I’m a new day rising
I’m a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight….
It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again
Foo Fighters – Times Like These
The responses from yesterday’s post both on this site and elsewhere on social media suggest that Coventry’s current attendance and it’s potential for increase given the success the team is currently enjoying,is a subject on which many supporters have strong views.
Not strong in the sense of controversial, but views that are held strongly enough for those concerned to want to share them with others.
And that is a great starting point for a really healthy discussion.
Some of the comments again centre on the need to market the club more, especially in the days leading up to the weekend of a home game.
It’s actually not an area of criticism for me as I happen to believe that Cov have really upped their game as far as marketing is concerned over the last couple of years, especially through the use of social media, a mode of communication that was something of an anathema to the club just a couple of years ago.
A number of people have rightly suggested that there’s been an absence of flyers and posters around town and more should be done to promote games from the car park that overlooks the busy main road.
All good ideas and have a part to play in the marketing of the club, but I can’t help thinking flyers and poster are a little ‘old school’ these days.
Many comments also refer to the need to attract a much younger audience into the club, and by young I mean the 16-25 age bracket, perhaps even younger. They’re the missing generation on a match day, at least they are in the area of the main stand where we sit.
And here’s the thing…for me, it’s not flyers and posters that are going to bring them in, for a start their heads’ are turned downwards in the direction of their phones for much of the time, so the chances of them noticing a flyer or two are pretty minimal anyway. Pot, kettle and black with me, I’m afraid.
No, it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the like that are most likely to grab their attention and I do think that Coventry have become far more worldly wise in this area of marketing, with tweets regularly sent out from the club promoting forthcoming games as well as including links to all the latest articles on the website.
The artwork is big and bold and bright and posts from the club are instantly recognisable as being part of the Cov brand these days.
The four images above are taken from Cov’s website and are really distinctive and there’s an immediate association with Coventry Rugby Club. I’m not for a minute suggesting that we should do away with flyers and posters, but in an age where the ether rules, this is the way forward for me – and it ticks the environmentally friendly box at the same time.
It looks as if the Official Cov Twitter page now has the banner advert which includes the next home game (the one with KES lighting) as it’s masthead – a great idea as it’s there every time anyone accesses their feed. Might start doing the same with the blog on mine – thanks Cov!
I do think those responsible for the improvements deserve plenty of credit on that front. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it reaches the required age group, but it is a big start. I know Cov are working with the local universities to further links and there’s a real opportunity there to bring in students at reduced prices. Many might not be local to Coventry but there are a lot of them and most enjoy a drink or two as well…
And I’d be surprised if many supporters turn up on a Saturday on a whim having maybe spotted a poster of flyer somewhere in town or in their local. Those who turn up, however infrequently, are likely to be Cov supporters and will at the very least follow the club on Twitter or Facebook or via the website.
Marketing via the official website and social media makes so much more sense to me and that’s coming from someone who was always a bit of a Luddite in his middle years.
If the club feels that the under 21s is an area that needs to work on, then a competition organised through the club website with a major prize and open to 16-21 years might be one way forward. Entering would require an email address and once you have that you have that person on a database and provided he/she agrees, you can then forward any amount of club info to that person in the future. I know Lara is keen to develop an electronic ticketing system partly for that reason.
Reading through the comments people have been kind enough to send makes me realise that actually one of the key answers to the question of how best to increase gates further now they’re at the 1700 plus mark might be found in those currently attending Cov games. What the club haven’t as yet done (at least if they have I’m not aware of it) is it’s own market research on those already coming to games.
Some judicious questioning could actually provide the answers everyone is currently second guessing. Whilst a questionnaire could go to all members, or indeed be handed out to everyone at a game, the target audience could actually be those who have only recently started to watch Cov, perhaps in the last two or three years. Find out why it is they decided to come regularly, what it is about their experiences they enjoy/get frustrated by and how they would like to see things improved and you’d be moving in the right direction. Those who have responded on here have provided a wealth of suggestions; multiply that by several hundred and…well, you get my drift.
Add a checklist of things that could be offered to make the match day experience more popular (free tickets to junior schools, flags to every family, more competitions/music before and during the game, better refreshment areas (food and soft drinks especially for the kiddies) etc etc) with a space for suggestions and a prize for those that are adopted (or just the best ones) and it starts to make supporters feel part of the process and that often inspires loyalty, even if the going gets a bit tough.
Higher attendances are that much more likely to come about if the team is successful, but there’s always things that can be done to make the match day experience that little bit better. What I hadn’t appreciated until I spoke to Lara before Christmas though is just how few people there are working behind the scenes at Cov. Those that are there are always busy and there’s only so much that can be done and they’re pretty much doing that already.
Whatever the comments as to how attendances could be improved further, recognition that they are much healthier than they once were is important. It’s how we move on from here that now needs discussing and with a probable move into the Championship likely, perhaps Cov will have to do things differently next season, with more focus on the whole package rather than the game itself.
