Wednesday 08 November 2023, 09:10

Fan experience central theme at FIFA Marketing workshop in Paris

  • Improving the fan journey the main topic at the event in the French capital

  • Knowledge exchange and building the game’s marketing community also central

  • Delegates from European Member Associations learn about NBA franchise’s commercial strategy

Marketing executives and senior administrative figures from FIFA’s European Member Associations (MA) have taken part in a specialised workshop aimed at improving the fan experience at matches.

Delegates gathered in the French capital Paris where FIFA’s MA department is headquartered to exchange knowledge regarding fan journeys as well as identifying unexploited touchpoints and supporters’ unfulfilled expectations with the ultimate objective of increasing commercial value at football games.

“The goal of the workshop is simple yet ambitious: to discover new and innovative ways to connect with fans, build stronger relationships within the football marketing community, and learn from peers,” Elkhan Mammadov, FIFA’s Regional Director Europe, told the attendees at the workshop entitled ‘Cultivating a Fan-Centered Approach: Elevating the Football Experience’.

“I have no doubt that, by the end of the day, the Member Associations will leave with fresh ideas, valuable connections, and a deeper appreciation for the profound impact of fan engagement on the commercial reality of their respective federations.”

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup 26™ being co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the USA, Jordan Kolosey, Vice-President of Business Strategy, Innovation and Data Operations at San Antonio Spurs, gave the keynote speech to detail how the NBA franchise has built and adapted their fan experience.

The afternoon session of the workshop, which was staged by FIFA in collaboration with the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), was dedicated to Design Thinking, a logical method of problem-solving.

Delegates, who were given access to the CIES eLearning platform before the workshop to begin building connections with colleagues across the continent, broke up into smaller groups to discuss the specific pain points felt by fans and work together on how best to resolve those issues. Each group then presented their ideas to the workshop.

“It’s great to have so many associations coming together, sharing knowledge and having so many different perspectives. It’s brilliant to see how another sport is activating for and engaging with their fans. I think there’s a lot to take away from today,” said Louise Cassidy, Marketing and Communications Director at Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

“The use of data, looking at the customer, their behaviour, and making all our decisions insight and data-led is something we definitely need to bring more into football, and it’s something we’re very focussed on within the FAI.”

Delegates will be able to use the CIES eLearning platform to continue exchanging best practice and building the collaborative process between Member Associations after the workshop.

“It’s very useful for us to be here. Firstly, because we are learning from other industries about how they are attracting fans and filling stadiums, that’s the most important thing,” said Maria Gkouma, Marketing and Commercial Director of the Hellenic Football Federation.

“It’s also been very good for networking. We have a lack of best practices and examples from other federations. All our federations are of different sizes and at different stages, but we can take the best examples and adapt them to our size.”