Do you have enough bums on seats at your sports game?

Well, do you?

It’s a simple enough question but I am always really surprised to hear many people I talk to saying they’re happy with their crowds. Even though they aren’t always at capacity.

They’re ‘busy enough’ is usually the answer I get. Busy enough and they don’t have the time to put any more effort into growing those numbers.

Usually this means that they’re at decent capacity at every game without having to do anything. People come to their games REGARDLESS of what they do. Because they’re a fan and they’re invested. They’ll come whether you’re top of the league or the bottom. Whether you drop a league or get promoted. Whether it’s a freezing cold Sunday or a surprisingly warm day for the time of year.

The thing is you shouldn’t just rely on this steady crowd. These dyed in the wool supporters as even they will have  shelf life as their own life changes. They may move away, have children, change jobs or circumstances or even, sometimes, change sport or allegiances. Which is why you should always be back filling and marketing to new supporters.

Anyone who runs a sports team and just relies on their fanbase to come along and tell their friends about it is playing a risky game. Especially if you are a smaller sport. Regardless of the industry you are in you should never stop marketing or paying attention to your marketing. Even more so in sport because your marketing instantly has an ROI. The people you are marketing to will come through the door and buy a ticket. Instant ROI. Easy to track. Simple to do. Yet so many sports teams I meet don’t do it. Or don’t do it consistently.

Usually it is more reactive.

Situation usually goes something like this…

Thursday afternoon conversation >> ‘We’ve got a quiet gate this weekend. Help. Quick. We’d better get an offer out there’

This type of short term approach will work in the short term but only in the short term. If you want bums on seats you need a proper plan. A full time, week in week out, invested-in, plan.

So here’s the big thing. Your plan SHOULD focus on new people through the door every single week BUT it is about so much more than that. It should always be a long term strategy.

It is about what you do with those new people DURING their first game.

It is what you do with those new people AFTER that first game.

It is how you get them to come back a second time, then a third time.

It is how you get them to invest in a team shirt.

It is about how you convert them to a season ticket holder.

It is about how they become advocates for your team.

It is never about just getting them through the door – although that bit is very important!

Do you just expect people to come through your doors? Have you thought about what would happen if your crowd dips over a period of weeks? Do you have a long term plan to build your fanbase?

If your answer is no maybe you should consider addressing this. Remember these roles have immediate ROI. Everyone you bring through the door brings revenue through the door. This kind of investment pays for itself in the short term and can change everything in the long term.

What are you waiting for?

If you need any support with this we have over 16 years experience delivering bums on seats and revenue to sports teams. Why not talk to us! 


  • Paul Curtis

    Very good Sally, once had a meeting with a CEO who had 58% capacity and said he was happy, was losing millions each year and didn’t seem to care?

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