Distinctive Group

With typical Stateside enthusiasm, WAGMI United burst onto the English football scene 18 months ago as Crawley Town FC’s new owners. But while their ultimate ambition is to climb the leagues, the club’s values will always stay rooted in the local community, says commercial manager Jayme Ablitt.

“We’re a small club, but mighty at the same time,” says Jayme, who has been handling the corporate side of business at Broadfield Stadium since last November.

“Our strength lies in our family-friendly ethos, which we value as highly as our local business links. We may be small in size but we’re big at heart.”

Fans and other stakeholders could initially be forgiven for feeling left out in the cold when the owners, cryptocurrency investors Preston Johnson and Eben Smith, announced plans to “shake up the status quo … and build a worldwide community of fans new and old … to anywhere in the world with an internet connection.”

And they would be the first to admit it’s been a steep learning curve ever since, as last season turned fraught in the battle against relegation.

Thankfully, fortunes are very much on the up again, helped by the owners’ willingness to admit their approach to Red Devils’ ownership perhaps didn’t start off on the right footing.

Jayme explains, “Of course, they had big dreams of becoming the team of the internet. But it didn’t take long for them to appreciate just how much Crawley FC means to the town and local community, so they’ve held their hands up and said, ‘Look we’re willing to learn’.

“The name WAGMI means ‘We’re all gonna make it’, and that includes everyone involved in the club’s future, from fans and sponsors to local firms and, of course, the players themselves.”


So, it’s business as usual at Crawley Town, and Jayme is keen to talk about available partnership opportunities.

“We have some great reciprocal arrangements on the go. We already do a lot of work with LEGO® subscription service Brick Borrow, our Sleeve sponsors. They’ve got loads of brilliant ideas and they’re very keen to engage with our media guys on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and so on.

“Obviously we don’t have a globally recognised superstar in the squad, but our centre forward Danni Orsi does a lot of social media work with Brick Borrow – and let’s face it, everyone likes to be associated with a goal scorer.

“We also have a great connection with our Goal and Replay sponsor County Mall, so our players are popping down to the centre at Christmas for signings, and there’ll be a little pop-up shop too.

“Our players are definitely at the forefront of our social media strategy, and our older fans embrace it as much as the younger ones.”

But while the club is eager to move forward with the times, they haven’t forgotten the fans with no access to the latest technology.

For instance, the traditional match-day programme – reluctantly ditched as a loss leader – has been replaced with short video introductions for each player on the digital scoreboard.

“The crowd loves the walkouts and so do the player – they all have their own goal GIFs and celebrations.”

Another sign of the times is the reconnection between the fans and their local team – a trend that gained traction during the pandemic. “A few years ago, it was popular to support big clubs like Chelsea.

“But when social distancing came in during Covid, it got harder to get a seat, and fans started coming back to us rather than say, Arsenal, where they didn’t stand a chance of seeing the game.”


Sensible pricing helps repay fan loyalty.

“We know where we stand in football’s big pyramid, so we’ve got some of the lowest ticket prices in League Two, plus a child is admitted free with an adult. It’s not fair to push prices up, because fans will just walk away.

“We’re also continuing offers like two games for £2 per ticket. This was so important to us in last season’s final push because a sellout crowd makes a massive difference in atmosphere.”


The club still has some great partnerships on offer, including brand placement on the “camera-facing” East Stand. “Obviously we play all our home league and cup games in the ground, and also host Brighton and Hove Albion women’s home games. They get a lot of televised games and highlights, so the East Stand represents a really nice piece of exposure.

“We’re also very flexible on our deals, it’s important to avoid the ‘one size fit all’ approach. Our sponsors can choose a bespoke silver or gold package that suits them.

“Player sponsorships are also available, from home and away strips right down to the laces. The latter is aimed at the younger fans, who get a video message from the player at the end of the season, plus a message on the website.

“It has helped bring the personal touch back to a game which is becoming ever more distant to the average fan. Again, I think this is a reason why League Two is rising in popularity, because the players are really accessible. They’re on hand to sign autographs and say hello before the game. They don’t take their status for granted – it just makes for a more ‘real’ all-round experience.”


Networking events are also being reintroduced. Having fizzled out pre-Covid, Jayme is keen to make the most of ongoing collaborations with Brighton and Hove Albion and Leighton Orient, Twickenham and the Oval, among others.

“They’re all specialists in sports networking and do a lot of work behind the scenes for us. Our location on the M23 corridor is a perfect fit, and Crawley and Gatwick on our doorstep offers huge potential.

“We’re also looking to reintroduce our Gold Club so our main sponsors can get together and network.”


And last but by no means least is hospitality. The executive suite can host up to 150 guests, with company training days particularly popular.

“Our match day hospitality is also doing really well, and it’s pretty much sold out every home game.”

Jayme also hopes to make more of the pitch out of season. “Because we share it with Brighton, we only have a narrow window of about three weeks before the pitch has to be re-laid, but we are considering hiring it out for midsummer concerts and similar events.”

“As I mentioned at the start, our biggest strength as a business is our close-knit community feel. Customers know they are dealing with the same people throughout, whether it’s myself, Katie in the ticket office or Tom the general manager.”

For more details about sponsorship packages, contact: commercial@crawleytownfc.com.