Prior to Brentford's Sky Bet Championship match against Queens Park Rangers last month, senior Club officials held another meeting with a fans consultation group as part of the process to plan for the final games at Griffin Park and the move to the Brentford Community Stadium. Last year the Club pledged to put together a consultation group to discuss the stadium move. This group will meet regularly to ensure fan opinions are considered when the Club makes the switch to the new ground. The minutes from the meeting can be seen below:
Cliff Crown (CC)
Mark Devlin (MD)
David Hayes (DH)
Ryan Murrant (RM)
Kurt Pittman (KP)
Sally Stephens (SS)
Jon Bishop (JB)
Ron Cooper (RC)
Minutes of last meeting and action points/update
MD welcomed new members to the group.
MD reviewed the action points from the last meeting.
MD provided a brief update on the issue of safe standing and encouraged fans to support the lobbying campaign currently underway. There was a short discussion on what the provision is at Bristol City – Note after the meeting: Bristol City installed 3 rows of rail seating for ‘demonstration purposes’ in association with seat manufacturer Ferco. Their renovations have also ensured the “ability to incorporate safe standing via rail seats should the legislation change” according to a recent Bristol-based news article.
New stadium update
DH provided an update on the legal, planning and construction elements of the project. The stadium piling work has started, with 3 piling rigs now on site. The first construction newsletter has been circulated to 4,300 local residents (and a Club version was sent out to fans) to provide an overview of key dates and the upcoming construction process.
AW noted that key elements within the RIBA Stage 4 design work on the stadium are now locked down but there will still be work needed to refine the look and feel of concourses and lounges and other non-structural elements.
SS showed a recent photograph from the site and reviewed the draft communications plan for the next four months (subject to change). There was some discussion about a webcam and SS confirmed that we have a webcam in place currently that will remain throughout the construction process. (This webcam is currently taking still photographs each hour that can be used to create timelapse videos). We are also planning to have a livestreaming option – due to be launched in May.
JB asked if we could prepare a similar video to the one used at the original Planning Committee meeting to start to drive excitement for the new stadium. KP encouraged attendees to take a look at the email@example.com website where this will be managed in a phased approach. The focus at the moment within the Club is on 18/19 Season Ticket sales, which will be followed by a Coming Soon campaign; the launch of Premium Seats and the campaign for the 19/20 season.
A key element moving forwards will be the role that this group can play in spreading the word about the new stadium and helping to build excitement.
Focus Group plans
Further to discussions at the last Fan Consultation Group meeting, KP explained that we would like to take forward some Focus Groups to get into more detail in particular areas e.g. how to build the right atmosphere in the west stand (which is intended for those fans who like to noisily and passionately get behind the team and is also the area that will be converted to safe standing if/when there is a change in the current legislation).
There was a discussion on potential Focus Group themes and on the role of BIAS in acting as a key link to fans on this given that they have around 600 members. MD confirmed that the Club is keen to facilitate these working groups e.g. by circulating messages via the Club’s database, and helping to organise and host the meetings. Members of the BIAS committee are due to meet with the Club shortly so they can discuss this further.
The timing of the meetings were also discussed, with a general feeling that the sooner the better and certainly from asap after the end of the season.
KP provided an update on the ticketing migration process including the phasing of the migration to the new ticketing system. The existing system will be live until after the Hull match and will then transfer fully across to the new system. The focus for the new system has been in three phases:
- Activate accounts on the new system
- Renew Season Tickets
- General sale access
New functionality will be rolled out such the new staged card payments which are now live. Once the season is finished we’ll be deploying single sign on for both tickets and retail, will migrate Ticket Access Points and are currently investigating in-app ticket purchasing.
KP also confirmed that there will be no Premium seats in the north stand of the new stadium – the seats nearest to the halfway line will simply be in the higher price threshold. He also mentioned that we will be looking for input from fans to name the area that’s currently known as ‘The Dugout’ on our plans. Seats linked to this dedicated concourse/bar area in the south stand will be sold as Premium Season Tickets.
KP showed the group Arsenal FC’s 3D View from Seat tool which shows views from any seat or lounge in the stadium. We will be building a similar model – timing to be confirmed but the plan is for this to be released to fans in advance of the 19/20 Season Tickets going on sale so that fans have plenty of time to work out where they might like to sit in the new stadium
MD confirmed that we do have a draft pricing schedule for the premium seat packages within the south stand but we are still finalising the financial modelling on this and will share this over the coming months.
KP and his team are finalising the approach and wording for the communications that will go out to fans to explain the priority access principles for seats in the new stadium. This group will be asked to review and provide feedback on this communication before it goes out to fans to make sure it’s clear and easily understood.
The decision on how many additional Season Tickets can be bought by an existing Season Ticket Holder is still being worked through.
CGI fly-through –a preliminary CGI fly-through of the stadium was shown (in confidence) to the group. This will be enhanced and developed prior to full release as part of the phased marketing approach for premium seats and Season Ticket sales.
Photos of Brentford FC/Griffin Park – we will look into a hosting service where fans can upload photos of their treasured memories of Brentford FC and Griffin Park for others to see.
Rail seats in the Away section – AW confirmed that there is some flexibility for rail seating in the Away section.
Summary of action points
- SS – send round a link to the safe standing petition for people to sign and send round to others.
- SS – clarify whether Bristol have installed rail seating.
- KP/RM – prepare a Focus Group plan to share with the group.
- KP/AW – confirm the sequencing of the sale of tickets within each of the Away sections.
- KP – circulate ticket access principles to this group for feedback ahead of sending out to fans.
- Tbc – investigate a hosting site for fans to upload their photos with memories of Brentford FC and Griffin Park
- All – continue to feedback thoughts and suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org
- All - if other fans would like to join this group, please also email at the address above.
Next meeting: Tuesday 12 June 6.30-8pm in The Hive.
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