When the sport marketing results in a good idea, truly remarkable outcomes may occur. Herein, we are not talking simply about the sport, but rather the love for one club which resulted in the marketing miracle. We are not saying the love can be bought, but this love has the number attached and at this moment is going beyond 100 thousand euros. Couple of months ago, FK Željezničar’s members and supporters have started the campaign under the catchy name Buy a Seat for the European Grbavica. The idea is that fans, members, supporters or simply football lovers all over Bosnia and Herzegovina and world will engage in donations activity by paying a single seat determined by UEFA standards. Thus, by June 2016, stadium Grbavica will achieve standards for European games.
I was more than honored to exchange several words with a person who is more than engaged in the whole process, both professionally and personally. A successful young professional, Emir Muhamedagić is PR manager at FK Željezničar and he definitely had something to share. Balkan Marketing Stories crew is thankful for his time.
BMS: When did you start the campaign “A seat for the European Grbavica” and what was the ultimate objective?
Emir: The initial spark for this project was the payment by all club members: the assembly, the board of directors, the administration, coaching staff and players. The ultimate goal was to provide the opportunity to integrate all our fans and those who carry Željo in their hearts into the reconstruction project of Grbavica Stadium.
BMS: What were the expectations at the beginning of the campaign?
Emir: Our only expectation and hope was to get as many fans involved in the project. Therefore, we did not determine the exact amount of money that would be the ultimate goal. We just wanted to see “how many of us there are” and how much money we are willing to pay for this campaign.
BMS: What have you achieved so far?
Emir: The results have surpassed all our expectations and we are really happy and proud that the public has recognized our campaign as a project of social significance. Our transparency and regular informing of the public about collected funds are the main reason for this.
BMS: Can you think of an interesting occurrence during the campaign itself?
Emir: There are many cases in which people who have nothing to do with our club supported our campaign. I would single out the case of the United States national team player, Mix Diskerud, who had heard of the campaign via friends and immediately paid the funds for 50 chairs.
BMS: What was the biggest non- monetary achievement of the campaign?
Emir: Great PR for the club, both in local and world news. The campaign has incredible media coverage around the world and we believe that we are receiving a significant number of new supporters in B&H and abroad. The club paid tribute to the fans in a unique way by proclaiming them as the general sponsors, and exactly this relationship between the Club and the fans can not be monetarily expressed.
BMS: Could you please share your opinion/thoughts on this, both personal and professional?
Emir: We often say that we are more than a club, and with this campaign we have proven that this is indeed the case. Grbavica Stadium was built by the work campaign of fans some 60 years ago, and the reconstruction will be completed by fan donations and campaigns, which is likely, if not a unique, then a rare case in the world of sports. I may be subjective, but I really think this is a unique story for the world and that this synergy and symbiosis of the Club, members, supporters and all those who have Željo in their heart is a example for all other sports clubs.
The strength of this campaign even attracted the attention of foreign media which, subsequently, raised the interest for foreign payments. More about the idea can be found at FK Željezničar official web page. We can only give an applause about the idea and the speed at which it went viral. This is an evidence that in order to be different and trigger the reaction, one needs to stand out.