In the ever-evolving landscape of European football, where big-money acquisitions are becoming the norm, a fresh and inspiring concept is taking root—fan ownership. A Northern Irish club is not just vying for a spot in European play but inviting fans to join the quest for glory by owning a share of the team.
A New Chapter in Fan Engagement: The Rise of Fan-Owned Clubs
Traditional football powerhouses have seen a shift away from their roots, distancing themselves from the very supporters who make the game what it is. In response, fan-owned clubs have emerged, offering enthusiasts the chance to become stakeholders in the clubs they love, all while enjoying various perks and benefits.
Among the pioneers in this movement is Fan Owned Club, allowing fans to own a piece of a professional football club for a fraction of the cost of a season ticket. After a successful proof of concept with Austrian club FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in 2019, Fan Owned Club has now joined forces with Carrick Rangers F.C. to take it even further.
Carrick Rangers: More Than a Football Club
Nestled in the heart of Northern Ireland in Carrickfergus, Carrick Rangers represents the epitome of pure football, untouched by the commercialization that often taints the sport. The club, now under the majority ownership of American businessman Michael Smith, is making waves both on and off the pitch.
Smith, a passionate owner challenging the billionaire stereotype, envisions the community as the true owner of the club, with him serving as a custodian. Reflecting on his vision, Smith states, “The community is one of the strongest assets of the club, and through Fan Owned Club, we are able to expand that community beyond geographical limitations.”
Prior to his ownership of Carrick Rangers, Smith was an early investor in the vision in Austria. Now, he's taking that experience to new heights by involving fans in unprecedented ways. Emphasizing the unique opportunity Carrick Rangers offers, Smith shares, "This club is not just about football; it embodies the spirit of Northern Ireland, symbolizing community, togetherness, and the pursuit of sporting excellence.”
Carrick Rangers is proving that heart and determination can conquer all, capturing the imagination of football fans worldwide as they aim for European play. Smith, elaborating on the club's appeal, states, "The club's entertaining, physical style of play, coupled with a vibrant football scene in Northern Ireland, caught my attention. I believe in Chairman Peter Clarke's vision and the ability to keep the club profitable with a small fan base."
"This club offers a unique opportunity for supporters to be part of a rising football team with massive ambitions," Smith adds, emphasizing the inclusive nature of Carrick Rangers. "We've taken more points off the top half of the table than ever in recent history. It demonstrates our team’s tenacity and determination, putting us on a path to contend for a European playoff spot and making for a beautiful story on the way up."
Aiming for Glory With Ambitious Goals
Carrick Rangers sets ambitious goals both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, they aspire to be the pride of the community and a regional asset. On the pitch, their goals include consistently competing for European spots and winning silverware in domestic competitions. The club remains realistic about its present state, emphasizing a commitment to sustainable success for generations to come.
A pivotal step in Fan Owned Club's evolution from a single-club model to a multi-club model, attracting talent and providing additional sponsorship and revenue through new channels. This development is poised to propel the Northern Irish club into the international spotlight, capitalizing on the growing interest in football, particularly in North America.
With over 350,000 fans attending games this season and millions tuning in through various platforms, exposure to the second-oldest league in the world is growing immensely. The advantage of an English-speaking league is its international appeal, especially in the United States, where a significant population of Irish descent can reconnect with their roots.
+Fan Experience: Bringing Supporters Closer to the Action
The partnership coincides with the launch of an innovative new engagement platform, +Fan.
Designed to immerse supporters in an unparalleled connection to the Club, +Fan transforms ordinary fans into active participants in the journey of Carrick Rangers with behind-the-scenes content, virtual meet-and-greets, insider insights, and a path for fan ownership.
As the team sets its sights on European glory, fans around the world are invited to own a share of the dream, transforming Carrick Rangers into more than just a football club, "This club is not just about football; it embodies the spirit of Northern Ireland, symbolizing community, togetherness, and the pursuit of sporting excellence. It represents a shared experience and a community-driven legacy, a testament to the compelling influence of fan ownership in the beautiful game."
Name: David Herman
Email: [email protected]