Mark's Blog

Ten Ways to Grow Attendance in 2017/18

14th September 2017

Updated from last season, here are ten ways an established professional club can increase attendance. - Read more

Why you need to ask 'why?'

4th September 2017

I've updated a blog from 2013 on why a fundamental recognition of the differences between supporters & customers is vital if sustainable growth is to be achieved. - Read more

Values? What Values?

9th November 2016

A new blog on the sport business's curious relationship with 'values' - Read more

Ten Ways to Grow Attendances in 2016 / 2017

15th July 2016

Here's my latest blog (which also appeared in the latest edition of FC Business Magazine) and which is printed here with their permission. - Read more

How to Build a Fan Base

17th February 2016

The growth of the women's game in the UK is a testament to its focus on more than just the 90 minutes. Here's how I got hooked. - Read more

Guest Blog: What I Learned from Playboy (Daniel McGeachie)

17th February 2016

Daniel writes well on the challenges facing sports so I'm delighted he's contributed a guest blog today. - Read more

Football & Values

11th February 2016

My first blog of 2016 explores the role of values in football clubs. Why do so few embrace and espouse them & what does their absence say about clubs who don't have them? - Read more

Mystery Fans Required!

5th January 2016

In 2016 we have lots of opportunities for individuals & their families to attend sports fixtures and report on their experiences. Please read on below and email mark@bradleyprojects.com if you are interested. - Read more

From 'Chronicle' Craic to Non-Stop Consumption (FC Business Article)

1st October 2015

My latest FC Business magazine monthly column explores my consumption of sports media from my days delivering the Evening Chronicle to my '3 hours on line' daily habits of today. - Read more

Making Non League Day Happen Every Saturday

30th September 2015

Non League Day presents our smallest, least resourced clubs with a fantastic opportunity to promote their value to fans of higher league, larger professional clubs. But what if we could convert that annual spike into a era of sustainable growth? - Read more

What Football can learn from Ryanair

16th September 2015

Benchmarking engagement across different sectors is extremely valuable, but what could football learn from Ryanair? Here's a recent FC Business article. - Read more

Football's Moments of Truth

16th September 2015

This is a recent article written for FC Business magazine on the subject of 'touch points' and the need for clubs with aspirations for growth to start thinking this way. - Read more

Great Expectations

21st August 2015

We're at the start of another new season. What if what we did OFF the pitch this season made us special? Here's some reflections ahead of supporter-owned AFC Telford United's first game of the season. - Read more

iAmstupid

13th June 2015

Another oldie but goodie. The story of my first iPhone. - Read more

Conscientious Hecklers Required

13th June 2015

I wrote this back in 2008 (its age betrayed by so many dated references & written before exciting things like Twitter started to take up too much of my time), but I think it communicates a point about transparent & honest dialogue with 'customers' that's still holding back too may sports clubs. - Read more

Apps & Gaps: What's holding Fan Engagement back?

5th June 2015

My new blog examines Fan Engagement in the context of the development of customer focus & highlights the missing links that are holding our clubs back. - Read more

Bucking the Trend

3rd March 2015

This article appeared in AFC Telford United's match day programme last weekend (v Alfreton). Although it's Bucks-centric, it has relevance for any club wishing to grow through engaging its local community - Read more

Five million more fans (without winning)

5th February 2015

The extent to which family engagement has become a core business activity at football clubs is a testament to the sport's changing mindset. This blog explores the remarkable story behind a 30% increase in junior attendance in just 6 years. - Read more

Different is Better than Better

2nd February 2015

Inspired by the FA WSL's National Fan Panel, this new blog explores the advantages held by new and emerging sports. It's not just about doing better than other sports. It's about using the lack of historical and cultural constraints to produce something genuinely different. - Read more

The Art of Starting a Dialogue

18th December 2014

My latest ramblings focus on how best to create effective and positive club / supporter dialogue. - Read more

Sites for Sore Eyes

13th November 2014

Just who are our official club websites designed for? This new blog takes the 'customer' perspective and queries whether or not we've got it all there wrong way around. - Read more

My Dad, the Brand Warrior

7th November 2014

How relevant is the term 'brand warrior' in sport?My latest blog offers some thoughts on how clubs could achieve more sustainable growth by re-thinking their fan base as a recruitment asset. - Read more

When You're Smiling ...

17th October 2014

For the first time, I'm featuring a GUEST BLOG. Today's comes from Ryan Murrant (@ryanmurrant): one of the UK's brightest fan engagement practitioners. He's been experiencing the FAWSL for the first time and here are his thoughts. - Read more

The Power of the Small

5th September 2014

My new blog celebrates Non League Day but wonders whether clubs are doing enough to convert a short-term peak in attendance into a sustained increase in attendance. - Read more

‘We’re experiencing a particularly high volume of calls today.’