It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It hasn’t as yet been mentioned elsewhere, but I do wonder if the cost of watching Cov in the Championship will increase and if so (and I would expect it to) then by how much? And of course if you increase the ticket prices will supporters expect more bang for their buck or just accept that it is, quite literally, the price you have to pay for promotion?
And, equally as important, will an increase put off supporters from committing themselves to season tickets which is guaranteed money for the club, and guaranteed no matter the results.
£15 pounds (excluding parking and a programme) on the day isn’t too bad for a covered seat at Cov even in National One (it’s £19 at Plymouth and £20 at Moseley) so we can probably expect some increase to reflect the increase in quality of the product on offer (in terms of the rugby anyway). An increase in the cost of watching rugby might well be a factor in determining by how much attendances increase by over the next couple of years.
Coventry isn’t as affluent area in the way that perhaps some of the clubs based in the leafy suburbs of London are and any increase in the price of entrance at the BPA might be difficult for supporters for whom the cost of living is already squeezing them financially…a generalisation, but if you’re on a low income or living off a pension, it is definitely a consideration.
I’ve done a quick check of some of the clubs in the Championship and it seems as if their match day ticket prices (bought on the day) vary a great deal (seated unless otherwise stated).
Bristol – £24-£38 (£5 cheaper if a Forever Bristol member)
Nottingham – no covered seats available – all standing areas are £13
Leeds Carnegie – £17
Doncaster – £24
I’ve no evidence to prove it one way or the other, but at a guess I reckon £24 before concessions would be nearing the upper limit of what many might be prepared to pay, although I think there would be an even greater uptake on season tickets given there is always a decent early bird reduction. With fewer home league games next season, just 11 as opposed to the current 15, it wouldn’t seem that much more for a season ticket, but then you add on the cup games and it begins to get rather more expensive.
It would actually make for an interesting poll – what do you think would be an acceptable price to pay to watch Coventry Rugby Club in the Championship? ( 🙂 )
I imagine it will much later in the season than last year before we are told the costs of watching Cov next season, as no decision can be made until we know which league we’ll be playing in…
An away trip to Bedford or Ampthill…?
The name Brian Quinn isn’t going to be one that is familiar to many reading this blog, but the Press and Publicity Officer at Old Albanian deserves a bit of press of his own for writing such an honest account of last Saturday’s game which Cov won comfortably 52-5. OA suffered a couple of injuries early on that disrupted their game plan and they certain didn’t get the best rub of the green on that front, with a couple more injuries causing them further problems later in the game.
It would have been easy for Brian to proffer this as a reason as to why they lost as heavily as they did but he didn’t, preferring instead to be candid and direct:
Coventry never really broke stride as they cantered to a purposeful victory over an Albanian side which, in crucial stages, was pretty much outgunned. In true gentlemanly fashion the Cov faithful paid tribute to the way the visitors stuck to their guns particularly when losing Tadgh McElroy and Andrew Christie to injury in the first half hour…
I have to say, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard the Cov crowd described as ‘gentlemanly’ but if that’s how we come across then that’s fine by me…we just need to keep the Supporters’ Club Committee away from Brian if we play them again any time soon , otherwise we’re rumbled.
Back to the game:
Truth to tell, Coventry had too much in the locker in attack and defence to be over troubled by the efforts of Ross Hamilton’s men who certainly gave their all in adversity. With little coming from the scrum, as the match wore on Albanians were reduced in large part to ferocious defence which can be expected to leak points when the angle of attack changes as rapidly as it did at the Butts Park Arena
The only surprise came at the end when Brian finished by saying:
Credit where’s it due, Coventry took there opportunities with speed and precision and it must now be admitted they are serious contenders for the Championship at the end of the season.
‘Serious contenders’ would put us in the mix with a couple of other sides – at the moment we are the contender and it’s very much ours to lose. Still, it was a honest report from a team who pushed us very close down at their place and must have felt they had a chance of doing what no other team has so far managed for getting on for 15 months and that’s beat us on our own doorstep.
Blackheath on Saturday then, and probably our stiffest away test of the season so far.
As the tables stands at the moment, we still have to play the five teams immediately below us in the league away from home:
|2||Darlington Mowden Park||15||11||1||3||426||310||14||60|
|3||Ampthill & District||17||10||2||5||468||340||14||58|
…and that’s a tough challenge for any team, even one that remains unbeaten after 16 games.
However, the big guns will be back on Saturday and with Cov’s confidence high, we must have a great chance.
Fortunately the coaches are doing a great job at keeping the players grounded and with the experienced players like Boulton, Preece, Narraway and Tuitupou likely to start, if we play to our strengths and don’t get drawn into the kind of physical game we saw back at the BPA in September, then we should be fine.
The Foo Fighters – formed at a time when I’d lost a bit on interest in my music, a group I probably would have been well into otherwise.
Formed by Nirvana’s ex-drummer after the death of Kurt Cobain and the break up of the band.
Good honest American rock…without the unnecessary guitar solos for the most part.
I, I’m a new day rising
I’m a brand new sky