The Fan Engagement Pod


Bradford City's Ryan Sparks on communicating difficult decisions & building for the future

Season 1, Ep. 59
Welcome to the Fan Engagement Chat, the episode of the Fan Engagement Pod where we hear about someone’s approach to Fan Engagement.This one’s with Ryan Sparks, CEO of Bradford City AFCWe’d already interviewed him back in Episode 11, but decided to have a second chat with Ryan after he was appointed as the youngest CEO in the country. He was appointed in November 2020, and this interview was done in March 2021.Ryan's background is in Rugby League, having worked for both Featherstone Rovers and city neighbours Bradford Bulls previously. As a result, Ryan learned his trade in an arguably much tougher environment where techniques of persuasion of fans are more important to get right.He’s a really good listen from someone I like and admire for his straight-dealing, honesty, but sensitivity to the responsibility he’s got. He gives us great insight into the work he’d undertaken to both steady the ship, and then build for the coming years. His Twitter profile and LinkedIn page are worth having a look at for a record of the progress he’s made. Since then we also saw Bradford’s Fan Engagement rating climb massively thanks to Ryan’s work and leadership in the area, and you can find out more on https://fanengagement - where you can find out even more about how your club did. You can also register for free for the Fan Engagement Hub if you want to access more detailed data and case studies from the 2019/2020 Index.We’re taking a break for the whole of August, and we’ll be back with a new episode of the Fan Engagement Chat on the 7th September, and new episodes of Bas Chat and did they ask the Fans too. Keep an ear out!Please like, subscribe and share. It really does help our visibility.Enjoy the show.

Jonathan Bradley from Bang The Table (online engagement specialists)

Season 1, Ep. 56
Welcome to the Fan Engagement Chat, the episode of the Fan Engagement Pod where we hear about someone’s approach to Fan Engagement.Recorded in March 2021, this is a chat with Jonathan Bradley from Bang The Table. Their mission states that ‘Robust democracy requires real public participation. Our mission is to enable this participation as a fundamental pillar of well-functioning 21st century democracies by forging constructive relationships between communities and the institutions of government.’ The company’s EngagementHQ platform provides a managed online social space to facilitate this.So what relevance does this have to Fan Engagement? The common thread is to ensure that seldom heard and hard to reach groups are given opportunities to engage - in our case, Fans.It’s particularly interesting to look at platforms created by the likes of Bang The Table for ideas when it comes to moving constructive dialogue away from the very public social networks of Twitter and Facebook, to environments which are more protected and enable dialogue.Anyone looking at online tools to engage with fans should listen to this, and if you want to understand more about their work, go to their UK Consult podcast, where I appeared recently to chat about Fan Engagement, the European Super League and the work of Think Fan Engagement.And just to add: we have no commercial or financial relationship with Bang The Table. We just really like their platform and what they do.Don’t forget you can find out how your club did in the Fan Engagement Index at You can also register for free for the Fan Engagement Hub if you want to access more detailed data and case studies from the 2019/2020 Index.Please like, subscribe and share. It really does help our visibility.

Bas Chat #5: Fan Journey Mapping

Season 1, Ep. 55
The latest Episode of BasChat, with Bas Schnater and Kevin Rye, focuses on Fan Journey Mapping.We’ve provided a breakdown of the steps to take, some resources to do it, and some tips, belowIf you want to get in touch with us to discuss this further, drop us a line via the contact details on our website Fan Journey Mapping: How to do itStep One: PreparationsFind a model that could help map the journey (try the Lego Experience Wheel, below) that shows the fan journey from the moment the fan(s) leave the house, to the moment they arrive homeThink about which fans you want to carry out the research (these could be families, or fans from a particular part of the stadium). You might also want to focus on specific demographic or social groups, including younger fans or the disabled. Don’t just focus on one group. Try to cover different groups. This could be a good way to improve experience and relationships with your ‘hardcore’ fans, for exampleCreate a long-form questionnaire in an ‘open’ or ‘qualitative’ style to allow for lots of detailed commentThink about what incentives for participants you might offer (perhaps a free signed shirt, other merchandise, free ticket to a club event - e.g. meet the players)Remember that they need to get receipts for their spendingStep Two: Before the dayChoose your participants via a call on the website, your Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) or Fan Services team (if you have one)Do not tell staff/internal stakeholders (all fan-facing staff members) that this is happening, so they behave normallyEnsure they have the questionnaire sent to them in advance. Ensure they understand what they need to doStep Three: On the dayEnsure that participants follow the fan journeyEnsure that you don’t have contact with them during the day. You don’t want anyone finding out what they’re doing!Step Four: AfterwardsParticipants debriefMeet with the participants to talk through their questionnaireAnalysis and disseminationFeed back to all fan-facing departmentsTo departments that performed really well, make sure they know what they did well and whyTo departments that have improvements to make, ensure they understand why those improvements are important and how it will help them with any internal targets or goals they haveDon’t forget!Although there are crossovers with ‘Customer Experience’, and there are transactions, loyalty isn’t created because of price or service. It’s deeper than that. And treating your fans well is even more important because of that!Use fan surveys, focus groups and other techniques to inform and shape your Fan Journey Mapping!More readingLego Experience Wheel: to document the Stadium Experience: ChartsWhat is a Gannt Chart? MS Office Gannt Chart download: