The first Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie Fans Forum meeting of 2016 took place on Wednesday 27th April and the Forum members heard from guest speaker, Matt Adams (Leeds Rugby Data Manager)

The below minutes are in a new, condensed format and include all feedback which has come in from either Forum members directly or via fansforum@leedsrugby.com. The responses to all feedback are also included so if you send in emails prior to these meetings, the minutes include the replies from the Club.

If you have any feedback that you would like to be discussed at one of the Fans Forum meetings then please email fansforum@leedsrugby.com and this will be discussed at the meetings and published in the minutes shortly after the meeting has taken place.

Fans Forum Meeting Wednesday 27th April

Fans Forum Members:
Attendees: Sue Millard, Gerry Alleyn, Jon Williams, Alistair Senior, Barbara Senior, Susie Woffinden, Malcolm Robinson, Andrea Green.
Apologies: Simon Whitehead, Mark Nelson, Rachel Barker, Sam Brightbart, Danny Frank, Ian Waterhouse
Leeds Rugby Attendees: – Sian Jones (Head of Customer Experience & Meeting Chair), Jessica Ives (Customer Experience Telesales /Minute Taker)
Guests for the Evening: – Leeds Rugby Data Manager –  Matt Adams

Meeting Dates for 2016
Wednesday 22nd June, 7pm (Carnegie)
Wednesday 27th July, 7pm (Rhinos)
Wednesday 26th October, 7pm (Carnegie)
Wednesday 23rd November, 7pm (Rhinos)
Wednesday 14th December, 7pm (Group)

Matt Adams Overview
Matt came to the club in February 2015 to take on the role as CRM/Data Manager for Leeds Rugby.  Matt has a successful background as CRM Manager having previously spent 5 years in   similar role at Hull FC and prior to that studied Sports Promotion and Marketing at Huddersfield University including a year’s placement working for the Hull Stingrays Ice Hockey team.

Matt’s role is to understand fan behaviour and utilise this insight to grow fan engagement with   targeted and relevant communications and promotions based on a geo-demographic, behavioural and needs based segmentation model.  This enables the club to look after fans on a more personal level enhancing the customer journey and helping us nurture the next generation of fans.

Matt looks at the four levels of fans that we have across Leeds Rugby:

  • Digital Fans – purely follow the clubs through our digital media and website platforms
  • Casual Fans – attend 1 or 2 home matches throughout the season
  • Frequent Fans – attend 5+ matches throughout the season
  • Members – purchase a season membership yearly

By understanding this hierarchy and the individual’s preferences we can develop a more in-depth tailored approach to marketing across ticketing, retail and corporate.

Sue: A friend of mine went in to the shop to get a travel ticket for his girlfriend. He said that he was then asked her Date of Birth, Address, Email etc. He felt like he had to give them all her details and not very comfortable about doing so.

Matt: The reason they will ask for the information is to make sure we have the correct contact    details for the customer. If they don’t want to supply this information that is absolutely fine and there is nothing wrong with that. The benefit of sharing this information with us is we can give them access to relevant offers across ticketing and retail. We’re not going to abuse any information you share with us and will only ever contact you if we think it’ll be of interest and relevant to you as a fan.

Feedback via Andrea Green – Fans Forum Member:-

  • Access, or lack of, to the ground when the cup games are at Headingley.

Sian: For all the gates to be open on a match day we need to put 3 staff at each gate.  This then incurs a staff cost.  For quieter matches we have to reduce our staff costs where we can and this includes the gate staff. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

  • The ground having a stopped clock a lot of people have mentioned this. Sian: We have reported this and we have been awaiting a date to allow a lifter on the pitch – it has been confirmed it will be fixed by the end of May.

Feedback via Susie Woffinden – Fans Forum Member:

  • I too like the videos tweeted out during the game – as an instant replay, it’s great

Sian: Thank you for the feedback.

  • It was a shame the South stand wasn’t open for the B&I Final – did the advanced ticket sales not justify opening it?

Sian: The advanced ticket sales for the game did not warrant opening up the South Stand unfortunately – as per above comments about staffing costs.

  • Still inconsistent acknowledgement of the fans from the team, particularly of the South Standers – it doesn’t need to be much, and could be a wave or clap shortly after the final whistle – it would be nice to have something. Having sat in the North stand for the B&I game, there’s obviously more acknowledgement there, as it’s the way the players go in, and usually it’s good at away games too. At Jersey they came over and shook the away supporter’s hands.

