Fans heading to games at the LNER Stadium for home games this season will see a wide range of improvements once again following feedback provided in the annual supporters survey.
More than 1,300 supporters responded to the survey, which provided some fantastic feedback and helped guide the club's summer works programme.
Fan engagement is a high priority for everyone at the club, and the average response from fans who had been in contact with one of the club's supporter liaison officers was 9.28 out of 10 - a reflection of the brilliant work of the team.
People make Lincoln City what it is, and staff interaction was given an average score of 8.38 out of 10. Helpfulness was rated 8.75, friendliness 8.88 and quality of information ranked at 8.60. These are scores everyone at the club can be proud of - and we want the workforce, whether full-time staff, part of our matchday team, or one of the volunteers who gives up their time out of love for the club, to know how much it is appreciated. Thank you to every supporter who works with us to ensure safe and enjoyable matchdays for all.
There was positive feedback for the system for purchasing tickets online provided by TicketMaster, with fewer printed tickets now required. Almost half of respondents said they use a digital season card or match pass to access games. Fewer than 3% of respondents said they used a physical match ticket printed at the ticket office. As part of the club's attempts to reduce its carbon footprint, the club will consider future measures to make it easier to use digital tickets.
In addition to the above, your responses also heavily influenced much of the work which has been carried out behind the scenes, this summer. This includes:
There was an average score of 8.44 out of 10 for the communication of club news, with more than 70% of people saying the best way for the club to communicate with them is via the website. More than half said e-newsletter and social media, with a clear and significant preference for interaction to come via digital channels. This helped influence recruitment in the communications team this summer, and the club will research options to improve the digital offer in future seasons such as through an improved website.
The club have partnered with Sport Alliance as part of a project to improve use of data, with more tailored updates to supporters via email.
Food and drink options
The introduction of Tipsy Imp to the University of Lincoln Fan Village last season provided a greater range of drink options, which has now been expanded with Stella Artois replacing Bud Light in the Fan Village. This season there will be wider food options inside the ground, including new concession points at the north end of the SRP stand.
Cleanliness of the stadium
Fans rated the cleanliness of the stadium as almost 8/10, which is a positive reflection of the incredible hard work which goes on behind the scenes every week by the maintenance team. Nevertheless the club has once again invested in further resources this summer to help keep improving our cleanliness rating, and the GBM Upper 1 block has had a brand makeover which will help keep it much cleaner while enhancing the fan experience.
Facilities and catering
The removal of the temporary North-East Stand creates space for new catering points which will serve both home fans in the SRP Stand and visitors in the Stacey West Stand. These have been installed this week and will be in use for Saturday's visit of Wycombe Wanderers, although there remains further equipment to be added in order to be fully operational.
Bottle lids will no longer be removed from drinks in our concession points on a trial basis. This policy was on the basis of the risk of the lids being used as a missile, but we appreciate the inconvenience highlighted to us by supporters. We reserve the right to review this on an ongoing basis.
Water and power
By far the biggest investment over the summer, enabled as part of the Stacey West Stand redevelopment, is the connection of a new water main. This will significantly increase water supply for a stadium which holds over 10,000 people, enable the groundstaff to prepare and maintain the pitch both pre-match and at half-time, while deploying the new sprinkler systems much quicker allowing an expansion of on-pitch engagement activities with local youngsters and grassroots sports teams.
The club has also invested further in a pitch water recycling system designed at improving its environmental impact and reducing costs.
New power points installed in the University of Lincoln Fan Village will improve our environmental impact by reducing the need for external generators, which in turn will continue to enhance the atmosphere in this area on matchdays.
Other areas highlighted by the survey which are being addressed:
- The club will explore post-match entertainment options, as more than 50% of respondents said they would stay or would consider staying.
- Supporters feel it is important the club continues to work on reducing its carbon footprint, with an average response of 8.11 out of 10 importance. As well as recycling water from the pitch for reuse, the club will explore the addition of solar panels.
- A majority of respondents said they would prefer home games in the EFL Trophy to kick off at 7pm. This will now be used as the club's preferred kick-off time in this competition.
- The survey highlighted a number of groups who have low representation in the fanbase. The Imps4All initiative will be used to try to address this.
- The launch of Rewards4Imps loyalty program which provides cashback or credit for ticket and retail purchases made through the club in addition to discounts with a wide range of national companies.
The overall responses were extremely positive, with 98% of respondents saying they felt the same or better about the club than this time 12 months ago. Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey, which helps us improve your experience as a fan.