Where are the fans

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AMF

Posts : 34
Join date : 2015-09-25

Where are the fans

Post by AMF on Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:12 pm

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/local-sport/livingston-fc-blog-team-joy-9499358?platform=hootsuite

This blog has once again raised the question, how do Livingston FC attract more supporters? The usual comments have been posted on social media (poor marketing, entrance prices too high, caught in the middle of 4 big teams, more free tickets) but most of them appear to be from current Livingston fans. Is it time the club did a little market research and get the view of West Lothian to help answer the question? I'm not suggesting polling 60K+ people but a maybe choose a few areas within a number of towns. Its obvious that playing well, being 10 points clear, scoring goals for fun and having one of the lowest admission prices isnt enough for some.
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Bertie Bassett

Posts : 1925
Join date : 2014-07-25
Location : Livingston

Re: Where are the fans

Post by Bertie Bassett on Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:00 pm

We are a small club in a small town in West Lothian. The catchment area is large but historically the county is awash with folk from Glasgow & Edinburgh that are linked to the major clubs in those cities, the youngest of which is almost 130 years older than us. There is also a fair number of quite successful Junior sides of fairly long standing, with decent sized supports, so the catchment area may be large but it is already diluted substantially.

We have enjoyed a few "glory years" which brought in some bored "big 4" fans that couldn't be bothered trecking to Edinburgh or Glasgow to watch their "real" team. But once the success and money ended so did their support. There was some resurgence as we hauled ourselves back up the league as a few years of success and no scandal gave us a stable club - but then back came the scandals and out went the stability.

Having said all that, we are still pulling in more than double the number of fans that frequented MTFC home games, we are also pulling in more home fans than many other central belt clubs with longer history behind them than we have, so maybe we have just found our natural level.

The problem is we inhabit a stadium that holds almost 10,000 people and it is over 90% empty every home game. If we had a small stadium holding only 3,000 it would still be predominantly empty but wouldn't be as cavernous. I'd hate to leave the Vale but that might be the best way forward.

We probably won't get crowds of 1500 or more unless we reach the top tier & that probably won't happen without significant investment, either in players already good enough to play there or in producing players good enough to take us there & stay there and that would need us to keep those "home grown" players together. Either way is a huge investment.
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Liviforever

Posts : 3435
Join date : 2014-06-10
Location : Livingston

Re: Where are the fans

Post by Liviforever on Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:29 pm

I agree with most of what you posted Bertie but I don't believe we've found our natural level of support, there are lapsed Livi fans out there and ones needing a wee incentive to become new Livi fans. Stability is def a big part of drawing them back to us, as is success. Bad publicity and zero marketing does nothing to help our cause, and like it or not, success/glory pulls in fans. But you need to make sure they know we're successful and not just sit back expecting them to know.

I think we need someone with marketing ideas and someone like Jim Leishman for PR to get the West Lothian public aware of Livi FC and why it would be a good place to spend their Sat afternoons.

I've a few ideas that I've posted on here numerous times, a float in the gala days, with a Livi fc youth team players on the back handing out Livi fc badges etc, flyers for special deals for the start of the season, and an open day during pre season. Lay out some promotion stalls with these deals at the open day too, along with several attractions for the kids, like face painting, beat the goalie, or that shooting thing with the holes in it and have some kind of prize.

You have to make an effort to get bums on seats and if we're being honest, Livi fc hasn't done much more than lower ST deals advertised in the Courier. I'm not knocking their efforts on that score but they need to do more, and get some kind of promotional campaign strategy worked out in time for pre season, using our return to the Championship as the headline when selling it (It is ours to lose now and hopefully we don't).

This is a good time to make plans for next season, we're sitting top of the league by 10 points and the feel good factor will be there taking us into next season, so this is as good a time as any to promote the club and get plans made for selling Livi fc to the West Lothian public during pre season 2017/18.
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Afro

Posts : 511
Join date : 2014-06-14

Re: Where are the fans

Post by Afro on Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:15 pm

Said for a while that Livi are horrendous at actually marketing the "product" (I'm loathed to call football that but it is what it is in the context of this discussion). Honestly, if you moved to Livingston and didn't have a clue about football, you wouldn't have any inkling that there was professional team with the history we do playing so close to the town centre. Even the visual branding the club had at the Stadium Rd end, next to Lidl, has disappeared and not been replaced by and large. You go to places like Peterhead and Alloa and there is information relating to the next game, when it is, the opponent, etc. Nothing like that from us. I understand that visual advertising is exponentially more expensive than trying to get the word out over social media, but FB and Twitter will only take you so far unless you're putting a dedicated plan in place; something which I suspect Livi do not have, and haven't for quite some time.

Several people made the point on the club's Facebook page regarding getting marketing and advertising students on board; even some sort of focus group to gauge initial ideas, having someone getting some work experience/internship at the club on a part-time basis. To reverse a worrying decline in crowds at one of Scotland's most volatile clubs, whilst the national average shows an increase in crowds, would be some achievement to have on a young professional's CV when they step out of University.

My fear though is that the club are too lax in taking these proposals on board and we miss the opportunity to capitalise on how good things are on the pitch.

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