending the match if drinks cannot be brought into the Stadium. The Forum felt that removing the tops from bottles or providing supporters with plastic cups would be more acceptable than a complete ban.
- The Forum wanted to note its support for the Club's excellent customer service following some positive feedback.
Next meeting - 17th November 2011