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SPL Chief hails 'Family Champions' initiative

Wed 28th Jul 2010 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

The Scottish Premier League has hailed their Family Champions initiative aimed at increasing the number of families attending Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches a success.

The initiative which involved families visiting grounds to report on their experiences at matches followed by a detailed report on the clubs individual performances across a number of key areas.  Pricing, first impressions, club shop and catering were among the factors scored by our undercover families to build up an overall picture of how each club fared.

Back in April, St Mirren were announced as winners of the award as SPL Family Champions for season 2009/2010.  What set St Mirren apart was their success in creating a positive, welcoming environment for families coming to St Mirren Park.

What came out most strongly from the investigations last season was the wide range of excellent initiatives SPL clubs are already doing to attract fans to their grounds.

As a result of the findings the SPL have put together a ‘best practice’ guide to highlight what SPL clubs are already doing – and this can be found at www.scotprem.com.  

The guide demonstrates how easy it is to make a football club more welcoming to families.  By bringing together the best ideas from all our clubs, we have tried to inspire them to build upon the successes that they are already enjoying. 

The scheme is expected to continue next season and will be repeating the exercise and increasing the number of visits to clubs. The SPL has indicated that each club will be visited on four separate occasions and will receive immediate feedback from each family. They are also exploring the introduction of themed family weekends across the SPL and will be hosting regular club meetings where the family experience will be top of the agenda.

However, SPL Chief Executive, Neil Doncaster stressed that, “this won’t solve the problems faced by Scottish football”. 

“But it is certainly a step in the right direction.  At a time when all clubs are facing into the toughest economic outlook in a generation, it is sobering that Football League clubs have recently achieved real increases in attendances year on year. It is no surprise to hear that they have credited their ‘Family Excellence Awards’ with much of the success.

“Driving more families into our grounds can only be a positive move, increasing the financial health of our clubs and generating a vibrant atmosphere.  And all of this should lead to a better experience for all supporters, and not just for families.

“I don’t see the SPL Family Champions initiative as a ‘silver bullet’ solution for Scottish football’s ills.  But I do see it as part of the mix of different ways in which we can face into the difficult economic environment we find ourselves in.

“Talking to supporters, trying to see the experience of SPL games through their eyes – can only be a good thing, and something that is entirely in line with our attempts to communicate, be transparent and be more accountable to our clubs and their fans.

If you have any football business related news stories you’d like to share then please contact us – agourley@fcbusiness.co.uk or ryan@fcbusiness.co.uk

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