The report comes from VisitFootball, which has ranked Palace second in the top flight in the ‘Best Club’ category, and has ranked Selhurst Park as the second most welcoming stadium for home supporters in the Premier League.
VisitFootball is commissioned by the Premier League to develop a set of quality standards for the twenty Premier League clubs, and assess each club against the standard every season. The objective is to continually raise the bar for fan experience across the Premier League. VisitFootball grade various aspects of the matchday experience at every Premier League ground over several visits across recent season. Clubs are marked out of 100 in eight different categories: pre-arrival, arrival, club shop, pre-match experience, match experience, catering, toilet facilities and post-match.
Palace ranked second in the league for ‘warmest welcome’ last season, in large part due to the club’s Fan Support Team and staff interaction which was deemed “exceptional”, with the friendliness and helpfulness of club staff at the stadium highlighted. This was borne out by Palace scoring 91.94 out of 100 in the ‘arrival category’, well in excess of the league average.
The lively Crystal Palace Fanzone was the other key strength of the ground identified by VisitFootball. The report also noted the quality of the food options in Selhurst Park, and the helpfulness and friendliness of the catering staff. All of this led to the overall home fan experience at Selhurst Park Palace scoring 84.84 out of 100, again comfortably above the average for Premier League stadiums.
This represents the best result Selhurst Park has achieved from VisitFootball since returning to the Premier League in the 2013/14 season and continues a consistent trajectory of year-on-year improvement in the fan experience over that time.
Reacting to the results, Phil Alexander, Crystal Palace CEO, said “Crystal Palace fans generate a fantastic atmosphere on match days, and as a club we are always striving to ensure our fans enjoy the best experience possible when they visit Selhurst Park. These results are testament to the environment that all of the staff at the club, led superbly by Operations Director Sharon Lacey, have worked hard to create. We will keep looking to find new and exciting ways to enhance the matchday experience for all supporters.”
Mandy Lane, Managing Director of LiveTourism, who carry out the Visit Football assessment, said: “From Crystal Palace’s first customer experience assessment in their promotion year of 2013, the club has tirelessly focused on improvement - from the quick wins identified to longer term objectives. There are three key elements in achieving this level of success; it requires ‘buy in from the top’ - the Club leadership team, a key person within the Club responsible for driving change and delivering on action plans and all departments working collectively and cohesively together. Crystal Palace has accelerated change through this process and are thoroughly deserving of this achievement.”