Programmes - Alive And Kicking!!

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

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For our first blog post I want to discuss a very relevant topic - the role of football programmes at matches nowadays, specifically in non-league. Obviously, it's a topic close to my heart, and one which directly affects how FootiePrint will grow as a business.


It's true that some clubs have decided to not print programmes at games. They have a basic team sheet, or a digital version.


For me, programmes have been, are currently, and always will be an essential part of the experience at a football match. I've not been to a game recently were a programme was not on sale. But if I did, I'd be gutted. I've bought a programme at every game I have ever been to. Whether Premier League, internationals, cup finals, non-league or even junior games where one was produced. Heck, I even bought one at a level 9 game in Spain ... and I can't even read Spanish! I can't imagine not having one tucked in my back pocket (or safely placed in a water-proof folder!) while attending a game.


But too, I can understand the need for clubs to cut costs. Having been previously involved with non-league clubs for the best part of 15 years, I had many discussions with financial bods and those who hold the purse-strings. They were always hard discussions, especially if the number-cruncher isn't a programme person. "You must cut pages/costs/quantity," is how it usually goes. And for the most part you have to just do it, no matter how your programme quality suffers, or how many comments you get from upset fans on social media or (as happened to me) in letters to my home!


And usually it's because the club needs more money for players, transport, etc. Programmes are usually on the list of expendable expenses. So over the years, I have formulated ways to make it work for me and the clubs I was involved with.


Physical programmes will always win out over digital versions

The key aspect of a programme on a match day is that it is the club's main communicative link to the supporters physically at the ground. It's where you provide your promotional info, contact info, sponsors, fixtures, and much more besides. Images from games, quizzes, stats. Yes... all this can be found online and easily accessed at the touch of a screen. I'm not a technophobe - far from it. I worked in online media for many years.


But on a match day it's impossible for club officials to go round and talk to the supporters one by one. The programme gives a catch-all opportunity to interact with the clubs' most important people (the fans, obviously!), on a day when they are all gathered in one place. It breeds actual face-to-face discussions in the bar or on the terraces. And in a world where our interactions are slowly (and sadly) becoming more digitised and pixelated, surely that's something worth fighting for!


Going to a football match without reading a programme, but checking out the digital version later is like going to the cinema, closing your eyes while the trailers are on, but then watching them when you get home on YouTube.

So one of my goals in creating FootiePrint has been to help provide non-league clubs with high-quality programmes, printed on nice silk paper, with a gorgeous and functional bespoke design.... but doing so at a cost they can afford, with a package that might just help them create income for the club. Not just from sales on a match day, but also through increased sponsorship and advertising within the programmes themselves. Another goal of mine, in the interests of full disclosure, is to become a successful business - but I won't fleece clubs and charge extortionate design and print fees to do so. FootiePrint is a fair business with fair practices.


My formula to help clubs lower programme costs, increase sales and create income is as follows:


  • Create a product people want to buy

  • Focus on high-quality imagery and good content - picture spreads, manager columns, opinion pieces, etc

  • Work with a designer/printer who knows about the product, is reliable, and has a fair pricing structure.

  • Don't over-order the amount you need. If you have a 400 average attendance, order 150 copies. Between 35%-45% of attendees will want a programme, and you will need a few for officials, sponsors, etc.

  • Got copies left? Get them on eBay, or sell them in your club shop for a discount at the next game.

  • Promote the programme well - tell people what's in it, where they are on sale and for how much.

  • Build up a sales team - don't just have them on a table in the bar or in one spot. Got two entrances? You need two sellers! Maximise the chances of selling to everyone, and have a sales team which smiles and is enthusiastic!


FootiePrint can help a club make approximately £4,000+ per season from programme sales alone, based on a club having a 32 page programme, selling out 200 copies per match at £2 per copy. That might sound excessive for some clubs with smaller attendances. So how about £1,200 income from just 100 copies? That amount of money can be vital to many clubs. We can show you how much you can make with a quality programme from FootiePrint.


I'll not lie - it takes hard work from volunteers and club officials to get it right. But I want to help those people save time and make money for their club. All they need to do is contact me to set the ball rolling for next season. I'm looking forward to working with some great people at some great clubs!


Thanks for reading. Please comment if you can! Jamie, FP

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