The Fan Survey: Ten Years On

12 July 2019

In 2009 we teamed up with KNVB Expertise to launch the first-ever Fan Survey in the Netherlands. The Dutch Fan Survey was developed on the model of the National Fan Survey as set up by the Football Association (FA) in England. The aim is to provide structural insight into the views and opinions of football fans and help football clubs improve the experience of fans.

Tracking the experience of professional football fans since 2009

We are now ten years on and the tenth Fan Survey was carried out last season together with KNVB Expertise, Coöperatie Eerste Divisie, Eredivisie CV and all professional football organisations. Back in 2009, the Fan Survey was a completely new challenge for clubs and most hadn’t a clue what to do with the results. That’s why KNVB Expertise initially put a lot of time and effort into helping them get to grips with the Fan Survey. And with success. Because today, the clubs look forward with interest to receiving these annual insights, with many taking positive action on the feedback. In short, the Fan Survey has become a much-valued fixture in the ongoing drive to enhance fan experience.

Each year we invite the registered supporters of all clubs to share their views and opinions about their experiences as fans in an online questionnaire. As well as season ticket holders, the cohort also includes buyers of single match tickets and recipients of club newsletters. About 300,000 supporters in total receive an email inviting them to take part in the Fan Survey. During the survey period, the questionnaire is also available on www.fanonderzoek.nl so that everyone has a chance to give clubs their feedback. With about 50,000 supporters participating each year, the response rate is high. Clearly, supporters welcome this opportunity to share their experiences about their favourite club.

The Fan Survey is identical for all 34 professional football clubs. Each fan gets the same questions, though the text (club name, etc.) and lay-out (logos) of the questionnaires are adapted to their own club. The emails sent to fans also have a club-specific lay-out.

The Fan Survey covers all aspects of the football fan’s customer journey, including:

  • the atmosphere in the stadium
  • catering
  • communication from the clubs via various channels
  • sense of safety in the stadium
  • social activities of the club
  • the fan shop
  • the kids club

Crucially, there is also space for giving the club suggestions on various aspects.

The advantage of using a single universal questionnaire is that we can put the results in a relevant perspective for individual clubs. The final report sent to the club not only indicates their own outcomes compared to previous seasons, but also those of the division in which they are active and those of a relevant benchmark (the average score of selected comparable clubs). This benchmark (result of a cluster of clubs) enables us to put the results in a clear context for each club. Ajax, for instance, may be less interested in a comparison with FC Emmen and VVV-Venlo, but will be keen to see how they are doing compared to PSV and Feyenoord.

In the past ten years, various public reports based on the Fan Survey have also been posted online. These reports can be found here on the website of KNVB Expertise.

We have gathered together several key insights from the past ten years of the Fan Survey for Eredivisie and Keuken Kampioen Divisie in two infographics. You can view the infographics here.

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