Doomy a very good post.
First of all what the club has and continue to do should be commended, the club has and continues to move forward with JR / CR at the helm. However as Spiritater says more could and should be done to attract future generations of supporters.
Attendances are and will continue to increase should a successful team be playing at the mill, this will naturally gain the attention of a few and will cause a snowball effect should it continue to bear fruit. However how can this be accelerated? In order to do this you have to think as Mansfield as a brand and brands require loyalty and good products to retain existing business and obtain further growth.
Say what you will about my personal experience however I have to give background in order to provide context. My first game was the FA cup second round match against Huddersfield in Dec 2001 which we won 4-0 (attending with my dad and I got hooked), we then started to attend regularly during that promotion season and got season tickets whilst we were in the second division after a few more years, the interest of attending waned with Haslam at the helm (but thats another story).
On and off attendances have followed over the years however fast forward to last season and the appointment of Steve Evans. This caught mine and i'm sure a few others attention, my first game last season was Notts County away however this time with the wife and kids in tow. Significant interest was sparked again and as a family we attended all the remaining games of the season that we could (only exception at home was when on Holiday over the Easter period).
We started off in the family block, for me a great introduction back into the stadium but block A isn't for me (Little atmosphere and open to the elements) and so we moved into the upper tier. The offers last season of buy one get one free did also contribute to regular attendance. However this season we have season tickets. In effect we have brought into team (Brand) Mansfield.
If your still with me, the point i'm trying to make is that we've been on a journey from contributing nothing to season ticket holders in the space of 8 / 9 months, each step up-scaling our contribution to the club as we buy into the brand.
I have supported and followed the club for years (as many have), so I was probably easier to entice back to regularly supporting the club than your average premier league fan located in Mansfield. But in order to target those kind of people we need to offer something that supporting a team on TV can't and that's live football
. The club should use this as a major selling point.
"Support your local team
", "Watch live football
" should be strap lines the club adopt.
That amongst other methods may gain interest, so we've got their interest they want to attend but don't want to pay £72 (two adults + two juniors on the day price). We don't sell out the family block to my knowledge, so make it so appealing that we do on a regular basis. My suggestion would be to reduce prices in block A to no more than £15 for an adult and junior ticket, the term being a lost leader, get people hooked and like myself and family they will move to other parts of the ground and spend more should they enjoy the product on offer including food sales etc.
We need a feeder system to get people in the door, once through that door that leads to the extra revenue further on in their journey.
Regarding the Bishop Stand here it is in all its glory below, although now derelict can we not use the space to the right hand side of it to build a temporary "family stand" covered to hold roughly 1000 fans? similar to the stand in the far corner at Lincoln, food sales could be made via the quarry lane stand.
Lets say the cost is £1m to construct (a club representative would need to give more relevant figures including legal fees etc) - again its only a temporary stand before a more sustainable redevelopment plan implemented so may be cheaper.
If half full regularly with 500 fans annual revenues would be £86,250 (500 x £7.50 x 23 games) ignoring any additional food sales, cup games revenue, pay back would be 12 years, again ignoring running costs of the stand. Shortened to 6 years if regularly full with 1000 fans, and shortened again should people move out of that stand into other areas of the ground and be replaced by others keen to attend and try it out for the first time.
Is there any way as fans we could contribute to the capital required through methods such as crowd funding? Are FA grants available to the club to help fund this also?
We've all brought into the club and what JR / CR are offering, for me its about getting people to notice brand Mansfield, wanting to try it, giving them an opportunity to do so, enjoying and wanting more of the brand and as they do up-scaling the contribution they make until the point they become season ticket holders. Then the cycle begins again as word spreads and other take note.
As the saying goes the customer is always right, it would be interesting to know if the club has actively engaged with people be it in town or on social media to find out through market research what would make them attend? What prevents them from doing so?
Hopefully the club take note as I think Doomy and others have hit the nail on the head.