Several non-league football clubs in Dorset are facing financial difficulty due to the cost-of-living crisis and sponsorship struggles coupled with costs incrreasing by up to 30% in some cases.
Christchurch FC and Bournemouth FC, also known as The Poppies, rely heavily upon sponsorships to help pay players as well as expand the clubs’ facilities.
Poppies media manager John McKay said: “Players want to be paid, stress and strain is increased on our staff, we need to bring in more sponsors for the players, yet we’re at a time where it’s difficult to stand still.”
To combat the cost-of-living crisis, clubs have worked hard to alter kick-offs to an earlier time preventing energy bills from rising as a result of decreased floodlight use.
Christchurch,had their fixture away at Hamble Club rescheduled to a 13:00 kick-off.
High rates of inflation have made it very difficult to run a business at this moment.
Some clubs are relying heavily on social media to increase attendances and make a profit on the gate.
Vice Chairman at Christchurch, Kemal Azzeddin, highlighted its importance.
He said: “Social media is important as we can market in the right direction increasing our revenue, I myself have noticed that costs have increased nearly 30%.”
Christchurch play at council-owned, Hurn Bridge Sports Club.
Money generated from hospitality features such as the bar will go towards the council as opposed to the club meaning it is more difficult to make money.
Attendance is crucial, treasurer Chris Root said: “Attendance is our only source of income, we’re looking at reducing prices when AFC Bournemouth play away from home as we feel this is likely to attract more fans.
“Although we can’t price ourselves out the market and must compete with other local clubs.”
Local rivals, Bournemouth FC are also facing difficulties attracting sponsorship however, John McKay feels the club have the advantage over Christchurch.
He said: “I feel we have a unique advantage as we are the oldest club in the area, but we are yet to make good use of that, it is something we are working on.”
Both clubs will be hoping that they can begin to attract more sponsors through their social media to help increase financial success.