25th August 2014

A short blog on what my recent personal experiences tell us about the priorities of so-called service organisations. - Read more

Atmosphere and Fan Engagement

26th June 2014

Fans often perceive atmosphere (or a lack of it) to be their club's greatest 'off pitch' barrier to growth, but are we addressing the issue with sufficient objectivity, dialogue and experimentation? Here's the view from Fan Experience Company HQ (featuring fixings, flags and 'crazy cheer guy'. - Read more

By Design

23rd May 2014

A few words on why fan engagement will always fail unless it's built into the DNA of the organisation delivering it. If our co-workers, volunteers and supporters look around and see that we're serious about it, growth will follow. My concern is that it is still way down the list of priorities. - Read more

Absent Leader Syndrome

7th March 2014

A new blog on sporting club identity, values & decision making processes. - Read more

THE FAN EXPERIENCE COMPANY ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH FINAL THIRD SPORTS MEDIA

6th January 2014

Delighted to join forces with Chris, Steve and the team at Final Third. I think we complement each other well and I'm looking forward to combining Final Third's new media expertise with our strategic fan engagement expertise. - Read more

Why?

10th December 2013

We know what football is, but do we ever stop to ask the question: why? If football were a brand, it'd be the strongest, most enduring and emotionally powerful one on earth. So why don't we base our growth on our one true USP? - Read more

Saving Pilot Ryan

5th November 2013

Ryanair's recent conversion to 'customer service' prompts some thoughts on airline experiences. - Read more

The Missing Link

10th October 2013

If clubs want to develop better relationships with supporters, they need to start with their own employees. My latest blog exposes the missing link and highlights just how important employee engagement is to the world's best customer service providers. - Read more

Net Promoter & Sport

30th September 2013

What is 'Net Promoter' and is it a valid measure for engagement and growth in football? Yes and no. Read on ... - Read more

Football Lookalikes

27th September 2013

On a lighter note ... an article I wrote for the HTAFC Match Day Programme from a couple of years back. Think I got a lot of them right though. - Read more

Memories, Hopes & Dreams (Spain & the World Cup 2010)

27th September 2013

Wrote this shortly after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Another in a continuing series of our family's best sporting memories. - Read more

Unbeatable: How real loyalty is giving Cooperative Energy the edge in a deal loyalty world

17th September 2013

Privileged to have been asked by Coops UK to write this pamphlet on the power of the Cooperative promise and how it's helping Coop businesses to prevail in price-led markets. I think there is much that sport can learn here too. Please click on the link below to access the PDF of the report - Read more

Chef's Special

17th September 2013

Sports clubs who grow the fastest do so because they have the right culture but many see this as an endless (and insuperable) challenge. However at every club, there's an individual who epitomises everything that is good about the place. No better starting point for leading the charge. Here's my tribute to one of those people. - Read more

A Volk on the Wild Side

27th August 2013

One bad experience and it's perhaps unfair to make generalisations about an organisation's attitude to customers. Continuously poor service and I think that it's only fair to assume that the company simply hates customers. Here's the case for THIS customer. - Read more

Going Back to my (Grass) Roots

15th August 2013

Fan Engagement is not just something for the bigger professional clubs. Arguably, it's easier to do and more impactful at grass roots levels of sport. Here's my latest blog on the benefits of taking an external perspective at non-league and grass roots levels of football. - Read more

Vale of Cheers

28th July 2013

Doncaster Rovers are more than a year into their fan engagement programme, but at Vale Park things are just getting started and the initial focus is on families. - Read more

Defining Fan Engagement

11th July 2013

My latest blog looks at the term Fan Engagement and presents it as a strategic growth tool for sports clubs at every level from pro to grass roots. - Read more

Song of the Soul

26th June 2013

To celebrate Martin Stephenson's Glastonbury appearance this weekend (and the Daintees of course) here's an extract from Chapter 6 of Song of the Soul: The Official Martin Stephenson Biography (Ardra Press 2009) by Rich Cundill and yours truly. This isn't 'off message' at all. This is exactly how to engage with your supporters. Love him ... and then buy our book at www.ardrapress.co.uk. - Read more

Even more memories, hopes & dreams (final instalment)

26th June 2013

No one could have expected this story to go on and on. But it did. Here's the final take on my son's remarkable year as the boy who didn't 'even have a memory' to make him smile about the team he follows. - Read more

Rover and Over Again

24th May 2013

With the Government insisting on improved supporter engagement at Club level, maybe the lack of available authentic examples is holding people back. I think there's the basis of an effective approach in Doncaster Rovers' approach. Read on ... - Read more

Saints in the Family Way

21st May 2013

A few words on St Johnstone's success in this year's Clydesdale Bank Family Champions competition. What the clubs are learning about families, has wider implications for growing the Scottish game. - Read more

Mark's latest Yorkshire Post article

7th May 2013

Record Store Day is a fantastic idea but I hadn't reckoned it would make me long for queues again. - Read more

More Memories, Hopes and Dreams

5th May 2013

And we thought beating Villa at home would be the extent of my son's Bantams adventures this season. On the 40th anniversary of MY team's greatest ever achievement, here's the up-to-date version - Read more

How Cardiff made Welsh Capital of the Family Excellence Awards

30th April 2013

Today's judging of the 2013/14 Football League Family Excellence Awards winners seems a good time to review how this programme became a catalyst for remarkable change at Cardiff City. - Read more

Championship class ON the pitch, World Class OFF it.

