Cardiff City staff wearing Everton shirts. (@CardiffCityaway)
Newly promoted to the Premier League, Cardiff City are trying to encourage away fans to visit their four-year-old Cardiff City Stadium by making them feel like something more than unwanted cattle that should be treated suspiciously. To do this, they've taken matchday hospitality to the extreme in an effort to convince away supporters that they've entered a bizarro world version of their home ground. In Wales.
In a bid to attract more visiting fans, Cardiff have created an away end designed to make them feel at home. On arrival at the away car park, right next to the away end, fans are greeted by a "matchday assistant", who gives them all the information they need. Once inside the ground, fans are served food and drink by staff wearing their own team's home shirts, which are later presented to a lucky few. The food that fans are served has included local delicacies. Last season, Middlesbrough fans, for example, were treated to plates of Parmo, their favourite deep-fried chicken in breadcrumbs with a cheese sauce. [...]
"We appreciate South Wales is not the most accessible of places," Gorringe told The Independent. "It is a trek for everyone. You are looking at £100 minimum for a day out at football these days. We want them to know we value them for coming."
In addition to having staff wear the visiting club's shirts offering local delicacies, Cardiff — who are unbeaten in their two home matches against Man City and Everton this season — also provide a digital away fan guide, play highlight videos of the day's opponents in the away end and put up club specific posters thanking fans for traveling the exact distance of their journey. They also plan to build a stage in the away end so a band can play visiting supporters' songs of choice. In short, they're doing everything but offering free colonoscopies (coming 2015!).
And it seems to be working. On their way to winning the Championship last season, ticket sales for the away end increased 15 percent. Plus, it's reasonable to assume that fan trouble is less likely when they fee like they're being treated with respect and as guests at a game instead of enemy combatants.
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