The off-field team at Hull City are bidding to build on the club’s success following this year’s takeover by bringing a specialist local company to drive digital sales and profile.
The club says the partnership with digital performance marketing business 43 Clicks North will aim to increase revenue from memberships, merchandise and match-day ticket sales.
Mike Ellis, managing director of 43 Clicks North, said the deal strengthens the company’s expanding activities in the world of sport and will also support his efforts to develop Hull’s pool of digital talent.
Jamie Thomas, Hull City’s marketing manager, said the club has started the new season brightly on and off the pitch under Acun Ilicali, the Turkish media and entertainment entrepreneur who bought the club in January.
Sales of memberships have climbed to 12,500 from 8,500 last season and average attendance for the first three home games is more than 17,000 compared with 12,000 last season.
Merchandise sales have also rocketed, with fans clamouring to buy replica kit including the “blackout” design shirt, which use has been extended a further season due to its popularity.
Jamie said: “We have seen a huge surge in interest for memberships and match-day tickets since the end of last season and we want to push that a bit further if we can. The atmosphere at the first two games of this season has been so impressive with the increased attendance and new stadium layout.
“The membership campaign will run for most of the remainder of this calendar year and if we need extra support to sell tickets for certain matches we can do that.
“With retail the chairman has made a big investment into the amount of stock we have ordered to avoid some of the slight issues we had last season with unexpectedly high demand for certain items.
“Credit too to Corendon Airlines, the new front of shirt sponsors who agreed to continue the blackout design and for allowing us to use a monochrome version of their logo. The new home kit has gone back to a retro feel and has been well received, as has the away kit, which pays homage to the strips of the 1980s.
“It’s always a nervous time launching a new kit but this is one of the most successful we have done, but it’s not just replica kit – there’s training wear and other items that fans have not seen previously which will be available soon.”
Jamie added that the club is also exploring international markets.
He said: “Our retail offering can have an impact globally and Acun wants to take more merchandise to Turkey so we will see what we can do with that. We already do quite well in areas such as the US, Australia, the Nordic countries and other areas of western Europe. Expanding into new markets is another target of these digital campaigns.
“Our membership subscription model is only operated by one other club in the EFL but 43 Clicks North have experience of it from their work in other sports. That’s why we chose them, along with the fact that we always try to maintain good relationships with our local community.
“We’re acutely aware of the need to balance expanding the club’s brand recognition globally with still being a cornerstone of the city that we represent. This includes continuing to work with local businesses such as 43 Clicks North.”
43 Clicks North agreed a deal earlier this year to promote match ticket sales for Leeds Rhinos. Mike said the move into football is significant and will see the company use its skills in paid social and paid search to engage Hull City’s online audiences and provide them with the best experience possible.
He said: “The purpose is to provide digital performance marketing for businesses and it’s not just about the bottom line. It’s about trying to unblock the challenges to a business and drive real, measurable performance by creating new customers and increasing customer retention across the board.
“Our mission statement is to put Hull on the map in a digital world by building an eco-system of digital knowledge that benefits the city itself, with more talented people to support local businesses to enter the digital foray in the right way.
“There’s still such a gulf between the top and entry level and this deal is a huge opportunity for us to address that because we’re working with a big name in the city which has undergone a change of ownership, generating a positive feeling which we can enhance.
“We already do some work in sport, which is interesting and has always been part of my life in terms of playing and following. When you look at how football portrays itself on a global scale it’s clear more sports clubs need that type of help and there is much more we can do.. We are keen to be involved in more sports clubs and help to make sure they have the right talent and people on board.”
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Hull City memberships or match tickets can visit the club’s website www.wearehullcity.co.uk. Replica kits and other merchandise can be purchased in-person from the Tiger Leisure store at the MKM Stadium, or online at www.tigerleisure.com.