The Hive, A football centre and stadium which usually acts as the home of Barnet FC and the London Bees. As of this season, it is also home for the newly promoted Barclays FA WSL team Tottenham Hotspur Women. A 1-0 win against Liverpool marked the home debut as a success, but as we always do, we had our business hat on and observed the matchday experience. This is 5 things we’ve learned from Tottenham Hotspur Women at The Hive:
- Ticketing Journey- This one does not apply to our matchday experience, however, we noticed some issues when buying a ticket online. We expected for Spurs to control the ticketing interface and found out that in order to buy a ticket a fan needs to create an account with the hive first. Throughout the ticketing journey, we were never asked to insert our membership number/season ticket number. This made us wonder, how will the club know which of its traditional fans are now interested in the women’s team? Moreover, how could the club identify fans who supported the women’s team previously? This is important fan behaviour data that can be used to better communicate with the fanbase. Perhaps the interface itself could have been at least white labelled with Spurs design? Nonetheless, some fans experienced page crashes during the transaction and some were even charged without receiving a ticket.
- Branding- Unless fans are arriving by car, The Hive is served by two Jubilee line underground stations, Queensbury and Canons Park. We’ve arrived from Queensbury and the first and only sign of branding were two Spurs flag posts near the ticket office. Apart from a screen situated outside of The Hive entrance showcasing that a match (with the sun out it the display could barely be seen) is taking place, passers-by would have zero clue that a match is taking place. Branding once inside the stadium is a trickier task since the spaces are larger and any damage to existing branding must be avoided. It will be interesting to see what will be available for Spurs to utilise in the future.
- Merchandise- Free flags were handed out by the club’s fan ambassadors and programmes were sold once you made your way through the turnstiles. Other than that, there were no pop-up stalls or some items to buy in The Hive’s store.
- Facilities- Without a doubt the facilities are a major improvement on what was available for the team and fans at Cheshunt. There’s a bar and a Starbucks accessible for anyone regardless of a match ticket and once inside the Legends Stand there was a fully operating bar serving alcohol, foosball tables, and TV’s with Sky Sports. Yes, there is a main bar in Cheshunt with a decent offering but the level of the facilities is the differentiator. Arguably, the best stadium in the Barclays FA WSL
- Hospitality- Despite the improved facility, there were no hospitality packages available for sale. When Chelsea hosted Spurs at Stamford Bridge in the first matchday, the club offered matchday VIP/hospitality packages. Of course, The Hive cannot offer what Stamford Bridge does but it certainly offers more than Cheshunt.
A lot of the observations above might stem with what Barnet FC is allowing Spurs to do rather than Spurs not being proactive. This season and the facility are a learning curve for Tottenham Hotspur Women. Constant communication with the fans is key and the online pre-match guide was useful. Being the first match at a new stadium we would imagine that the priority is to ensure operational smoothens of the matchday processes rather than a heavy focus on the fan experience. We must not forget that football itself is the key element that attracts fans and the experience designed around it is added value. The most important thing though is to stick along for the ride.