29th April 2013

In the light of Doncaster Rovers' amazing mad minute on Saturday, please click here for my recent FC Business Magazine article on my work there over the past 12 months. - Read more

Another letter from an Away Fan

22nd March 2013

This letter was received by Doncaster Rovers (see my blog 'Becoming Rovers Again' for more on why this shouldn't surprise anyone). Short and sweet: but what it's about. in a nut shell. Life, family & everything - Read more

The (Puget) Sound of Fan Engagement

6th March 2013

First published in FC Business Magazine last summer and with thanks to Seattle Sounders' Bart Wiley (@bartwiley) here's an insight into one of the fastest growing Club sides in international football. - Read more

Reprise: That's Entertainment

12th February 2013

And another blog from a couple of years ago on some of the pre-match & half time entertainment that we've borne witness to. - Read more

Reprise: Something to chew on

12th February 2013

Here's something I wrote last year after several underwhelming concourse food experiences at football matches. - Read more

Fan(al) Retention

12th February 2013

Awful title, I know, but here are some thoughts on fan renewal and retention. - Read more

The Real Reason Season Ticket holders get annoyed at New Fan Pricing Initiatives

27th January 2013

Some thoughts on how a lack of genuine engagement is often behind Season Ticket Holders' criticism of new fan pricing strategies. - Read more

Becoming Rovers Again

22nd January 2013

The latest blog. I talked about fan engagement on TalkSport last night and only wished I had time to go into more detail. So here's a much more detailed insight into how it's worked at Doncaster Rovers. - Read more

Memories, hopes and dreams

11th January 2013

A little blog for my son Luis. Maybe it'll remind you of why you love football so much, even if your team never wins. - Read more

FXF 2012: Review

4th January 2013

Ahead of 2013's second ever Fan Experience Forum, here's my review of the inaugural event in Turin last year (originally published in June 2012). - Read more

How Football's becoming a Family Affair again

3rd January 2013

My latest Yorkshire Post article for those who were too distracted by my 50th birthday yesterday to buy a paper :) - Read more

Why Families?

26th December 2012

We do a lot of work with different fan segments, but we're known for our focus on families. This blog, adapted from its Summer 2012 original posting, explains why. - Read more

It's perceptions, stupid!

26th December 2012

Here's my latest @yorkshirepost article (published today if you're wandering around Yorkshire and Santa didn't bring you the new Ian Rankin book). - Read more

A letter from an away fan

18th December 2012

Today, with Cardiff City's permission, my blog is replaced by a letter from an away fan. You know, that breed that usually get treated with indifference, under the belief that it's somehow culturally appropriate. Not at Cardiff City FC. I wonder if this explains why a club who've been in the Championship for as long as people can remember, are seeing a 15% year on year increase in away visitors? - Read more

Is it a good time to write about Arsenal and Fan Engagement?

13th December 2012

A few words on why many football clubs miss the point about fan engagement. It's not about fan panels. It's about culture. - Read more

Supporter Liaison Officer: An opportunity for a different perspective

7th December 2012

Here's a blog I wrote earlier in 2012 on how I'd encourage clubs to think about the Supporter Liaison Officer role recently introduced as part of UEFA's FFP rules. - Read more

Getting the Measure of Growth

23rd August 2012

I remember when Cragrats won the Unisys / Management Today Service Excellence overall award in 2001. Only 2 years previously they’d been the best ‘small business’ in the UK and now here they were, big enough to battle it out with the 'best of the best'. - Read more

The Power of the Small

9th August 2012

Martin Stephenson is a troubadour, raconteur, folk music historian, songwriter and performer, as likely to appear in your front room as to be treading the boards at the local gig venue. - Read more

On the Road Again

19th July 2012

The world’s a strange place. Last week I wrote about Seattle Sounders and their mission to ensure every potential new fan could find an area in the stadium where he or she would find likeminded people. - Read more

Why expect growth when we're designed to win?

11th July 2012

Many years ago when I was a lead assessor for the Unisys / Management Today Service Excellence Awards a fellow judge told me ‘every organisation is perfectly designed to achieve its results’. - Read more

Exploring Sport's resistance to Customer Service

29th May 2012

Mixed metaphor time! If there’s one albatross around my neck that makes connecting sport with service excellence a Sisyphean task, it’s people’s misreading of the ‘customer service’ dimension. - Read more

Books

Inconvenience Stores Book

Inconvenience Stores is a unique service travelogue, exposing the best and (mostly) the worst of UK customer service.

Retails of the Unexpected Book

Retails of the Unexpected continues his unique service travelogue with a collection of essays, articles and real customer experiences.

The Song of the Soul Book

The Song of the Soul Mark Bradley and Rich Cundill's official biography of Martin Stephenson, the North East's most famous musical troubadour.

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