How TSS Rovers become the first supporter-owned football club in Canada through equity crowdfunding

Rea Naidoo
June 24, 2024
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In 2022, TSS Rovers offered supporters the opportunity to invest in its League1 BC Men’s and Women’s soccer team, a newly formed semi-professional team.

Its equity crowdfunding campaign made Rovers Football Club the first supporter-owned club in Canada. Rovers Football Club is a supporter-driven club with a passionate Canadian players-focused objective. As a young soccer country with a small soccer pyramid for advancing talent to the professional level, Rovers Football Club is the perfect launchpad for aspiring Canadian players. The ethos of the club is to help develop Canada’s top talent to take part in the world’s largest soccer competition. 

Rovers’ purpose-driven philosophy, hyper-localized strategy, and its existing fanbase propelled TSS Rovers Football Club to break barriers, realize a national first of its kind dream and to ultimately fund its ambition to build a platform for Canadians soccer players. The key to the success of Rovers Football Club was activating its existing supporter base through multiple engagement initiatives.

Rover’s raise in a snapshot

  • Rovers raised $261K from 434 investors becoming the first supporter-owned soccer (***ahem***football) club in Canada.
  • 72% of their investors were non-accredited investors who, like Ryan Reynolds, wanted to own a soccer club but who were unable to invest without equity crowdfunding. 
  • 86% of their investors came from their own community of passionate club supporters.
  • They leveraged their Spirit of Rovers Trust supporters to promote the raise amongst the superfans of the club.
  • Rovers created a unique voting structure for investors where the voting trustee for investors was a founding member of the Spirit of the Rovers Trust to ensure the values of the club supporters and investors are always valued.
  • As a Vancouver-based club, over 70% of investors were from BC with people from Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec also becoming shareholders.
  • They promoted the raise during the season at games with banners, postcards, photobooths, announcements, and great perks to get your free club swag.

An exciting and consistent digital campaign

Rovers launched an engaging and consistent email marketing campaign, which played a significant role in keeping supporters informed and excited about the investment opportunity. Each email was crafted with a personal touch from their founder, transforming backers into true advocates for the club.

Exceptional Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Word-of-mouth advertising proved exceptionally effective, leveraging the extensive coaching network, supporters’ trust, and the players themselves. Coaches and players acted as ambassadors, passionately spreading the word about the investment opportunity within their networks. 

Onsite Guerilla Marketing

At their stadium, Rovers utilized innovative onsite guerilla marketing tactics. This included strategically placed banners, game announcements, and additional print materials designed to generate buzz and attract attention during live events.

 Consistent Social Media Campaign

A well-orchestrated social media campaign further amplified the message. The supporters’ trust played a crucial role in this, using their platforms to reach a broader audience and maintain consistent communication throughout the campaign.

Creating momentum with company milestones

Significant team achievements further bolstered the campaign’s momentum. During the campaign, the team became the inaugural champions of the League1 BC Men’s Division. This victory added extra promotion, validated their mission, and generated excitement, helping to convert existing pledges into investments.

The success of TSS Rovers in becoming the first supporter-owned football club in Canada is a testament to the power of community. By harnessing the dedication of their supporters and implementing a multifaceted marketing strategy, Rovers Football Club not only achieved their fundraising goals but also set a new standard for supporter-owned sports teams in Canada.

To learn more about raising capital on FrontFundr, visit our raise capital page. If you’re ready to reach out to our team, fill out our online application!

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Rea Naidoo