A passionate and loyal audience that is getting younger and more feminine, attractive events, a warm atmosphere: the Nielsen study on League 1 spectators and captives, commissioned by the Ligue de Football Professionnel and published in early February 2023, shows an increase in the club’s appeal to Alsatians, and measures the impact of the strategy carried out by the Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace in recent years.
The first finding of the study highlights a significant change in the characteristics of the public of the Meinau. In three years, it has evolved considerably, becoming more female (26%, +11pts vs 2019 and +17pts vs 2016), which is the largest increase at the national level, but also getting younger. The average age has risen to 36 (vs. 43 in 2019), making the Strasbourg audience the second youngest audience in League 1 Uber Eats. What hasn’t changed, however, is the fans’ love for Racing, demonstrated with fervor at every home game (21 consecutive sold-out matches, ongoing series).
More specifically, the increase in the number of female fans at the Meinau is the result of the work carried out by the Association “Femmes de Foot”, founded by Sabryna Keller, the wife of the Racing President Marc Keller. An original and unique initiative in France, it has been awarded several times by the national soccer authorities and has been responsible for the creation of a stand 100% dedicated to women, the “Kop’In”, and various initiatives involving women, particularly in the club’s charity work.
At the same time, Racing has made a significant shift in its policy towards young people, especially at the Meinau stadium with the Family tribune, sponsored by Europa-Park, but also through original operations, such as the program “One soccer”. The club has also refreshed its communication, its editorial line and its merchandising on a more “captive” basis and has also successfully launched into esport.
The Nielsen-LFP study also shows that the “Fan Experience” remains at the heart of spectators’ concerns. The quality of the reception of the public is an aspect to which the President Marc Keller has been particularly attentive since he took office in 2012. A match at the Meinau starts well before kick-off (and ends well after the final whistle), with spectators arriving at the stadium on average 68 minutes before the start of the match (constant increase since 2016, +12 minutes vs. 2019), i.e. almost 20 minutes earlier than the national average.
The installation of a music stage, the development of the catering offer and the opening of a second Fan Zone allow the public to share a convivial and festive moment, with family or friends and in complete safety. The satisfaction rating given to the pre- and post-game activities (8 out of 10) is the highest of the 20 League 1 Uber Eats clubs.
All these figures show that Racing remains an attractive club and the Meinau a festive stadium, but they also remind us of the imperative need for an infrastructure that promotes its development. Thus, several points of improvement have been clearly identified (catering, difficulty of access, parking), which are already taken into consideration in the ongoing renovation program of the Meinau stadium.