After Bologna’s positive start to the season and progress being made on the new stadium front, Nomisma have taken the opportunity to carry out a survey of the behaviour, desires and expectations of the Rossoblu’s fans and followers.
Some clear indications emerged from the survey that confirmed the city’s attachment to its team and to its stadium. An unexpected amount of people in the survey (despite the obvious limitations outlined below) confirmed that they would prefer, as both the club and city council also seem to, to redevelop the Dall’Ara instead of looking at alternative options.
According to the survey (which interviewed 1,000 local residents, of which 450 were Bologna supporters) carried out by Nomisma, 77% of fans wanted the Dall’Ara to be redeveloped, 13% wanted a completely new ground built on the same site, and just 7% wanted to relocate the stadium somewhere else.
Those most inclined towards redeveloping the current stadium were fans aged over 51 (89%) and female fans (88%). It was mainly young fans under the age of 35 (16%) who wanted a completely new stadium to be built in the same place as the current one.
Fans had clear ideas about what they wanted from the new Dall’Ara: the main requests were for all stands to be covered (96% were strongly for this) and for restaurants, pizzerie and bars for pre- and post-match refreshments (62%). Supporters don’t just want comfort though: they also want constant access to areas of the new stadium to reinforce the bond the club has with its supporters and followers. The new Stadio Dall’Ara must be a place where the squad’s glorious history can be appreciated (85% want a club museum) and where open training sessions can be held (80%), in the style of the Camp Nou.
It is the fans who follow every Bologna match who are the most interested in seeing additional features at the ground: 96% want every stand to have a roof, not just the main stand, 90% want a club museum, and 85% want the first team’s training sessions to be able to be made open to the public.
The new Stadio Dall’Ara must also be a facility that can be used by the entire city, either by hosting concerts and other events throughout the year (74%) or by keeping modern sports facilities open to the public during the week (73%). It needs to be a new facility open to everyone and designed to be a new symbol for the city, able to show how important sport and the spirit of sport is to Bologna.
Bologna’s stadium and the city’s passion for football
Football is a passion that brings together 58% of Bolognesi. People don’t just follow Bologna on TV (80% of supporters use this method to follow the team) but also on digital platforms (47% via the internet, 23% on social media) and live at the ground.
38% of supporters say that they subscribe to Sky Calcio to follow Bologna. However, not having a subscription to satellite TV doesn’t necessarily imply that they can’t watch their team on TV. Instead, they may go round to a friend’s for the game (as 34% of fans do) or to a bar (31%).
It’s not just at the bar where people can share their passion for football, but also with the people that fans go to the match with: Bologna supporters go to the stadium both with friends (77%) and with family (27%).
What prompts Bologna fans to purchase a season ticket? Their passion, most of all, as proven incontrovertibly by the statistics: 73% of fans buy one “no matter what”. The team’s competitivity or the cost of the season ticket don’t seem to have much influence on their choice.
Bologna’s supporters’ strong attachment to their team was also apparent when Nomisma asked how interested they were in being able to receive discounts when they went to the ground. More than a third of fans were interested in promotions for club merchandise to spend at the Bologna Store. Supporters were also interested in discounts at Rossoblu bars and restaurants (33%), supermarket chains (26%), entertainment (24%) and sports facilities (23%).
However, in the world of modern football, clubs are interested in more than how fans socialise with each other or how passionately they support their team: more than anything else, they are interested in how much money supporters spend on additional services. When Bologna fans go to the Dall’Ara to support their team, 84% of them ‘enrich’ their experience with social gatherings, whether in a pizzeria, restaurant or bar before, during or after the game, or within the ground itself, revealing a surprising capacity for expenditure both on food and on merchandising.
It’s particularly worth highlighting that, with an average spend in bars, pizzierie and restaurants of around €6.20 a game, last season supporters generated an income of €5.8 million by purchasing food and drink. 75% of this expenditure – which is spent just before, during, or just after the game – comes from season ticket holders and regulars.
In terms of supporters’ expenditure on merchandising, Nomisma estimates that during the 2015/16 season the 69% of fans who bought Bologna-branded clothing and merchandise generated revenue to the tune of €1.4 million.