Earlier this month the latest Leeds Rugby Fans Forum was held at Headingley Carnegie Stadium to discuss Leeds Carnegie specific issues. Here are the minutes from the meeting.

Fans Forum Meeting Wednesday 11th June

Fans Forum Members Attendees:
Attendees: Andrea Green, Ian Waterhouse, Jane Shelmerdine, Scott Johnson
Non-Attendees: Mark Cotton , Martyn Horwell,

Leeds Rugby Attendees:
Sian Jones (Head of Customer Experience & Meeting Chair), Hollie Fisher (Customer Experience Sales Assistant / Minute taker)

Introduction from Sian:
Sian welcomed all to tonight’s meeting, thanking all for coming. Both Mark and Martyn send their apologies for not being able to attend this evening.
On tonight’s agenda we will start with the general feedback and move on to some planning.
Sian: To start tonight’s feedback I would like to express my apologies for the delay in getting out the last meetings minutes. These will be sent out as soon as possible.

Feedback from Scott Johnson:

People are asking when they can buy season tickets, people are assuming its 1st July because of the name change date but it’s not confirmed anywhere that I can find.
Sian: The launch of season tickets will be the 1st July, along with the Logo. We are at this stage unsure if we will be revealing the kit on this date. What is your opinion on this? Should we wait until people can buy it?

Ian: I would suggest giving fans a date of when they can purchase.
Andrea: I feel we need a massive launch, we have been quiet lately.
Sian: These days players are accessible through social media, so it means it is hard to keep things a secret. We are desperate to have a big launch, particularly with all the changes happening. We want to get everything out there for the fans.
Sian: We have given drawings of kits out to fans before, which hasn’t always worked well.
Jane: We have to do one or the other.
Ian: It can be hard; when it is first revealed people will say yes or no then they will most likely come round to liking it.
Sian: I have our Head of Retail, Lee, looking into possible cotton jersey versions of the shirts. The playing shirts are polyester which not everybody loves. We are hoping we can do something more like the long sleeved green and white hoop jerseys, as we feel it will suit our fan base.
Scott: In the past England have shown little bits of the shirt over a week or so period.
Sian: If I am honest, these methods haven’t had much impact in the past.
Sian: Big reveal, 1st July.
Andrea: Can fans come to the launch?
Sian: Probably not, it will just be press but I will confirm this.

Feedback from Ian Waterhouse

Will the fans forum be changing? What is happening?

Sian: Will remain as it is with the group forum then the separate code meetings. There is no change with my position, and I want to carry on how we are. I will be treating everything the same. There will be differences as we class ourselves as Leeds Rugby, for a period of time we will be in a transition.
Forum: Happy to keep going as we are.
Feedback, Cost of Season Tickets:
Sian: Will go on sale 1st July, cost same as two years ago, no different, no half price season tickets.

Feedback from Scott Johnson:

Martyn may have already asked you as he has posted in a thread on the Message Board, quite a few Carnegie Fans have received Rhinos mail through the post yesterday including me, guessing it was just a mailing mistake but just wanted to check.

Sian: This wasn’t a mistake, a few Carnegie fans will have had Rhinos tickets, through their season ticket benefit, which is therefore plausible and within our rights to mail out.
Response from Abigail Furniss, Head of Marketing: The mailing went to all Rhinos and Carnegie fans on the system within a 50km radius who have purchased tickets for juniors in the past. We selected these fans as we were promoting two summer rugby family days out. From time to time we do similar cross promotion of Carnegie games to Rhinos fans. We are operating ethically and within the law of data protection act and are allowed to cross promote the clubs to each set of fans. The data protection rules state that you are able to send out marketing mail to customer without their express permission as long as it ticks the following boxes
Where you’ve obtained a person’s details in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale of a product or service
Where the messages are only marketing similar products or services
Sian: We try to collect as much correct information as we can, with the avoidance of duplicating.
Sian: That brings us to the end of the general feedback. However in addition to the last point, if anyone is generally upset about this issue then please come direct to us and we can sort things from there. I am accessible on a game day or anytime for feedback. We need direct feedback for us to sort things.
Sian: Any more comments?
Ian: Doing something pre-match
Sian: The opportunity for us to do something is there.
Ian: I am all for this, it needs to be well organised and brief.
Sian: I am thinking more promotional ideas, how can we promote? We need a match day experience plan, call it a fans day, what can we do? We need to sit and plan. For example, every Carnegie member has to bring a friend, do a mail out. What can we add in? We want ideas from the forum and fans.
Scott: Possibly a kid’s day
Sian: Is it we do something like a family of four eat for free? An initiative we have used recently for Rhinos matches.
Scott: If we get a good weekend, we can get more amateur teams in
Andrea: We need to have a thought shower.
Sian: It is a tough call, you as forum reps can do some digging, and we will help you with plans and costing. We want to do this. What I think would be best would to do it at an early fixture. We want to showcase early doors. We need something with power behind it.
Andrea: How are we going to do this as forum members?
Sian: It is up to you how you go about it, you all have your own contacts and own ideas. You all have strengths in different areas, fire them into us, we can get a list going. If you want to we can get it on the website and out through social media. We can get fans to email and we can send them out to you and you can delegate.
Jane: I will be email coordinator
Sian: Great, get fans to send them to you and you guys can see the ideas and we can collate.
Jane: I will get personal emails from everyone and collate from there.
Sian: I will do an introduction email, we will start now. One of you put together a small couple of lines for fans, a little article which we can promote; get it on website and social media. Give fans to a certain point to get in their ideas in. Let’s embrace this opportunity, we want ideas no matter how big, small or wild, we want fans to send them in.
Ian: We have to know people’s ideas to consider them
Sian: We may have to turn things down, due to costing etc., but we will consider everything. This is a great opportunity for the fans calling the fans. We unfortunately are not going to please everyone. We have the time to put something together.
Scott: Regiments Trophy, we can push something like that?
Sian: We need to focus on one game with one theme. We need the ideas to make that game the fans game. It would be good if we could do it at a local derby game, great opportunity. We need to think how to promote. Mark had the idea of a poster, emailing it out and having people download it and get it everywhere.
Jane: Promoting local rugby, through local teams.
Sian: Possibly a game after our main game?
Andrea: That would be a great thing
Sian: Local teams playing after a game.

Andrea: Some feedback about pre-season friendlies, why not have them at Headingley Carnegie? Never local.
Sian: Over the past couple of years we have had issues which has prevented us from having the fixture here e.g. the problem with the pitch.
Scott: In the old days the big club came to the small club.
Sian: It is hard to get clubs involved in pre-season fixtures.
Andrea: Can I just say to finish, it made a great difference at London Welsh, for the players to come up to the fans and thank them for their support. It really meant a lot to the fans, we were all very emotional and it was lovely.
Sian: Thank you all for this evening much appreciated and see you on the 6th August for the Group forum.

NB Please note since this meeting the Press Conference for the Yorkshire Carnegie start of season has been postponed to 9th July which is also when season memberships will be launched and the new logo will be revealed.