Today we publish the final part of the minutes covering agenda items requested by FCC members prior to the meeting and a number of other topics raised under AOB
3. Agenda Items from FCC Members
3.1 Marketing and communication for non-internet users
The Club recognises that not everyone has a smart phone or laptop and ensures, for example with season ticket campaigns, that any member who doesn’t have an email address receives a printed copy. The Club is working hard to reduce its use of paper as part of its environmental responsibility but at the same time does not want to exclude any supporters. AH pointed out promotional material is included in the matchday programmes and Q magazine, as well as national and local media such as the Leicester Mercury.
Q. Has the Club looked at digitising matchday programmes?
A. AH: The Club is exploring the option of digitising the matchday programme but said that digital content is already available on established platforms. The Club has invested heavily in its digital platform and the printed matchday magazine carries a certain amount of unique content as a printed alternative.
Q. Is it possible to gauge international usage of the website?
A. LD: There has been a big increase in international exposure as the Club aims to recruit fans worldwide. AH added that the website carries dedicated Thai content and that much of the Club’s social media output is translated by territory. SJ noted that the Club’s international visits were key drivers of the expanding international fan base eg to Bangalore, and out of all the Premier League clubs had collected the most international supporter data.
3.2 Away Ticket Scheme Buying Process
Q. Under the old system, fans filled in a form saying they’d like to attend all the away games. The Ticketing office processed the requests and sent out the tickets for each game during the season. Currently, fans have to go online for each away game to get tickets. Can the Club go back to the form as previously?
A. JD: The data protection requirements of GDPR prevent the Club from reverting to application forms. CM added that from a legal perspective, the Club can only keep personal data for as long as it is absolutely required. Digital data is safe. Furthermore, the old system could be subject to widespread abuse. The Club is assisting SeatGeek to develop a system that will enable fans to apply for away tickets once per season. Should this be successful, the Club is working to get this in place for next season but is not in a position to guarantee it as yet.
3.3 Female clothing range in the Fan Store
Q. Although the range of female clothing available in the Fan Store is much better than before, the range consists of one page online for women’s clothing compared with ten pages for the men’s. Many female FCC members agreed they didn’t like the current female replica shirt, particularly the V-shaped neckline, and thought the female sizes were too small. Many women end up buying the men’s shirts.
A. SC pointed out that the range is to some extent driven by the kit supplier, ie adidas currently. LD noted that the Club has worked with adidas to change the kit for next season.
Q. Did the Club highlight the high proportion of female members when negotiating the contract with adidas?
A. SC: Historically sales of the women’s range have been poor despite taking feedback from the FCC. CM said adidas had told the Club during the negotiations that their research showed that women preferred a V-neck shirt. SW added that the downside of having a big brand as kit supplier, is that the Club doesn’t have the flexibility it would like in all matters.
3.4 Stadium Expansion
Q. It appears that Union FS has not been involved in feedback on the stadium expansion project and that there hasn’t been any communication to FCC members on the subject.
A. LD: the Club commissioned an independent study by an external group which selected individual fans to attend a total of 15 sessions. The sessions were targeted to different groups, with attendees selected by ballot. SW noted that the complete consultation on the stadium expansion has not started and the consultants’ report wasn’t expected until December. SJ stressed that the topic was more about matchday pricing in the new stand and that the Club had no intention of excluding any group. The representative of Union FS expressed concern that the group had been under-represented but SJ reassured him that the selection was not focused at supporter groups but was driven rather by individual supporters.
3.5 Early Carabao Cup competition
Q. As the stadium wasn’t fully sold, could the Club have sold more tickets by reducing the price, eg selling tickets for children at £1?
A. All ticket prices have to be agreed with the other club. SC advised that the ticket revenue is split between 45% to the home club, 45% to the visitors and 10% to the EFL and The FA. Visiting lower league clubs are reluctant to cut prices too much as it is an important source of revenue for them.
4. Any Other Business
Q. Some football clubs, eg Paris St Germain, Manchester City, are getting into eSports, thereby attracting a younger audience. Has the Club looked into this?
A. SW confirmed that the Club is looking into eSports in the context of the longer term.
4.2 Leicester City Womens Football Club
Q. Could the Club give an update on the development of LCWFC?
A. SJ said the Club had worked hard with LCWFC in their successful bid to meet the criteria for entering Tier 2. AH explained that LCWFC is an independent organisation and the Club is offering support financially, via marketing and media also.
Q. Would the Club consider total integration with LCWFC?
A. SW responded that the Club is not looking at diluting LCWFC’s achievements. Although Belvoir Drive is full and the Club doesn’t have any available space, the Club is providing support where it can, such as with media and kit.
Q. Could LCWFC be used at half-time?
A. AH: The Club is looking at raising the LCWFC’s profile while respecting their existing set-up and the progress they have made. The Club ensured that LCWFC was included in the celebrations around the Premier League championship.
