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EXCLUSIVE: Oxford United talk to Premier Sports Network about their Year of the Ox campaign

Premier Sports Network spoke to Oxford United FC head of marketing and CRM, Tom Law, as they begin their campaign to celebrate The Year of The Ox.

The year of the Ox is the second of the 12-year periodic sequence on the Chinese Zodiac. It is celebrated all year round starting this year on the February 12, 2021 until January 31, 2022. With many football teams having celebrated by wearing Chinese New Year tops when training or warming up pre match, Oxford United is celebrating the occasion throughout the year.

Why the year of the Ox?

The Ox has always been an important figure in not just the Football Club but the city as a whole. Derived from the old term ‘Oxanforda’, Oxford quite literally takes its name from a ford where Oxen (cattle) can safely cross.

The Ox has had significant influence on Oxford United Football Club and its previous guise of Headington United. A strong, honest, and hard-working animal, these are the characteristics all those associated with the club aspire to achieve.

What the yearly celebration of the Year of the Ox (YOTO) allows the club to do, is promote such positive traits with a key focus and to a wider audience.

Do you believe collaborating with the celebration will be beneficial to the club?

Absolutely! Through the work we are set to undertake across the next year, we have outlined two core aims we are looking to achieve both locally and internationally.

Across the club’s existing fan base the core values of YOTO (strength, honesty and hardworking) will provide a focus to our supporters which allows us to capitalise on the club’s best performance on the pitch for over 20 years.

Internationally, the club will be looking to use the occasion to increase our exposure in the far East – most notably in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam – the origins of the club’s shareholder group.

What trends are you hoping/ predicting to see through the year of the Ox?

With a highly engaged core social following, the club are predicting to see our fan base really buy into the values of the YOTO. On the pitch the club is enjoying a good run, which following last season’s play-off final disappointment shows the resilience of those players involved and for the supporters who have stuck by their team.

What are the key social platforms for Oxford FC and why?

The key platforms the club will be using to target fans will be through our official Twitter and Instagram accounts. The immediacy and two-way interactions of the platforms will allow the club to continue creating engaging content which inspires positive sentiment to our supporters. What is more, the club also have plans in place in the near future which utilises one of the platforms to attempt breaking a world record – but you’ll have to watch this space on that one!

Moving forward throughout the year the club plans to launch its official TikTok channel with a view to breaking into a new demographic of supporter online.

Where do the biggest opportunities lie with the year of the Ox?

Whilst locally the aim of the campaign is to galvanise and grow our existing fan base, the big growth opportunities lie with some of the club’s first forays into the far eastern market. Ultimately once we reach a post pandemic world, this work will reap dividends once the city welcomes the circa seven million tourists who pass through its walls.

What metrics are the most important to track the quality of your social output for the year of the Ox?

Locally the club wants to engage with our supporters so that our messages are communicated widely and effectively.

Internationally, it is all about impressions. We want to get as many eyes as possible on our content to ensure the good word of Oxford United is at the forefront of people’s minds.

Is there any involvement from other clubs or the community with the year of the Ox?

There may be opportunities to collaborate with other clubs with whom we share partners with. However, at this stage we are standing alone in our promotion.

Why is getting the community involved with the club important?

Whilst the football club has always place great importance on how it engages with the community, this has taken on an extra level of importance during the ongoing pandemic. In a time where the world has stood still, football has continued to provide a level of escapism for its supporters – this despite supporters not being able to attend matches.

Oxford United has involved many aspects of their community already. Oxford United in the Community has appealed to fans to tackle loneliness together by supporting the EFL initiative and engaging with any fans aged 70 or over that might benefit from a, friendly phone call, doorstep check-up or virtual coffee morning call.

Loneliness Watch along Bristol Rovers - YouTube

Support Oxford United in the Community :!/

Author: Bethany Moss