Football is big business. For some it’s no longer just about a game where 22 players kick a ball around a pitch.
Nowadays it’s wining and dining in the privacy and comfort of executive boxes or ensuring your company’s name and logo appear to a large audience in the match programme or perimeter boards.
Welcome to football in 2013 and at Kenilworth Road it’s the job of the Hatters’ commercial manager David Hoskins to deal with demand of 300 corporate customers each week who expect the highest quality service.
A vast array of packages to suit all supporters’ tastes are available throughout the year and – if you’re feeling especially romantic – the ground even holds a licence to hold your wedding...
But whether or not you fancy getting hitched by the Hatters, there’s plenty of choice available, as David explains to the official website.
Official website: David, how long have you been at Kenilworth Road and what exactly is it you do?
David Hoskins: This will be my sixth season at the club, having joined in the summer of 2008. My role is to look after the majority of the commercial activity at the club, from seasonal to matchday sponsorship and hospitality, to advertising and event management. I’m also the buyer for the club shop, which means sourcing new merchandise available to sell. The gnomes have been a great hit!
OS: Putting garden gnomes to one side for a minute - there are plenty of corporate options open to supporters, especially on a matchday. Tell us about them.
DH: Where do I start? We have seasonal and matchday packages available throughout the season in the John Moore Lounge, Millennium Suite and the Eric Morecambe Lounge – not to mention executive boxes, which are available on either a seasonal or matchday basis.
One of our most popular packages with supporters throughout the season is the chance to be mascot and we’ve already taken a number of bookings for games next season. Children get to meet all the players and get their autographs before leading the team out onto the pitch. No wonder we receive so many enquiries.
OS: With eight new players signed this summer has player sponsorship been popular?
DH: Definitely. The change in playing personnel this summer has certainly seen a rise in the interest in player sponsorship. We offer supporters the chance to sponsor a players’ home or away kit, as well as goalkeeper’s gloves. A number of players are already fully sponsored-up but a few do remain...but be quick! Click here for a list of who is up for grabs.
OS: That’s not the only kind of sponsorship available though, is it?
DH: No. As a club we are lucky to have a number of high-profile and loyal companies that wish to advertise with us in different mediums. Sponsorship perimeter boards offer maximum exposure, not only to the supporters inside the ground but also to the wider world. Last season three matches were televised live at Kenilworth Road, including the fifth round FA Cup tie with Millwall to a worldwide audience of millions. With BT Sport on board screening live Football Conference fixtures – which already includes our home match with Grimsby on 7th September – the coverage of the club is set to continue next season.
Furthermore, our programme won one of the programme of the year awards last season and advertising in our official matchday publication offers companies a different way of reaching their audience. Over 2,000 copies are sold each match: that works out at 46,000 pairs of eyes reading it over the season - and that’s if just one person reads each copy.
OS: What can supporters expect to see differently this season?
DH: It seems silly talking about it as we bask in British summertime, but we’ll be offering Christmas parties to companies throughout December. Booking are now being taken and, for £28 per head, a three course menu is available. The dates in December that are available are 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th.
OS: During this series of reports we have explored the changes throughout the club this summer. Is it true that many of the improvements around the club will have a direct impact on your department?
DH: Absolutely. As Peter Kemp has told us, the aesthesis of Kenilworth Road have been improved greatly over the course of the close season. His job is more than just adding a lick of paint to the place but, from a commercial point-of-view, that’s exactly the kind of thing that our customers will notice. For example every executive box has been redecorated.
One of the major changes at the club this summer, however, has been the decision to bring catering in-house. David Romans and his team have created a new menu which will vastly improve the dining experience in all of our suites and lounges. The food – a lot of it locally produced – will be cooked on site with the use of new kitchen equipment.
All of these changes will enhance the overall hospitality experience of watching Luton Town each week and, as ever, we welcome your feedback throughout the course of the season. At the end of the day we want you to enjoy and keep coming back!
And if you’re interested in any sponsorship or hospitality packages then please do get in touch and give me a call on 01582 411622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.