What is AberDNA?
AberDNA is a new membership initiative which aims to capture the imagination of not only local, but national and international supporters. Unlike season tickets or other memberships, all profits from AberDNA will be used exclusively to support the Football Operation.
In return for your support of the Football Operation, via a monthly or annual payment plan, supporters can join one of four different membership categories and in return will receive a number of benefits, including a replica shirt, discounts on season tickets and club merchandise and the opportunity to help shape the future of the club through their collective ‘AberDNA Influence’.
AberDNA has been put together after analysing feedback from a recent supporters survey and discussion in meetings with key supporters groups such as Dons Supporters Together. The intention is that this membership, unlike season tickets, will last for future generations to enjoy.
Why has AberDNA been launched?
As we seek to build on the progress made in the past five years and move towards being a UEFA Top 100 Club in time for the move to the new stadium, it is vital that we continue to compete at the top end of the table and qualify for Europe each season.
In order to give us the best chance of doing that we must make further investment in the Football Operation to secure the results required to make UEFA Top 100 status a reality.
Increased revenue through ticketing, retail, sponsorship, player sales coupled with significant investment in the Football Operation has resulted in a record turnover for the club in the last two financial years. In order to push the club closer to UEFA Top 100 we must find innovative ways of increasing the turnover in a sustainable manner. In creating this new membership, we are following a growing trend which has been established by several major football clubs around the world.
By introducing a membership initiative which supporters can sign-up to via a monthly direct debit we are seeking to replicate a format which is in place at other clubs (such as Foundation of Hearts* and Hibernian Supporters Limited**) and provide a revenue stream which we don’t have at the moment to support the Football Operation.
AberDNA members will receive a number of exclusive benefits ranging from a discount on season tickets and merchandise to the opportunity to help shape the future of the club.
* Foundation of Hearts – “We currently have a membership of around 8,000 individuals, all of whom contribute financially to the organisation. This financial contribution is used to provide working capital for the club we support, Heart of Midlothian. The contribution from Foundation pledgers to the club now stands at more than £6.5 million.”
**Hibernian Supporters Limited – “Over the last few years we have tried to play our part in addressing this mismatch and with the generosity of over 1700 Hibernian supporters we have been able to help Alan and then Neil by contributing over £525,000 to the playing budget.” Hibernian Supporters Limited
How is the 'Football Operation' defined?
100% of the funds generated through AberDNA will be used to support the Football Operation in the following ways:
1. First Team
Directly supporting the Football Management Team’s budget by investing in the recruitment, development and retention of top talent to allow us to continue to compete and win at the highest levels.
2. Youth Academy
Enhancing the AFC Youth Academy’s ability to identify, recruit, develop and inspire local young talent by creating experiences which will prepare young players for first team football.
3. Creating a High-Performance Environment
To create a best-in-class Football Medicine, Sports Science and Performance Analysis support structure for all professional and Youth Academy players, ensuring they are well-equipped as they prepare to win.
How do we know that the money will be spent on the Football Operation?
AberDNA has been established with the full support of Derek McInnes and the wider football operation at the club. The initiative is accountable not only to AberDNA Members, but also to the Football Operation, in terms of making sure that this initiative makes the difference it is intended to.
Can you guarantee that money will not be used for the stadium project?
The funding of the new stadium and Training, Community & Youth Academy complex is being delivered entirely separately and supporters can rest assured that no funds raised from AberDNA memberships will be utilised in relation to the stadium financing requirements. All funds raised will remain within Aberdeen Football Club plc and be used exclusively to support the Football Operation as outlined above.
What does this mean for the existing memberships, Black & Gold, Stand Free and Angus the Bull Club?
The Black & Gold membership will cease to exist at the end of the season. Introduced in 2013, membership has peaked at around 1100 members and after the associated benefits have been delivered there is very little left to put towards areas of the club such as the Football Operation. Membership is also restricted to current season ticket holders and the desire is to create a much more global membership, through AberDNA.
The Stand Free card will continue for 2018/19 as it is solely related to ticketing and stadium access. The Stand Free membership was introduced at the start of the season and has amassed 3500 members who have had access to cheaper tickets and been able to use their cards to gain access to the stadium. All AberDNA members will automatically receive the benefits associated with having a Stand Free card.
The Angus the Bull Club will also take on a new format for next season. Details of this will be communicated to current members over the close season.
What does this mean for season tickets?
AberDNA is an optional initiative for season ticket holders and also an alternative for the many supporters who are unable to attend Pittodrie on a regular basis due to location, work or family commitments, but who still wish to help shape the future of the club and support the Football Operation.
