EFL Family Excellence Report 2022

After achieving Family Excellence status from the EFL for 2021-22, we wanted to break down to supporters what this means.

What have we achieved and for how many years?

The Family Excellence Scheme was launched to support clubs in their efforts to attract and retain families and young fans. The process encourages clubs to think strategically about all aspects of fan engagement but specifically to innovate around the matchday experience for families.

Research has shown that family attendance at matches plays an important role in creating committed fans of the future. By analysing the family experience at each club, each season, via a series of ‘mystery visits’, clubs are incentivised to achieve ‘Family Excellence status’ and a range of best practice and innovation is shared and celebrated across the EFL.

For the fifth continuous season Newport County AFC have been awarded the EFL’s Family Excellence Award. We are all very proud to have achieved this score despite the pressures of the Covid restrictions, especially here in Wales.

Where did we sit in League 2 and the EFL?

As an EFL League Two club we achieved 5th place (out of 24 in League Two) and overally we achieved 23rd place out of the 72 EFL clubs.

How does it work?

The scheme revolves around ‘mystery fan’ visits made to all EFL Clubs each season, with assessors and family groups reporting back on their experiences across a range of touchpoints including first impressions, social media, travel, retail, people and feeling valued as a customer..

The assessments and the feedback they produce help foster a commitment to continuous improvement, and the scheme has seen Clubs set benchmark standards in providing such things as family fun zones, family-oriented concourse entertainment, matchday activity schedules, creative catering options, interaction with Club mascots, players and enthusiastic family-friendly Club staff.

These visits, and the positive changes made as a result, go towards determining whether Clubs are awarded Family Excellence status each season, a desirable and important endorsement to further promote the matchday experiences they offer to new and existing families and their wider fanbases.

What were the scores?

The award is based on a report covering elements of the club’s interaction to the ‘mystery family customer’ and Newport County AFC have received an overall score of 8.7/10.

Our first visit was the fixture at home to Bradford in October followed by the second visit in March when Bristol Rovers came to Rodney Parade. Following feedback from the Bradford fixture the club put in a plan to improve on the score of 8/10 and achieved a 9/10 for the Bristol Rovers visit.

What positive things did they say?

- Rodney Parade is one of the UK’s most child-friendly stadiums, supported by the most engaging and entertaining people

- Our assessors have returned with much love and respect for what the club is doing

- Spytty the Dog is entertaining as always and many of the club reps showed a real interest in the attending family

- Positive online purchase experience, easy and straightforward

- The first time fan guide (on the club website) offers extensive knowledge, useful for new, young fans and their families

- The club delivers an exceptional pre-game experience in the marquee, it is full of attractions and packed with enthusiastic staff and volunteers

What will we do next?

Following the first visit the club held a workshop to see where we could improve on what we had achieved.

This workshop bought some good ideas to the front and has improved our score on the second visit. The club will set a goal of achieving the Gold Award.

By working with the team at the EFL and The Fan Experience Company for ideas of best practice and strategic advice as well as holding workshops we will continue to work hard to use this report as a base for us to try and achieve the Gold Award in the future.

Your views, ideas and suggestions would be appreciated, and the summary report can be found here