How marketing partnerships help grow audiences

How Fortitude doubled footfall at Oxford Stadium via a marketing partnership between the venue and Oxford United.

There was an alternative soundtrack to half-time at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday when Oxford United hosted League One rivals Reading. 

With the new speedway season around the corner and a packed programme of Gala Race Nights for greyhound racing scheduled, the Fortitude Communications team created and delivered a unique marketing campaign which had not been attempted before.

We formed part of a new partnership creation between clients Oxford Stadium and Oxford United. By linking the two, Fortitude aimed to drive footfall to upcoming Oxford stadium events by increasing people’s perception and awareness of the venue and the speedway and greyhound racing that takes place there. 

Account Manager Shaun Reynolds outlines why we created the marketing campaign, the goals and how they were achieved. 

Marketing activation

It is set to be an historic year for Fortitude Communications’ client Oxford Speedway.

The club is doing what no speedway team has done before by tracking squads in all three British Speedway leagues. In addition, Oxford Stadium has high ambitions to engage new audiences to greyhound racing at its primetime Friday and Saturday evening fixtures. 

Combined, there is a greater need for both setups to engage new supporters, customers and sponsors to help contribute to the financial viability of Oxford Stadium and its sports clubs. 

To help our client achieve its business objective our team created a marketing activation idea to engage Oxford Stadium with a large, highly relevant audience through the creation and delivery of a high-profile partnership. 

Speedway spectacle

In front of 10,000 supporters, Fortitude organised two marketing stunts on the day. 

Ahead of kick-off, fans were able to meet retired greyhound Bangerz who paraded pitch side and greeted the teams as they exited the tunnel. Even first-team Head Coach Des Buckingham took some time out of his pre-match preparations to show Bangerz some attention. 

Following this, stars of the shale Chris Bomber’ Harris and Scott Nicholls were introduced to the crowd at half-time. While Scott was interviewed by Peter Rhoades-Brown via the PA system, Chris revved up the crowd’s half-time excitement by firing a bike up pitch side, completing a couple of practice stars and performing a burnout!

Club promoter Jamie Courtney said: We don’t believe in standing still, which is why as a club we’re constantly exploring avenues to engage new supporters or casual visitors. 

The team will be in several schools before our first fixture, and we have organised trips to armed forces bases so we can spread the word about our great sport. With this extra effort and support from Fortitude, 2024 can be a huge success.” 

Event management

The timing of both stunts was deliberate, as United’s home matchday coincided with Oxford Stadium’s inaugural Oxford United Legends’ Race Night in the evening. 

It was the stadium’s second Gala’ fixture of the year with planning, event marketing and promotion, delivery and execution all handled by Fortitude. 

Football fans were incentivised to attend with free admission on offer to anyone who entered wearing an Oxford United shirt – a move which further strengthened the stadium’s new partnership. 

In addition, Fortitude invited club legends to attend the evening with each guest having a race dedicated to their service to the football club. James Constable, Pete Foley and Peter Rhoades-Brown joined more than 25 colleagues – including Head Coach Des Buckingham – trackside for a bumper evening of racing. 

There was also a special presentation to family and friends of the late Joey Beauchamp whose greyhound Oi Oi Joey’ won the stadium’s Greyhound of the Month competition – a concept created and managed by the Fortitude team each month. 

Increased attendance

All the above contributed to an attendance surge with crowds up a staggering 50% on previous Saturday nights. 

And more is planned for March when Fortitude helps delivers Oxford Stadium’s first St Patricks Day festival on Saturday, March 16, where the toe-tapping jigs and reels from the Emerald Isle will provide the soundtrack to another unforgettable night out!

The first 150 racegoers to book on the night will receive a free pint of Guinness on arrival to start the celebrations.

Shaun Reynolds, Account Manager at Fortitude Communications, said: Having the opportunity to showcase speedway and greyhound racing to so many people was a real highlight in Oxford’s regeneration story to date. 

Coupled with our team’s existing relationship with the football club and its staff, Saturday marked a positive day for the stadium with new fans engaged and a bumper crowd in the evening. It firmly demonstrated how forming strong partnerships and creating meaningful marketing events can help drive engagement and footfall.”


The event went down well with those who attended too.

Oxford United legend Pete Foley said: It was a fantastic event to be part of, we really enjoyed it. There were lots of Oxford United shirts trackside and the fans really got behind the event. 

We’ll definitely be up to watch the speedway team in the summer too!”

Racegoer Karen Jones added: Brilliant night, fabulous staff, lovely food and a great atmosphere!”

And another said: It was a superb evening – we’ll be back for St Patrick’s Day!”

Get in touch

If you would like to have a chat about how Fortitude Communications can increase the profile of your brand, contact our team by here.

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