Season tickets will be available from mid-April and we would encourage all season ticket holders to sign-up for an AberDNA membership beforehand to redeem their discount of up to 15%. Supporters who sign-up for a season ticket and an AberDNA Membership will also receive an additional 20 Loyalty Points.
Season tickets remain the best value way of supporting The Dons at Pittodrie, allow you to secure your seat for every match and build Loyalty Points for matches where there will be a high demand for tickets such as Semi-Final’s and Cup Final’s.
How will AberDNA seating priority for the new stadium be determined?
AberDNA members will have access to season tickets for the new stadium ahead of the general sale period for match buyers.
The complete process for seating priority will of course be determined when the move-in date to the stadium has been defined and will be influenced by a number of factors including the number of season ticket holders we have going into the final season here at Pittodrie.
Why are supporters being asked to contribute more to the club?
For the club to be successful we must explore all avenues to increase revenue and this is just one initiative which has been designed to achieve that goal. The drive to increase revenue across the club has been supported by the recent appointment of Rob Wicks as Commercial Director.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace the club’s commercial strategy needs to be diversified and with supporter engagement seen as a key club priority, AberDNA ticks both of these boxes – by delivering an innovative platform which can engage fans at all levels by delivering some terrific benefits. It also caters very well for the club’s growing global fan base.
Over the next few months some other initiatives will be announced which are directed at increasing the opportunities for corporate supporters and local businesses to engage more closely with the club.
Why have the pricing levels been set as they are?
Supporters have the opportunity to sign up from £12 per month (£8 per month U12s) and this price has been set in order to retain a significant amount of money to be invested in the Football Operation and allow for the small cost associated with delivering each membership.
We recognise the commitment that all supporters make to the club and would like to stress that this is an optional membership. Supporters should only sign-up if they are in a financial position to do so.
Do I have to sign-up for a certain period of time?
Each member must commit to a minimum of 12 months. All supporters will be contacted ahead of their renewal date.
When can I sign-up?
You can sign-up at any point and your membership will be valid for 12 months. Supporters who sign-up during the Founding Member window will receive a Founding Member souvenir pack and recognition in the tunnel here at Pittodrie. The Founding Member window closed on 31 August 2018.
What happens if I cancel my direct debit?
When a scheduled payment is not received the club will endeavour to make contact with you to re- establish the Direct Debit. If contact cannot be made, the membership and all associated benefits (such as access to the stadium) will be suspended until payment has been made.
How do I sign-up?
You can sign up now online at afc.co.uk/eTickets, by calling 01224 63 1903 or visiting the Pittodrie Ticket Office in person. Member fees can be paid annually by credit or debit card or monthly via Direct Debit.
When can I claim my free replica shirt?
Members who are based in the UK will be able to collect their free replica shirt from the AFC Club Shop when the kits are launched in the summer. Supporters should bring photo I.D and collect their voucher from the Club Shop. Each member will be contacted via e-mail when the shirts are available to collect.
International members will be contacted to confirm the size of the shirt, recipient and delivery details for their replica shirt. The replica shirt will be available for postage along with the Founding Member Souvenir packs and AberDNA cards from June 2018.
If I'm an AberDNA member and Season Ticket holder, will I receive two cards?
No. If you are an existing season ticket holder and sign-up to AberDNA you will receive a brand new AberDNA card ahead of the 2018/19 season. Your AberDNA card will allow you to gain entry to the stadium and redeem your discount in the AFC Club Shop.
How and when do I use my discount in the Shop/Season Tickets/Match Tickets/RedTV?
Members will be supplied with complete details on how to redeem their membership benefits when they sign-up.
Club Shop Discount
Members can claim their discount from the Club Shop by presenting their AberDNA card. Whilst the AberDNA cards remain in production, members can claim their discount by presenting photo ID and quoting their Dons ID.
Members will also be able to redeem their discount online by logging in using the e-mail address which is connected to their Dons ID. The discount will be applied automatically when you have successfully logged-in.
Season Ticket Discount
When buying a season ticket online your AberDNA discount will automatically be applied to your season ticket for 2018/19. The AberDNA discount will also pop-up automatically when you quote your Dons ID when buying over the phone or in person from the Pittodrie Ticket Office.
Match Ticket Discount
This benefit will also be enabled automatically online when a member adds any home league match ticket to their basket. The AberDNA discount will also pop-up automatically when you quote your Dons ID when buying over the phone or in person from the Pittodrie Ticket Office.
Members will be given a voucher code ahead of the 2018/19 season which will enable them to get 20% off their RedTV subscription.