Sian Jones, Lucy Fahey, Phil Daly, Amy Herrison, Kym Hammond, Rachel Barker, Martyn Horwell, Andrea Green, Mark Cotton, Scott Johnson, Betty Greenwood, Julie Brimelow, Mark Nelson, Jeremy Wright, Paul Coward, Simon Whitehead and Sue Millard
Jane Shelmerdine, Ian Waterhouse, Danny Frank, Alistair Senior, Abigail Furniss and Gary Hetherington.
Introduction from Sian
• Explaining who everyone is; with a brief description about their involvement within the fans forum.
• Amy Herisson (Marketing Executive): came to the forum to talk about the Ambassadors branch meetings, what they involve and what they hope to achieve with the Leeds Rhinos and the future of branch meetings within Leeds Carnegie.
• Phil Daly (Media & PR Manager): came to deliver a presentation regarding social media for Leeds Rugby and the future.
• Kym Hammond (Fundraising Manager, Leeds Rugby Foundation): came along to see how things worked with the forum and would possibly like to attend a future meeting to explain fundraising for the foundation and what the money raised contributes towards.
Previous to the forum, fans had provided feedback from their own opinions and that of others -
• It was brought to our attention that the food on match days has become pricey and people feel the portions have got smaller. Many feel £6 is too expensive.
• Carnegie fans mentioned that at the start of the season the quality was good and had the Yorkshire feel, but after the 'on the road' games it has gone. It has been suggested that the fans are not only looking for full meals but also many are interested in a pie and pea option, as it is filling and cheaper. Mark suggested the pies which are served in the sports bar would be a good option to have in the café bar as a snack option.
We will pass this feedback onto the relevant departments within Headingley Experience/Sodexo and also the suggestions for what food fans would like see in the café bar. Fans would also like to see value for money.
• Sian mentions to the forum to have a think and pass on to other fans to do the same and send through ideas of what they would like to see in the café bar which can be value for money and kept to a budget, If fans would like to send these through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Rhinos fans mention the choices of food vans they get on a game day and how they enjoy the selection. Carnegie fans mention they would like the same selection, but they understand until the crowds grow it will not be possible, and for the moment concentration should be on the Café Bar and getting the numbers in there.
• Leeds Carnegie fans wanted to say thank you for listening to them and giving the 50% discount for the renewal of season tickets. They said it proved that Leeds Rugby have listened to what the fans want.
Home and away kits for both codes:
• Leeds Rhinos fans have asked the question if they can have some input into the new kit for the 2014 season.
Sian has explained if they would like to put ideas forward they can do for the 2015 kit. They can forward ideas through to members of the forum or email ideas through to email@example.com.
• Carnegie fans have been told there will be new kits, these will be keeping to tradition but also injecting something different into the away kit.
This created a positive and intrigued hype.
• Gerry brought forward that the club should consider producing something similar to a red envelope day, something which fans can pay for as a different experience. It could include something where fans train with the players, or have lunch with them. It could promote interaction between the fans and the players but also could generate money for the club. This idea will be suggested to the club.
• Rachel has brought positive feedback for the fans village, many people including her like it and said it's a good meeting point and thinks in summer it will be really good. This has been backed up by Danny (who couldn't attend the meeting due to a broken leg, but after speaking to him on the phone) said he has had many people tell him the duo who are on the microphone and provide the music in the fans village create a fun atmosphere and many enjoy the interaction with the fans.
• Simon then went on to mention he actually didn't know where the fans village was, it was stated it might be an idea to let people know about the village and promote it more on a match day. Amy suggested a text message could be sent out on match day as a reminder or at a certain game to make the village a focal point and create publicity for it.
• Prices have been questioned as drink prices seem to be more expensive. This only seems more expensive as Headingley Experience now provide the catering service and have different prices compared to the supporters club which used to be there, Headingley Experience have to promote a consistent price around the ground.
• Some people have said it seemed intimidating with the loud music and guys on the microphone. This is down to Personal preference
• Jeremy has questioned why we played 8 of our 13 games in the first 2 months.
Unfortunately this is a scheduling issue that occasionally leads to issues like this. Sharing a cricket ground obviously impacts on the dates we can schedule games on, especially with a Test match and one day international here this year. We also need a window in the season for the annual renovation of the pitch which further cuts down the options available to us, not to mention also this year having to include World Club Challenge.