FCC members praised the LCWFC’s considerable achievements at grass-roots level and noted that they get coverage on The Women’s Football Show aired on Sunday nights.
4.3 Tributes to Khun Vichai
Q. Could the flower tributes be mulched and spread on the pitch? Could the shirts be laid out in the ground and covered with glass.
A. SW: the Club has a plan for regeneration which will integrate all the messages, cards, tributes and shirts. She gave her assurance that the flowers would not be thrown away.
Q. What is the Club doing about people selling the matchday give-aways and how can this be stopped? There has been a big uproar about this on social media and some supporters are making very high bids and then refusing to pay, in an effort to stop people selling.
A. The Club is very disappointed by this but cannot track the sellers. CM added that people selling matchday give-aways can only be banned if the Club states as such beforehand.
FCC members praised the tribute matchday programme as absolutely brilliant.
4.4 Decorating the outside of the stadium
Q. The outside of the stadium is rather plain and there’s nothing to show that LCFC were champions of England and how proud we are of the achievement. Other clubs have their history displayed on their walls. Coming to the stadium should provide an experience for youngsters. At the moment, people coming to the stadium only see “King Power”.
Q. Next year, 2019, will mark the 100th anniversary and an ideal opportunity to celebrate the Club’s identity and achievements. The Club is in contact with the artist who did the street art, Richard Wilson, to capture the Club’s magic moments.
4.5 Pricing in the Fan Store
Q. Many items, particularly small ones, are not individually priced and the prices are not displayed on the shelves. One FCC recalled buying a football annual from the Fan Store for £8.99 while his wife bought the same annual in town for £6.99.
Post-meeting response from Richard Tebbutt-Hall, Store Manager:
All products are individually priced, albeit sometimes small on the back of every product. The requirement for price labels to be fixed to individual items is included in the agreements with our suppliers and this forms part of the cost. Large POS was thought to devalue the brand as we strive to become a fashion and leisure retailer rather than just a “football shop”. Of course there will be items that occasionally slip through the net due to human error, or a tag has been pulled/fallen off. The annual was simply somebody undercutting our price. All our annuals are priced at a fair price in comparison to other retailers. We will of course use the feedback to review our store for pricing.
4.6 Big Screens
Q. The big screens and score updates are excellent and the position of the screens is very good. It’s not always possible, however, to tell which club score is which. The acoustics have also suffered and there is an echo when people are speaking from the pitch, particularly heard by fans in the Family Stand.
Post-meeting response from Sam Chambers, Head of Content, Media:
Re identifying the scores, the screens now show the club crests and club names.
Re acoustics: we are looking at further improvements and developments to the overall matchday experience, one of those items is to look at general audio requirements. Due to the age of the current system, it is difficult to make noticeable improvements but we’re currently looking into other options.
Q. Could the big screens show highlights from the U21’s and LCWFC on matchdays?
A. AH: the Club is very keen to know what people are interested in seeing and welcomes any such feedback. He made it clear that if such footage did appear, it would be earlier on in the schedule.
4.7 Buying tickets online through a browser
Q. Why is it easier to buy tickets online using Chrome rather than Windows Explorer?
A. LD: Web developers look at the most widely used browers and prioritise accordingly based on their usage research. The version of Windows Explorer being used can also be a contributing factor.
4.8 Reselling Tickets
Q. Can season ticket holders with a disability resell their carers’ tickets?
A. JD: No – companion tickets are only valid in conjunction with a named disability concession holder and have no independent validity.
Stuart Johncock closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their participation in the meeting and for their invaluable feedback.
Held on Tuesday 13 November 2018 – King Power Stadium
Attendees: Adrian Neal, Alan Digby (Foxes Trust), Becky Taylor, Cliff Ginnetta (LC Supporters Club), Christine Graham, Dinesh Prajapati, Jack Munton (Union FS), Joshua Malam, Nicholas Heard, Paul Angrave, Peter Wilson, Richard Smith, Samantha Guyler, Sandra Fixter (DSA), Sarah Mitchell (DSA), Shaun Jackson. Dave Stevens (Leicestershire Police)
LCFC Personnel: Susan Whelan (CEO), Anthony Herlihy (Director of Communications), Caroline McGrory (General Counsel), Simon Capper (Finance Director), Jim Donnelly (Supporter Liaison & Disability Access Officer), Liam Docherty (CRM Manager), Stuart Johncock (Head of Supporter Engagement), Esther Walker (Executive Assistant to CEO)
Apologies: Adrian Neal. Andrew Keates, Claire Harrison, Dominic Palmer, Malcolm Carter, Olusola Oni, Graeme Smith (Foxes Pride), Phil Simms.
LCFC Personnel: Andrew Neville (Director of Football Operations), Jon Rudkin (Director of Football). Kevin Barclay (Operations Director), Mags Mernagh (Director, Estates & Infrastructure), Richard Lymbery (Operations Director, Levy Restaurants UK), Jamie Tabor (Head of Brand, Marketing & Digital Business)