Sian: This is something that I will speak personally to Bryan Redpath about.

Leeming Tyke on the message board:

  • I’d just like to give the club a bit of a pat on the back for their match day twitter coverage.Balanced comments and videos of the tries just minutes after they’ve happened. Good stuff

Sian: Thank you

Headingley Tyke on the message board:

  • I think the club has done a lot more this year. Much more interaction with fans but was let down on final day with bars, stands etc.

Sian: As previously stated we have to manage our match day staffing costs based on pre match ticket sales and forecasts.  This will mean for certain games we have to limit areas which are open.

Ellis Hicks on the message board:

  • Yes, the club has done more this year – thanks for that. It started from a low base though. The website has a huge amount of information and is regularly updated. Good. But it must have a primary purpose of increasing the gate and creating a ‘buzz’ (pun intended). Clearly there are a lot of people out there, who haven’t been to HC for a few years and even more who’ve never been to our game at HC: (NB RWC15 numbers at Elland Rd)

Sian: Thank you

  • “NEXT MATCH” should be highlighted as a Home page sales pitch, not just a simple Banner. Sell! Sell the match!

Sian: We will pass your feedback on

  • Also, anyone who turned up for the Cup matches at the Hutton Gates might have concluded that they’d come on the wrong day. Simple but obvious info about how to get in, get tickets, entrances, parking etc. should be unmissable. Rhinos have a “first time fans” button but for many of them Headingley’s in their DNA. We need to do more.There are clear signs that things are happening at the club. We can do better than we have in the last 10 years.

Sian: There was signage put up on all the gates on the day of the match directing customers to where they could access. This is the same for any game.

Feedback via Simon Whitehead – Fans Forum Member:

  • When I access the website via my iPad, very often the interview videos don’t work. The whole page just freezes. However, If I access via a link on twitter, it does work which is strange.

Sian: We had a fault on the website that meant if you clicked through to the video using the ‘tile’ on the front-page the video wouldn’t work whereas if you clicked into the story the video would work.  This has now been fixed and every video works by clicking through from the ‘tile’.

Feedback from Ian Waterhouse – Fans Forum Member:

  • At HC we announce a Carnegie player of the match and I find this a little embarrassing when I feel an opposition player turns in a better performance. Is it not possible therefore to emulate the folks at Jersey and nominate a winner whoever he plays for, as they selected Jared Williams as today’s MOM!

Sian: We can ask the question to see if this can be an option.  The Man of the Match is chosen by a group of sponsors who contribute to the prize fund, so overall it is their decision.

Feedback from Alistair Senior – Fans Forum Member:

  • Can we have an update on the stadium improvements/re-build?Sian: The plans have been submitted for planning permission and we believe this will take around 13 weeks.

If the club ends up in the middle 8’s or god forbid we get relegated, will the work still be carried out?
Sian: The development will still go ahead regardless of the results of the Super League season subject to planning permission.

Feedback from Barbara Senior – Fans Forum Member:

  • Al has had a phone call this week from Huddersfield Giants, to try to sell him tickets for their next home game on tomorrow night. Obviously he explained we are Rhinos season ticket holders and that we would be at our own home game. Is this something that is done by the Rhinos too?

Sian: This is what Jess does. Jess feel free to explain your job role.

Jess: Thanks Sian. I keep in touch with the supporters whether they be members or match ticket purchasers.  We have a range of campaigns from First Time Members to Magic Weekend feedback.  We get views from the supporters on how their match day experiences are etc. It is all part of building a good relationship between the club and the supporters and really embrace that family feeling to make them know that they are part of the club.

Does the club also contact the people that have gone under the bring a friend free scheme, to see if they want to become season ticket holders?

Sian: We take the information for the ‘free friends’ so that we can send information to them to follow up on their visit to Headingley Carnegie and to communicate information that might be of interest.

Feedback from Malcolm Robinson – Fans Forum Member:

  • I am constantly asking people to move out of this area due to poor supervision from the stewards at the two entrances into the section where I sit. It is easy for a steward to be positioned at each end and ask spectators to show their gold season tickets.
  • The Cafe bar is crowded as it is with people queuing for food and drinks. The place is also swarming with Kids-face painting etc. Is there no way that this sort of activity could not be transferred to somewhere else in the ground? For instance, under the cricket stand near to the Kirkstall Lane entrance?

