In addition to hosting two Rugby World Cup Pool B games on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September, Brighton hosted a fanzone on Brighton Beach for three days from Friday 18th through to the 20th.
It was an opportunity for ticket holders and non-ticket holders alike to experience the game on a large screen and also to test their rugby skills on various exhibits.
Akin to a mini-festival, there was music, stalls, food and drink.
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Rugby England were out in force, promoting the game and letting the public know where their local clubs were. The reason for this was so that they could promote to people where to play the game (in either full contact or touch versions), help out with volunteering or just when their local team plays so they can get along.
When football clubs are looking to expand their fanbase, particularly lower league clubs, the fanzone concept appears to be a vehicle that could be recycled to engage people who aren’t necessarily football or sports fans. It could similarly be used for lapsed fans who have fallen out of the love with the game.
Leave a lasting legacy?
The FA and the Football League should take a long look at how they engage. Many football stadiums are not in city centres anymore. But by providing a fanzone style event on a regular or semi-regular basis, involving local councils and businesses, is a way to generate goodwill, brand awareness and most importantly, new fans paying at the turnstiles.
At the Rugby World Cup fanzone, many came as non-believers but left as fans. It seems an idea that the football powers that be should at least consider.
Do you think this would be a good idea for The FA and Football League to get involved in? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below
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