FFA research: What makes football fans tick?

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has launched a research project to better understand the game's fans and their matchday experience.

Active football supporters generate a unique atmosphere in Australian sport but are often at odds with the governing body.

Now the FFA has appointed Gemba and Futures Sport to undertake a ‘strategic research and insights program’.

FFA chief David Gallop said: “We are excited to be undertaking such an important project with respected business Gemba and Futures Sport.

“Our fans and the atmosphere they generate are one of our greatest assets and this research and insights program will underpin FFA’s fan engagement strategy going forward.

“It gives us a tremendous listening platform to better understand and engage with our fans and valuable information for our commercial partners to leverage effectively.”

Fans groups have frequently accused the FFA of supporting heavy-handed policing of active bays and curtailing vibrant aspects of fan culture in favour of a sanitised family-friendly atmosphere .

The most recent point of contention is restricting active support areas to club members.

Gemba was selected to provide a range of research outcomes spanning participation, the Hyundai A-League and the national teams and will manage the FFA’s consumer insights program for the next two years.

Gemba CEO Rob Mills said: “We are obviously excited about being appointed by the FFA to manage key components of their insights program. The FFA has a lot of momentum across all aspects of their organisation and we are looking forward to helping them with their next phase of growth.”

The appointment complements recent strategy work completed by Gemba for the FFA focussed around participation and commercial operations.

The firm - which has also worked with Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and the Melbourne Cricket Club - operates similar programs in 10 other markets globally.

In addition, Futures Sport, which works with football clients across a wide variety of major leagues worldwide, will provide a broad range of data and advisory services to the FFA.

The work will cover partner media valuation, consultancy on optimal partner signage artwork and understanding of fans’ match day experiences.

Futures will also build a bespoke dashboard to the FFA, providing the organisation with a best-in-class ability to view all of its data and reports in an easy-to-use format, updated weekly to provide the FFA with the very latest information.

Kevin Alavy, Managing Director of Futures Sport, said: “We’re super excited to be working with the FFA.  We share their vision and passion to translate football’s global popularity to Australia and are confident that the quality of our research will help them reach this goal.”