• The PA system gets questioned often, that there is a poor quality but it has been noticed there has been an improvement.
Sian explained the PA system has been checked lately and it is continuously having work done on it. Sian commented if there is anytime the fans feel the PA system is not great quality from specific stands then let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Martin asked the question of why the clock does not stop when the ref calls time at the Leeds Carnegie games.
Phil has said we have invested a considerable amount of money to make sure that the official timing mechanism used in Super League and the Aviva Premiership can be used on the big screen and be accurate to the official timekeeper. Unfortunately in the Championship there are no timekeepers and having asked the RFU for permission to use the official timing system for all our home games in the Championship we were denied permission because it is not available at all grounds.
• Simon has mentioned Warrington & Bradford; the Carnegie terrace has been uncomfortably full! It seemed too many people are arriving late and noticed a rise in bad language used!
Sian explained about the vomitories in the South Stand and the 15 minute closure before the game, said it is a bit more difficult to do that in the Carnegie Terrace.
• Rachel commented the closure of the South Stand vomitories has been great and it really makes a difference for the match day experience.
Feedback on the Fans Forum
• Sian mentioned that as it has been a year the fans forum has been in place, it would be a good chance to put forward opinions on how it has been run, and whether we should continue as we are or make some slight changes to improve.
• Mark made a recommendation of having the codes forums separate as they both have different issues for both clubs. Jeremy agreed explaining he disagrees with lots of feedback brought up as it differs for each team.
• Everyone within the forum agrees we should keep some of the forums together and every so often have a couple which are separate. Gerry mentioned we shouldn't separate the two codes all the time as it's after all a fans forum for LEEDS RUGBY.
• As there are less people on the Leeds Carnegie forum, Sian asked the question if the forums are separate, would they need to recruit more people, the response was
"They feel they have a good communication with the fans and they don't need more people".
• Rhinos have said the same for their forum.
• It was decided; the next Fans Forum will include both codes and within it will be decided what happens when going forward.
Amy Herission - Presentation and Explanation about the Leeds Rhinos Ambassadors Scheme
Primary Objectives -
• Provide opportunities for fans to further engage with Club
• Greater presence within the community
• Create more Rhinos fans
• Convert more fans to MEMBERS & SEASON TICKET HOLDERS
There are 5 branches which Leeds Rhinos are using to branch out the Ambassadors scheme -
• Community Clubs
• Supporter Branches
• North Yorkshire
How it works: Using Community Club Example -
• Improve standards (e.g. Coach Education)
• More players (Leeds Rugby Foundation initiatives to drive registrations)
• Further engagement (e.g. play at half time)
• More fans (2 tiered approach: club ambassadors promoting & converting Leeds rugby Foundation initiatives into ticket sales)
Supporter Branches -
• Enlisting 'ambassadors' within the community to promote the Rhinos
• Opportunity for fans to engage with others in their community
• Shared travel options
• Special offers & invitations to exclusive events e.g. stadium tours
The aim and what will hopefully happen over time -
• Army of Rhinos Ambassadors to promote the Rhinos - word of mouth rather than top line advertising
• Creating more fans & a Rhinos community
• After this presentation, the obvious question was raised as to why there was an ambassador's scheme for Leeds Rhinos and not Leeds Carnegie - The launch of the Leeds Rhinos Ambassador Scheme this year coincided with Leeds Rhinos' 3 Year Development Plan, that aims to increase registered rugby league player numbers and improve standards within Leeds. One of the four primary objectives of the plan is to convert our community activities into match attendance and ultimately 1000 new season ticket holders over the next 3 years.
Although the 3 Year Development Plan will focus on club and school ambassadors we have decided to expand the scheme to incorporate businesses and supporter branches where the core concept (enlisting an ambassador to promote the Rhinos) is relevant.
Our Leeds Rugby Foundation are in the process of developing a similar 3 Year Plan for rugby union development in Leeds and surrounding areas. This has yet to be finalised. On the back of this plan a tailored Leeds Carnegie Ambassador Scheme will be introduced. In the meantime our recent expansion into North Yorkshire has identified a number of dual code opportunities. These include establishing supporter branches and school partnerships to focus and promote both clubs. We are also looking to build on our established relations with community clubs for season 2013-14.
