Bournemouth University have extended their partnership with AFC Bournemouth, to become Official Higher Education Partners for the 2016-17 Premier League season.
The University and the Club have had an established partnership since 2013, with AFC Bournemouth rising into the Premier League and to the highest ever league finish in the club’s history during that time.
Activity undertaken as a part of the partnership last season, AFC Bournemouth’s inaugural season in the Premier League, included a number of student ambassadors working to help supporters during matchdays, gaining work experience and supporting the club in the delivery of games.
BU also wanted to raise its profile and increase community engagement during the season and had the idea of creating targeted impact around a specific game. The Club agreed this innovation and in October 2015 the ‘BU Big Match’ was developed into a week of events involving schools and the local community, as well as BU staff, students and alumni.
The AFC Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur game in October 2015 was designated the ‘BU Big Match’. BU ran a week of events before the game, including taking BU alumni and club Commercial Director Rob Mitchell to one of the local schools the university works with, Queen Elizabeth’s in Wimborne, to raise aspirations.
The BU Big Match activity received further recognition, winning the PRCA DARE Award 2016 for Best Event, Launch or Stunt of the Year.
As a part of the partnership, AFC Bournemouth provide high level coaching for BU’s men’s and women’s football teams, while Bournemouth University students have also designed supporter digital competitions, made contributions through the Club’s media team and contributed to the matchday programme and AFC Bournemouth website.
Jim Andrews, Chief Operating Officer at Bournemouth University, said, “We are proud to be official partners with our local football club AFC Bournemouth, and proud of the Club’s achievements last year, ably competing in the Premier League alongside some of the best football clubs in the world. This partnership has provided real opportunities for our students, and has been to the benefit of the local community here in Dorset and we will be building on the partnership this year to the benefit of our communities, both regionally and internationally.
“AFC Bournemouth’s success has really helped to put Bournemouth on the map and, as Bournemouth University has recently been named among the top 200 most international universities in the world* I am sure that this partnership will continue to have international repercussions too.”
The partnership also extends to support the football club’s Green Goals initiative, a scheme aimed at raising environmental awareness through the funding of local community projects.
Rob Mitchell, Commercial Director at AFC Bournemouth and a Bournemouth University graduate, said, “We are delighted to be working with Bournemouth University again this season and continue what has been a very fruitful partnership. Both AFC Bournemouth and Bournemouth University are big organisations within the local area, and committed to the community they are based so I am sure that this partnership extension will be to the benefit of BU students, staff, and the local community, as well as us here at the football club.”
This summer BU and AFC Bournemouth are also working together to deliver a programme of training for 60 Chinese coaches, who are staying in Bournemouth to receive expert teaching to take back to China and support the country’s footballing infrastructure in the future.
Bournemouth University has also seen a number of advertising opportunities created through the Club, including the broadcast of advertisements on live TV during televised games, taking the BU brand around the world. The Premier League is the most watched football league in the world, with 1.2 billion fans worldwide, including 174 million fans in China and 89.3 million in India (source Repucom survey May 2015 – EPL and Sportcal Insight).