Fergus was able to do this because he sold us the dream – the dream of a fabulous new stadium, the dream of a wonderful team, the dream of mass fan ownership…basically the dream that things would be better and he did this through marketing. I vividly recall his pledge to bring back the missing thousands – and he did. I also recall the marketing being everywhere. My wife (to be) was going to do a post-grad in Aberdeen. We went to look for accommodation and bought a Press and Journal – a leaflet selling a season book at Hampden fell out of the paper.
In April of last year I wrote a piece entitled Death of A Salesman commenting that I could not believe that the people running our game couldn’t provide SKY with a product which would generate additional TV revenue. Compare Scottish football with a similar sized potential customer base product – Super League. How can Super League, with 40,000 fewer viewers per game obtain a BETTER SKY deal than SPL? Simple they offered SKY a product they wanted. (By switching to summer they gave SKY 18 – 35 yr old males at a time when EPL isn’t available).
I am not specifically saying that my idea of league format is the only one, nor that we should sell to the highest TV bidder at the expense of everything, but I cannot believe that better marketing would not produce more revenue. Or more specifically that if all involved in Scottish football spent the same effort promoting the game that they have promoting a rescue for RFC/Sevco we couldn’t AT WORST have minimal loss following the absence of RFC.
The Aberdeen Trust recently highlighted the impact of no RFC visiting Ibrox – an extra 300 season book holders! Just an additional 300 punters through the gates and Aberdeen would not experience a match-day drop in turnover. As Neil McCallum recently highlighted, this is replicated across the SPL, so instead of the whinging, where are the marketing campaigns to find those extra few hundred per club?
As for TV and other media – what a narrative the story of Scottish football could have. A once mighty giant, re-born as a phoenix club is dispelled to the bottom tier. Follow them as the try to regain the glories of the club they replace. Can they rebuild the club from nothing? What a story! Just think of the money that could be re-distributed through the lower tiers of our game and the incentive is surely there to find a structure to allow our elite club’s youngsters to play in those leagues as they experience a level of competition and finances not seen in decades – if ever.
From a purely cynical perspective we could re-introduce the Glasgow Cup to allow Celtic and Rangers to compete. How much money could be generated by a Celtic v Rangers* pay per view game at the start of each season generate?
These are all positive ideas I’ve heard on the web but NOWEHERE within mainstream media and more specifically those running our game. We’ve always known they take us fans for granted and this has been emphasized these past few months.
No-one is positively promoting our game, no-one is talking up the opportunities the RFC fiasco offers us to fix the system everyone used to agree was broken.
The last man to make a concerted effort to bring people back to our game was Fergus – and it worked. He didn’t do it by cheating. He didn’t do it by spending tax payers money. He did it by reminding football fans about their hopes and dreams. Scottish football needs some marketeers.