Sian: The activity that has been in the café bar lately is normally outside under our gazebo opposite the club shop.  This has changed with the weather not being great.  They moved into the café bar so that we could still continue with the activities.  We will be keeping them in the area that we have always had them as this is our ‘Clubhouse’.

Feedback via email from Chris Dine:

  • If at all possible could I put forward a suggestion/request for next season? I appreciate you have a busy schedule and meeting already full no doubt but just seen in Carnegie message board this is where to send questions etc.  Thanks in anticipation:
  • Can someone at the forum please request next season, that the coaches are a little more forthcoming with injury news.  Not many of us on message board but often confused with team selection as we don’t know who is fit.  just a weekly bulletin would do as we hardly ever see the same team week in week out and we don’t know what our coaching team deem our best team and which one is patched up. Many thanks Chris Dine

Sian: In terms of injured players we can only communicate the information that we are given.  The coaching staff do not have to provide us with this.  When this information is passed on to our PR department it is published as and when we receive it.

Feedback via email from Robert Wivell:

  • Could we have more regular feedback on the progress of injured players? Often we only know someone is injured because of an unrelated comment and generally we don’t know how long someone will be unavailable.

Sian: Please see the response to Chris Dines comment above.

Feedback via email from Martin Taylor:

  • I sit in row F seat no 64 and the roof has been leaking last year and this year, can it please be fixed Yours Martin Taylor

Thanks for your email Martin. I have checked with our stadium management team and apparently Caddicks (our construction company who manage jobs such as this) have been in this week and hopefully sorted it.
Please ensure you bring something like this to our attention sooner than leaving it was we will do our best to rectify matters straightaway or as soon as is convenient.

Feedback via email from Mark Howlett:

  • On the website I am having terrible problems being able to view the writing due to the background and writing being similar. Is it me or is there a way to darken one of them so it makes the writing a lot clearer.  I have had problems ever since the new website layout started. For example, when looking at the match day team information it is very hard to read against the background of the players.

Thanks for your email, the site is a work in progress and feedback such as
yours is invaluable, hopefully over the next days, weeks and months you¹ll
see it evolve into a site you are happy with. We do welcome feedback and we can pass them on to our web providers to improve. Please address all feedback to Leanne.flynn@leedsrugby.com.
Many Thanks
Phil Daly

Feedback via email from Robin Whitefield:

  • Leeds Rugby Mobile App for phones, tablets etc. An app that enables fans to obtain live up to date information when they need it and get live up to date scores from across the league, buy merchandise from your seat or even book tickets to the next game.  Features could include finding friends in the stadium and live chat with them on match days if they have downloaded the app whilst also featuring:
  • Fixture lists
  • Social media links
  • iFind
  • Merchandise
  • Buy Tickets
  • Fans Man of the Match vote
  • Fans Gallery
  • Yorkshire Carnegie / Leeds Rhinos News
  • Line-ups
  • Hospitality
  • Contact us

We have a fully mobile enabled website which offers all information for the club as opposed to hand picking information we think the customer wishes to see. Equally the constant requirement to update apps can be expensive and subject to resource however we see that as not a financially viable option when we have a fully mobile integrated website. We do regularly re-visit it as an option but every time doesn’t satisfy our requirements without a highly significant investment.

Feedback via email from Jane Storor:

  • It has been noticeable that the use of the “F” word has become more prevalent especially in chants. I think that if something isn’t done to stop it then we will just become like football clubs and we will lose the family atmosphere. I realise that young children can hear foul language all around them but I would hate to think that it will become the norm in rugby league.

Sian: We try to ensure that when language is colourful on a match day, our announcer gets involved stating the ‘Respect’ message which is encouraged across the League.  In addition to this our South Stand band are very active in trying to ‘drown out’ the inappropriate chants.  We also have a few ideas for the future which we hope to execute, which will aid our prevention campaign.  If you feel on a match day that someone near you is frequently using inappropriate language, then please either report it to a steward or text our fan’s phone on 07500 312832 and this will go to our control room.  They will deploy a member of security to the area to monitor the situation and take action if necessary.