This article came in from one of our ardent readers who opted to remain anonymous. His position stems from the towering financial commitments expected from football fans in recent times.
Are football fans customers? I really want to throw up an agenda for academic and research discuss. What really is more important? The tickets and club branded products fans buy or their undying followership and support? Is there no customer trait in the fan-club fraternity after all the financial exchanges?
If being a fan amounts to one passionately showing support for a loved up team, then I would bother less. For sure, that’s how it is with the supporters or followers of politicians or social influencers.
But my question is triggered by the huge ticket fees that club followers must have to cough out just to watch their beloved clubs play and at the same time shower them with enormous support.
Dear fan, just how much does it cost to follow your team?
Let’s take the English Premier League (EPL) for instance. What’s your take on the expensive season ticket costs for these EPL clubs?
Will the fans still be tagged as followers if they fail to buy out these tickets? If football fans are merely fans, then why the ticket fees differentials for all clubs? Are Arsenal fans better followers than other club fans?
Football is today a big business. And what every business needs to remain profitable is an effective and consistent demand by customers. And then I want to ask, who are the customers of the football clubs? Are they the owners, players, workers or the fans?
Of course, the fans are closer to what one could tag as customers. Fans generate money… Buy tickets to watch live games and other team events… indeed, they are usually the long season ticket subscribers, they are the ones that purchase most of the team’s merchandise and contribute about 40% of the club’s income.
Someone argued that fans are integral parts of a team and must not be seen as customers. But another line of thought will want to know whether customers are not also integral parts of any business.
Players perform to make club fans happy. The same way companies produce to satisfy customers.
And if you think that it’s not about the money, then you may want to verify the reason why big clubs assemble big players with corresponding higher ticket fees.
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Fans are a combination of families and customers who subjectively devout their followership and support to their loving clubs.
It’s the irrational element found in fans that makes it difficult to classify them as customers. Customers are kings and they act rationally.
But for the financial commitments required from fans and the dependence of most clubs on such financing, the argument of fans being customers may not see the light of the day.
Finally, football is a highly commercialized social affair. The arguments that football does not have fans but customers and stakeholders are intensifying. And fans are getting impatient for positive results. At least, not after paying much to maintain their relevance as fans.
Let’s know your own view on this. Are football fans customers or not?