Involvement of fans or consumers – part 2:

As Boudewijn Tilman pointed out in his post: Involvement of fans or consumers, the involvement of fans in a football club can be enormous. He pointed out two examples: FC United of Manchester and a Mexican squad in which the fans decide about the starting eleven. These examples turned out to be a pretty good success.

But I want to point out another example: This example goes beyond letting the fans decide about who plays and who are on the bench. Actually “” gives his consumers the chance to become the owners of the club which is called: Ebbsfleet United for only 35 pounds.

This whole club is in the hands of their fans. All the major club functions are in the hands of their fans and all the members/fans worldwide get their votes in transfers, the starting eleven and also in deciding about the future of the club.

In the first year the club got over 32,000 members (which is I think pretty much for a 5th division team in England). But they ended up with only 3,500 members in september 2010, while the club previously stated that 15,000 members was the minimum required.

On December 23 2011, it was announced that the club needed to raise £50,000 by the end of the 2011/12 season or risk going out of business.

So what you can see is that involvement in sports can be a good thing, in the case of the Mexican team but it can also turn out into an disaster like the example above.

I think that it is too much yet to let your consumers or your fans fully decide about all the major business decisions. But I do still think that it was a cool idea which was really out of the box thinking when they started it in 2007.

Via this link you can see a short BBC documentary about the idea: 

Erwin Westveer

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