London Sports Business Internship Blog #10: Day 4 at QPR

London Sports Business Internship Blog #10: Day 4 at QPR

Walking into the stadium

Walking into the stadium

9.21am White City tube. John Butler Trio ‘Bound to Ramble’
Got in at 9am today to follow up on some work from yesterday.
Sent off more emails and made calls to premier league and championship clubs regarding fan engagement , this has been a great way to network and add top industry people to my contacts list. Certainly a valuable asset if I’m looking to work in the sports business
EPL Quality Assurance Checklist

EPL Quality Assurance Checklist

After a few emails I had a meeting with two older lads who were ex Euro 96 and detective inspectors with the MET police but who now provide security consultations to stadiums across the UK. I was able to interview these guys in depth about the change in tactics of hooligan gangs and firms and found out interesting insights such as the rise with the problem of flares and smoke bombs in that children were being used as flare mules to carry this stuff in as well as how the firms and gangs had changed over time so that now the old boys don’t get involved as much yet train the young ones up to do the violence. However what was interesting was learning about the sociology of these groups in that usually they start young with the violence then ease off as they have kids but then kick back into it once they’re in their 50’s. Often the older lads are up for a bit of a fight however the young ones generally back off at the sight of police.
It was interesting to hear that when a team plays away they have a few local cops from their area who travel with the away supporters and who relate intelligence and information onto the home teams police. I was told that a big reason for this is that away supporters often think they’re invincible away from home however with a cop from home ready to yell at or warn a badly behaving away supporter it really does act as a deterrent as in ‘Oi you, i know you, stop it or you’re nicked’ anyway interesting stuff.
QPR trophy cabinet

QPR trophy cabinet

Got to talk to a few security people about the reason you don’t see many supporters wearing jerseys to games. When you watch these games live on TV in Australia and you see everyone rugged up and without a scarf you just think ‘oh its cold’ however the three main reasons for the lack of jersey wearing are;
1. Most pubs ban ‘colours’ in their establishments. When I went to a Liverpool vs PSV Champions League game in 2007 I was refused entry to a pub in the city centre on the basis I was wearing a reds/PSV combo scarf (i’m not a Liverpool supporter but love buying merch of games I attend) and just this year ahead of the QPR vs Wigan game I was told I couldn’t enter a restaurant for a pre game feed until I had removed the QPR jersey I had on (I also like to collect kits of teams I visit). The rationalizing behind this is that wearing club colours could cause violence amongst rival fans.
2. Wearing the jersey/colours can be seen as showing off your allegiance to your club to rival fans and could cause you to be singled out and harassed or worse.
3. The sheer cost of club jerseys has skyrocketed even since I first came to live here in 2006. Jerseys with badges, name and number are now upwards of £70-80 meaning that the average family or supporter just cant afford to buy a jersey. I bet you if you actually looked at each stand to see who wears their teams 2013/14 jersey it would be quite rare.
All in all I think this all shows that the team jersey as we know it, totally needs to be taken back to the drawing table. Not least so that the principal sponsors are able to get their brand out there. Either that or shirt sponsors should start advertising on Bench, North Face or SuperDry jackets!
Was nice to be told today how adaptable I am in that I’ve just got stuck in and asked for work and jobs from various departments. If I can make anyones job a bit easier then its fantastic and its great I’m doing some serious jobs and not just making coffee. Not that I’d mind that but my skills and life experience do illustrate that I know what I’m doing here in marketing, ent management and operations and that this is the career I need to focus on.
After lunch I had a fascinating chat with the support liaison officer about fan engagement and customer services and it was great to share my Pinterest site (www.pinterest/mrblairhughes) which i has been working on in the leas up to starting here with him.
QPR fan engagement

QPR fan engagement

I got a great insight into the PL’s Visit Football quality assurance scheme as well which is a marking system designed to assess various factors of a stadium and match day experience.
QPR pitch

QPR pitch

Found out that drugs such as cocaine are a huge and rising issue in football and ground management and that majority of the trouble happens outside the stadiums on match days rather than inside the grounds meaning that CCTV and police intelligence are vital tools in the fight against this bad behaviour.
Another top day at Loftus Road

About Blair Hughes

I'm a passionate advocate for fans and an authority in the fan engagement/experience space. I consult for global sporting leagues and teams around analysis, ideation and implementation to help deliver creative and innovative fan engagement solutions that grow fan bases and increase revenue opportunities. I'm an award winning marketer and accomplished writer who brings a diverse and creative approach to my consulting work as a result of a career and valuable life experiences gained from the education, sport, music and digital sectors.

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