If the price tag on Premier League corporate boxes is anything to go by, it seems there’s no shortage of businesses willing to become fully-fledged members of what Roy Keane once famously dubbed the Prawn Sandwich Brigade. At Emirates Stadium for example, expect to join a waiting list for the chance to spend at least £72,000 on a 10 to-15 person box, complete with private dining experience. Up at St James’ Park, you can treat your most treasured customers to “the matchday experience that Newcastle United is renowned for” at a rather more modest £22,000 a season.
So is it worth it? For business owners who also happen to be massive fans, opting to buy a corporate box at their ‘theatre of dreams’ is hardly the most dispassionate business decision they will ever make. But what about from an organisational point of view? If you’ve got a certain amount in your events pot, is football your best bet? We take a look…
You may not be able to please all of the people, all of the time – but with football, you’re likely to be on pretty safe ground with a fair chunk of your client base. So far as the nation’s appetite for live sporting events is concerned, the latest figures are encouraging: attendances at professional events were up by 3% to 67 million last year – and football topped the stakes at 42.8 million separate attendances.
There’s more to life (and executive boxes) than football
State of the art premises covered by sports insurance, a champagne reception, private a la carte menus (seldom featuring prawn sandwiches), lounge areas for quiet chats… for fair weather fans – or even for those individuals who have no real interest in the game, there are far worse surroundings in which to spend an afternoon.
A one-stop-shop for your events
Barring the quiet summer months, once you have a box, you have an events option at your disposal all year round. No more time and resources wasted on organising something from scratch each time you have a group of clients to entertain.
A staff morale booster
Whether as the star prize for a regular office competition, an employee of the month award or simply a way of giving under-appreciated individuals a pat on the back from time to time, remember that executive boxes aren’t just for clients.
The dangers of taking your clients for granted…
Beware the risk of a corporate box becoming too automatic an option. You’ve put in the hard work in focusing on a target market niche before converting the client and building a relationship. You then put a dampener on things by sending an invite to an event, which, from what you ought to know about this particular client, is a totally inappropriate fit.
…or of grading your clients in a totally transparent way
To illustrate this, imagine the following thought going through the mind of your client: “Last year we were invited to the Leicester game. This year it was Stoke. What do we have to do to watch Chelsea?!”
When Saturday comes…
Not many of us turn down a fun day away from the desk. It’s just that on a Saturday many of us have other options vying for our attention. Outside of the Premiership, matchday tickets are generally easy to come by – and you may find that those clients who are interested in going to games have already made their own arrangements with their own groups. No matter how pleasant the surroundings, can spending the afternoon with work contacts compete with sitting with your mates?
An expensive albatross?
Once you factor in bar bills and other expenses, your spend in this area can soon start to creep gradually skywards over and above the basic box purchase price. If you’ve maxed out on your entertainment budget, your scope for arranging one-off events away from the stadium is effectively eliminated – unless, of course, you are able to find additional funding from other areas of your budget.
With any corporate entertainment option, your aim is to provide a memorable experience – and one which reinforces your own brand image. Assuming you’ve taken the time to find out what actually interests your clients, an executive box may be just the ticket. Just be wary about blowing your entire budget on a single solution.