Ultimately the success of the Ambassador Scheme relies heavily on recruiting enthusiastic ambassadors who are willing to volunteer time to promote their respective club. Finding these unique individuals is one of the hurdles both schemes will face while ensuring we continue to provide enticing experiences to drive match attendance and ultimately season ticket memberships.
Phil Daly - Presentation on Leeds Rugby, Media and Social Media
Phil explained about who worked in the department, Himself and Leanne Flynn.
• He then went on to explain the different methods which Leeds Rugby use for media, starting off with the newspaper. He explained the reason the PR department cannot always get the top stories in the Yorkshire Evening Post, this being the deadline for the paper is 3pm the day before, and so a lot of the top stories are put online instead.
Responsibilities from PR and Media lay in the hands of 2 people, Phil and Leanne. Their responsibilities' include the programmes for both codes, the websites for both codes and also all of the social media sites:
• And more
• Phil asked if anyone had any questions or comments
• Mark commented about the technology and the speed of getting the information but would like to know if it was still possible to have access of archived records from the past, Phil explained one of the bonuses with Sotic (the company which Leeds Rugby use for their websites) is that they have the such a large database so archiving records is a lot easier and more organised.
• Simon gave his thanks to Phil and his team for the post-match interviews which they do, he said he really enjoyed them and loved the fact they were given such brutally honest questions and answers.
• Mark has asked about the fact that York Press did not have any coverage about Monday's game. Phil explained about Stuart Martel, the Press sports editor knows Leeds well having covered Leeds Tykes in his previous job. Phil suggested fans contact the paper to ask for more coverage, but Mark and Martin both said they had done this but never received a reply, and believed there was a conspiracy to keep Leeds rugby union out of the paper. Phil to pick up with Stuart ahead of next season.
After the comfort Break the Fans Forum were awarded with a 1 year anniversary present. Betty Greenwood unfortunately is leaving the forum so we presented her with some flowers to say thank you for her time. And then had a photo taken:
A break for refreshments before the Carnegie/Rhinos break out tables were formed
• Carnegie Fans were talking about the fans experience questionnaire. It was brought to the attention that if the questionnaire would be broke into three parts and not be so long this would help get the numbers in. And keep the fans bringing their honest opinions forward without losing interest.
• It should be 10 questions long but have 3/4 vital questions within each questionnaire.
• The forum suggested fans had chance to fill the questionnaire in at home games and handed it in to the forum in return for a raffle number and after each questionnaire is handed in, a raffle is drawn so there will be an incentive to fill it in properly.
• Leeds Carnegie fans mentioned that for the next season the forum is going to keep giving feedback on all areas to be able to hit the nail on the head for what fans would like to see at the home games pre and post-match.
The Rhinos fans were discussing season ticket memberships:
The Rhinos fans were having a thought shower about the pros and cons of season tickets and how they could improve them for the future.
They were asked why they purchased a season ticket:-
• They like that it makes them feel part of it
• Gives fan identity
• Guaranteed position every week
• Guaranteed final tickets
• Simon stated he was hugely passionate about where the money goes- There should be more success stories about where the season ticket money goes to help promote.
• Proves loyalty to the club
Sian suggested the possibility of categorising matches to improve the values for money when purchasing a membership. There would be two categories, whereby the match games would be split into A and B (A being the more popular games and B the less) There would be different price categories dependant on the area of the ground.
Below is the example without the price bracket
Salford City Reds
• Flexi pack - Hybrid of Bronze and Silver - Top up membership which starts with a small number of games already part of the package
This was brought up as a suggestion that fans could buy a certain amount of games, and could be flexible when using them.
So 5 games can be chosen for this type of membership from either A or B but it is price dependent on the area of the ground and also how many games from each category.
Opinion from Forum from that suggestion - Categorising matches is a bad idea it would mean the Cat A matches would start to creep towards football prices.
Idea from the Forum - Family season membership (2 adults and 2 kids)
It was getting very late and the meeting had gone on longer than planned so it was promptly adjourned with the last bit of information that the next meeting is on the: 8th August 2013