Putting fans at the centre: FC Goa's inclusive voice a hit with local community
With FC Goa making efforts to reach out to fans to make up for their physical absence in stadiums during ISL 2022, they reciprocated in kind.
FC Goa might not have enjoyed the best of times on the field in ISL 2022 - they finished the league stage at 9th - but they took a step forward in making themselves and Indian football more inclusive of fans this season.
Though the local club was not part of the final between Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC in Goa last Sunday, their fans were everywhere - be it helping traveling fans or putting up an orange island in a sea of yellow in the stands.
One reason why FC Goa fans were so involved in the final could be how involved they were made to feel by the club through the season.
The Gaurs' recent campaign 'Forca Fan Feb', with 3 million organic impressions, closed out the season for them. This was a special photo shoot for fans, with the photos being later used to put the fan at the centre of the club's image.
These fan photos were later used throughout the month in spaces that football clubs throughout the world mostly keep reserved for their players - like stylised pre-match posters, line-ups, goal celebrations and full time posters.
The Club even invited one of their ardent fans, Omkar Honovarcar (popularly known as Omi amongst fans) to take over their Instagram page. This exercise alone saw more than 200k views on the club's stories.
As the club reached out to fans, they reciprocated in kind. FC Goa's social media posts were up to 52 million impressions in the last 3 months, up by 51% across platforms. FC Goa's ISL squad announcement video - filmed over 18 hours in 3 days across 300 kms - got 350k organic impressions.
But FC have left more than just a digital footprint. A recent study from YouGov showed that 98% of football fans in the state are FC Goa fans.
Over the past three months, the club has organised a grassroots festival every Sunday at their first team home turf Salvador do Mundo Panchayat Football Ground.
Akshay Tandon, Co-owner and President, FC Goa, said: "Mission football is a 20-year vision, one where Goa becomes the model for football development in India to build World Cup hopefuls.
"We're building from the inside out - starting with technical prowess in our first and development teams, women and men, a robust data repository of fans, physical and online infrastructure for training and development across communities and skills, festivals to make football accessible to all. We hope other clubs join in!"