Andrew Whitham, Director of Commercial Affairs of Lincoln City Football Club speaks about the partnership with San Diego Loyal SC and some interesting projects that the English League One team is working on.
By Bruno Ivich
Lincoln City FC has had a rise as a non-league team to being a League One team, with two promotions. The team has played in the prestigious Wembley Stadium twice in 5 seasons and now have their own training ground. Five years ago this was not possible. The training ground is a first class facility for the club’s first team and academy. Overall, Lincoln City FC has grown massively in the last few years.
Why and what were the factors behind the partnership with San Diego Loyal SC?
Andrew Whitham: There is a close link between our team and San Diego Loyal SC due to some of our investors being based in the United States. Furthermore, there is another link with the US as former USA international Landon Donovan is the club’s strategic advisor. Thus, it makes sense for us to help grow our international audience over in the US. Lately, besides the US, we have seen huge growth in streaming from Mexico, South Africa and Australia with iFollow being popular around the world. Our objective with this partnership is to engage with our audiences and later expand to new projects overseas.
Director of Commercial Affairs
Lincoln City FC
What specifically does the partnership consist of?
The partnership mainly consists of engagement with our American audience and followers. With San Diego Loyal SC there is the potential for merchandise exchanges and to work together on community projects. At this stage, the partnership is at its initial stage, but it completely makes sense because of all the shared values and the connection between teams. The final idea is to blend and understand different cultures around football and explore what else we could do together.
Why is it relevant as a smaller club to focus on this partnership topic?
For Lincoln City FC this partnership is a key growth area that helps the investors’ profile and drives engaging datapoints of a wider audience located in the United States. We are confident that the partnership is just the beginning of lots of projects we could do together between the two clubs.
How do you think the new partnership will increase revenues? What sort of results do you expect?
At this stage we do not expect our new partnership to increase our revenues. Now, we want to initially engage with the American market and with San Diego Loyal SC. Afterwards, we will see results and understand our growth in engagement, on understanding different audience data and analyzing the passion for both supporter groups. Later on, we may receive audience and financial growth, but as of now we just want to get started and see how it goes.
What are the main objectives of Lincoln City Football Club? Short term? Medium term? Long term?
Lincoln City Football club wants to compete at the highest level possible with sensible growth strategies. We want to stay within boundaries, and be respected for huge innovation and portrayal. We want to sustain our football league status and grow through the football pyramid.
What is an interesting fact about Lincoln City that the majority of fans do not know?
One fact is that twenty percent (20%) of our fans travel for more than 90 minutes to see our home games. Another fact is that we as Lincoln City FC are the lowest ranked team to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals in over a century. We played against Arsenal in 2017 at the Emirates Stadium.
What factors do you think differentiate Lincoln City from any other team you know?
Lincoln City within its team has a committed process driven approach. Everything we do at the club is measured with the final objective of making our fans proud. We want winning football, but our approach is unique, it is more about how it is achieved internally with our processes.
Are there any interesting or disruptive projects that the team is working on?
Currently, Lincoln City FC is redeveloping the north stand of our stadium, which will be home to our partner charity, Lincoln City Foundation. This will lead to increased capacity, as well as a better community outreach, and continued growth with raising awareness for mental health and supporting education.
What are some of the greatest challenges at this present date in Lincoln City FC? How would you solve them?
The main challenges are trying to compete with bigger and better funded clubs. For us, the solution is efficiency at the lowest cost possible, with commitment with regulators, innovation and our process driven approaches.