Aston Villa FC are giving their loyal fans more reasons to love the club and never to miss a season match with ‘Pride Rewards’ scheme – a digital first in world sport.
The Pride Rewards is inbuilt into fan’s season and member cards with a prepaid contactless and chip and pin payment technology. With the card, fans not only get access to season matches at the Villa Park, they will also be able to pay for goods and services of their choices, buy match tickets, and shop on both the club’s online and offline stores, including high street outlets.
On the other hand, it will give the club more insights on the makeup of their fan base, their shopping pattern and their wishes with regards to how they think the club should be run, or how the stadium should be designed, or what brands the club should partner, including local retailers for the loyalty programme shoppers.
The club management is also hoping that the prepaid card will make queues faster at their concessions, particularly during halftime rush time.
‘Pride Rewards’ is a point-based loyalty programme for season ticket holders and members of ‘The Pride’ – the official fan membership of the club. With the card, holders earn points when they attend matches at Villa Park, as well as when the team scores and wins.
Fans can also earn points on their Pride Reward account every time they engage with the club on social media, shop at the Villa Park and add e-cash to their card.
Different fantastic prizes can be won with Pride Rewards points, including hotel stays, apparels, VIP pre-match events, and taking a selfie on the pitch at halftime. The reward could also include getting signed t-shorts from the current Villa FC squad or legends or becoming a flag bearer.
When a fan earns a point, they receive an automated email with instructions on how to redeem it. The Club will open its Pride Rewards collection centre two hours before kickoff of every home game.
How to earn points
The uniqueness of the club-branded ‘Prides Rewards’ card is its multipurpose use, from serving as a season ticket to being used for match day purchases, and a loyalty point collector for every pound holders spend which can then be used to redeem exciting prizes in the clubs store and on the Villa app.
Providing further highlight on the Pride Rewards, the club’s head of data and insight Matt Swindells said the club decided to undertake an extensive research spanning several months on how they could improve on the regular rewards scheme offered by clubs and go the extra mile for fans. And the result was this innovative commerce ecosystem dedicated to loyal fans.
Swindells added that when it fully comes into operation, the scheme will create a two-way relationship that will open new income channels through via affiliate marketing and brand partnerships.
But perhaps the biggest benefit to baiting fans to shop more at the Villa Park is that the club can get valuable data that will help them satisfy their supporters’ base better. The management will have insight about the habits and lifestyles of their most loyal fans, such as their favourite foods and drinks, periods during the day when they’re more likely to shops, and from which booth.
“This is a great way for clubs to become even more in tune with their fans and give them what they want in terms of merchandise and perks and the way the club behaves in items such as new stadiums.” – Villa fans from football experts – Bet Star Bonus Code
Swindells said data like these, will allow the club do more effective inventory planning as well put in place the right staffing for the stadium. Besides, the club would also be able to tell fan’s routines before and after every match through their transactions. These data will ultimately serve as a useful guide in the club’s future branding and marketing decisions and programmes.
“Once you then begin to get adoption of the product into daily lives we have a huge data set to analyse and act upon,” Swindells explained.
He added that: “If we know that fans purchase a certain beer brand outside of Villa Park, why not ensure they are able to drink the same one inside the venue? Being able to serve up the relevant rewards to fans is important and shows that we care as much about the fans as they do about the club.”
Swindells said that once the routines of hardcore fans are well established using the generated data, the club can then integrate brand partners into its card’s point of sale or as loyalty rewards. He said it was all about incentivizing fans and moving them from the point of ‘likely buyers’ to ‘actual buyers’ for the club’s brand partners by making each brand a part of the reward scheme and offering fans benefits for each purchase.
The club’s head of data and insight revealed that they are already in discussion with FMCG brands, who are interested in going further beyond the traditional sports sponsorship model.
“We believe we are ahead of the curve in the ability to execute complex multi-strand marketing partnerships beyond the normal classic ‘sponsorship’ alignments,” Swindells said.