Whilst Aston Villa approach their third consecutive season outside of the Premier League, it’s not all doom and gloom. The club still remains at the forefront of the footballing world, and are one of the clubs at the forefront of the industry for all of its innovative work.
What is keeping Aston Villa at the forefront?
In the simplest of terms, Aston Villa are innovating in areas that are often untouched in the football industry, or at the very least are untouched in the English Football League.
In the past, it was the club’s Season Card technology that had people talking. Clubs across the world, and clubs in a better position than Aston Villa at that, we’re in touch with the club to get more information about the technology, how it worked and how it was improving the experience for fans in the process. For Aston Villa to be one of the first clubs in the world to adopt such technology was a bold statement, and a testament to the staff that were brought in during the new reign of Dr. Tony Xia.
For much of the Lerner era, the club seemed like it was stagnating both on and off the pitch, and the introduction of these have not only removed a lot of the stale taste, but seem to have freshened up the system all together.
From there, it’s the club and it’s marketing. The work done this season especially has been phenomenal, especially from a Social Media standpoint. Things like the ‘Villa Park Blockbuster’ film posters, their hilarious retort to Leeds when they’d released their new badge that looked fresh from the screen of a Pro Evolution Soccer game, and the way they highlighted key players in the run up to the Play-Off Final all increased fan engagement with the club and often made those who saw it smile, laugh, or even be proud of their club.
Then you move on to the club’s new kit deal. To put that into perspective – it’s never been done before. They’ve taken a well-known local brand, who’s owner is an Aston Villa fan, and they’re letting him design the kits. That, and they’re pairing with a company who will oversee the production of said kit, much like sports teams in America. It’s a business model that works, but it’s not been done in British football yet.
And in more recent weeks, or even days, you might have seen Aston Villa promoting their brand new e-Sports league – something to fill the summer months with – where fans can sign up and face other fans on FIFA with the potential to win prizes. Various clubs around the world have dedicated e-Sports teams and players, but you’ll be spreading yourself thin by attempting to find that many that have their own e-Sports league that their fans can play in.
Overall, it’s been an interesting couple of years in regards to Aston Villa as a club and it’s engagement with fans – but you have to remember that it’s effort that goes in to making our time as a supporter better, and even better than that, keep Aston Villa as a name known worldwide in the footballing industry.