FC Cartagena has always been a very important part of the local community, bringing together people from across the city of the same name. Now, through a pioneering initiative called FCC Business, the Murcian club has become a catalyst for the local economy and become key in connecting local businesses.
Explaining how FCC Business came about, club president Paco Belmonte said: “The idea started as a result of the growth of the club, both in terms of sponsorship and membership, and given the need for all business sectors, of different economic capacities, to be represented in the club.”
The entrepreneurial programme was launched at the beginning of the 2019/20 season and currently has more than 200 businesses involved. These companies come from a vast variety of sectors, following the premise that only two from the same sector should coincide at the same time. There are also businesses of many different sizes, with some having an annual turnover of €100,000 while others bring in more than €30m each year.
There are benefits to all these businesses of being associated with FC Cartagena and with FCC Business. As the club explains, there are four main objectives: firstly, to encourage synergy between members so that companies grow in all areas, not just economically; secondly, to set up a VIP meeting point during the team’s LaLiga SmartBank matches; thirdly, to allow members to use that same space during the rest of the week for events such as meetings, conferences and training sessions; and, fourthly, to allocate part of any money raised towards solidarity and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
In the first two and a half years of the project, this has all been achieved. The unique FCC Business space has been created in the lower south stand of the Municipal Stadium Cartagonova, with this being used on matchdays and other times during the week, while the approximately 200 companies that make up the programme are collaborating on various projects and growing together.
As well as facilitating this collaboration and providing the VIP space, FC Cartagena also acts as a catalyst for these companies by promoting the work that they’re carrying out through the club’s website and social media, while the club does this in a way that also boosts the SEO of these business partners, which ultimately leads them towards new business opportunities across the country and beyond.
FCC Business was launched half a year before the start of the coronavirus pandemic and was already making a difference by fitting seamlessly into the business fabric of the city. Yet, the hardships brought by the pandemic only increased the need for local businesses to be supported and, therefore, made the work done through FCC Business even more valuable.
Reflecting on the success of the project so far, President Belmonte stated: “The user experience has been one of the keys to the success of this project, as our sponsors have had different activations become experiences, not only from their business perspective but also as fans of the club. Exclusivity is another aspect to highlight, as well as the possibility of offering discounts on other advertising within the club, on merchandising or on other types of specific or special relationships.”
There are ambitious plans for the future of FCC Business, with the club keen to bring about even more B2B deals and partnerships by investing in online tools that can facilitate this. As Belmonte added: “This should be the next phase of our project, especially at the technological level, even though the interaction between the companies in a commercial sense is already significant. “
For those in charge at FC Cartagena, this project is already the jewel in the crown. They can see that the club is making a difference beyond the white lines of the football pitch and is acting as an intersection for the city and province’s business leaders.