EPL clubs share tips on how to expand fan base

Although poles apart when it comes to marketing power, the English Premier League (EPL) shared its knowledge with members of Asia's footballing fraternity.

Held yesterday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the three-hour workshop and networking event touched on topics ranging from communications, sales and marketing to community development.

Arsenal's marketing head Charles Allen elaborated on how the Gunners took to cyberspace to pull in new fans worldwide. They have 33 million fans on Facebook and six million on Twitter.

Allen provided advice for clubs looking to create a greater fan base, especially those in the S-League.

He said: "For any small team, my key message is to focus on the data.

"Use every opportunity to capture data on people, start talking to them and engaging them and give them a reason to be interested in what you are doing."

Allen gave the example of how many of the visitors to the Emirates Stadium are not Arsenal fans but the club will send them an e-mail after their visit to follow up on their possible interest.

Home United chief executive Azrulnizam Shah was one of those who gleaned new insights from the session yesterday.

"There isn't much of a fundamental difference in what the Premier League clubs and us are doing, in terms of digital media," said the 31-year-old.

"But their level of sophistication is what sets them apart.

"Personally, I think we should spend more time conceptualising, rather than being too pre-occupied with the operations.

"We can never be able to beat the EPL in terms of football but putting other elements in place is how we can compete."

The participants also heard from representatives from Stoke City, Everton and the EPL.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'EPL clubs share tips on how to expand fan base'. Print Edition | Subscribe