Month: August 2018

Sydney Roosters NRL Game Day Experience, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, 25/8/18

New fan engagement activation for fans from the NRL Sydney Roosters, Pixel Loco and Allianz Stadium included the ‘Rocky Run’ activation that sees fans run as the digital mascot and tackle opponents on the big screen.

Fans were loving the Roosters fan zone as well which included:
– Inflatable jumping castle
– Rocky Run
– Free popcorn
– Buzzing atmosphere

So much going on pre-game at Roosters inside Allianz Stadium with:
– Ball kid of the game
– Retro game
– Stats
– Epic hype reel 
– Old Timers 
– Member guard of honour

Was also good to use the Allianz Stadium app by pre-ordering beers and saving time waiting in this line.

I took a walk around Allianz Stadium at half time and saw a good use of adding some visual colour and history with these banners.


Sydney Swans AFL Game Day Experience, SCG, Sydney, NSW 25/8/18

Before the Sydney Roosters game tonight at Allianz Stadium I made the short walk along Drive Avenue in the Moore Park precinct to take in the Sydney Swans AFL game day fan zone.

The Swans in my opinion have one of the best fan zone set ups in the AFL and in Australian sport and make good use of the space that they have adjacent to the Sydney Cricket Ground where they play games. The road is closed off to allow fans to have the freedom and space to roam around the fan zone and take in the fan engagement thats on offer for them.

Some of the things that the Swans offer fans in this fan zone include the following:
Swans fans who drive Volkswagen cars get free parking at the SCG. This is a pretty simple and effective way to look engage fans and their sponsor on game day. 
Fans can get a sense of the inner sanctum of the SCG with the Swans and sponsor QBE’s ’Swans 360°’ virtual reality activation

At every home match sponsor Citi gives away $1,000 to one lucky winner with fans being able to collect a Citi clap banner before each home match and hold it up at half time for their chance to win.

– ‘Neverbeens booth’
– Red & White Mail 
– Multiple fan areas with activities 
– Vibrant presentation 
– Spin to Win Wheel
– Skills activations 
– Inflatables
– Face painting
– Footy card photo opp
– Roving entertainers 

In the Volkswagen fan zone fans are able to experience the brand-new Volkswagen Rear View Throw-In from the Volkswagen Footy Department which takes Volkswagen technology from the vehicle and applies it to footy 

Fans are able to test their skills with the Volkswagen Handball Challenge where they can handball through a moving tyre into the boot of a Volkswagen.

The fans favourite seems to be the Volkswagen Club Song Car which gives fans chance to jump in the back seat of a Volkswagen Tiguan, record their version of Cheer Cheer and share it with your friends on social media.  They then put these up on the big screen as well throughout the match. 

Face painting for fans to get on their red and whitepre-game.
In the McCafe sponsored Sydney Swans fan zone area fans can test their skills on the Jump Bump Thump and Big Kick inflatables 
They can also try their luck at the Citi Spin to Win wheel where they can win heaps of prizes including memberships, ticket upgrades, signed merchandise and McCafe give aways. 


Melbourne Mustangs AIHL Game Day Experience, O’Brien Group Arena, Melbourne 18/8/18

On a chilly Saturday in Melbourne I headed down to Docklands to check out the Melbourne Mustangs Australian Ice Hockey League match day fan experience at O’Brien Group Arena and was pleasantly surprised and impressed by a few things here. 

• The venue was a sell out with the standing room only section three to four deep

• A pumping loud atmosphere was created throughout the match from the fans banging and cheering away behind the perspex barrier. The slapping of the pucks on these was intense and exciting to watch and was certainly captivating younger fans

• Gold coin donations for posters and game day programs and a merch desk staffed by passionate volunteers. The team here all do a fine job to look after their fans and sponsors on game days

• The upstairs bar featured American beers and F&B options as well as a nice vantage spot with comfy chairs which overlooked the action on the ice. I’d have to now say that this is up there as one of Australia’s best game day venue vantage points

• Combo meals and babyccinos for kids the latter of which was the first time I had seen this on a venue’s concessions menu board.

• Family fun fan engagement with interval races and puck shot challenges to keep the crowd entertained

• Free parking validation with every ticket. Now that’s one way to win fans over and end the fan journey well.

Overall a highly enjoyable experience at the Mustangs and O’Brien Group Arena with a few nice touches and what I’d have to say is one of the best venue bars and seating spots to take in a match. The AIHL is certainly worth checking out at some point to see how they engage fans on game days.

Field Of Women + Melbourne Demons AFL Game Day Experience, MCG, Melbourne, 14/8/18

On Sunday afternoon in Melbourne I headed out to the MCG on a gorgeous sunny day to attend Breast Cancer Network Australia’s Field Of Women event.  The event sees thousands of people stand together in the shape of ‘Veronica’ the Pink Lady ahead of the Melbourne Football Club AFL match to highlight breast cancer awareness and the many women, men and children who are affected by this health issue.

This year, 18,235 Aussies will hear the words,‘You have breast cancer’. #FieldOfWomen brings these stats to life as women, men and children stand together on the @MCG in the shape of the @bcnapinklady. The event on Sunday was a fantastic initiative that had lots of family fun on here.

It was a very emotional experience with people smiling, crying and laughing on the field in what is a unique and special visual way to bring the community and those affected by breast cancer together.

Preceding this was a superb family festival which featured some quality fan engagement ideas for kids and families that included:

– Animal farm
– Bun decorating 
– Footy club badge making
– Trading card swap meet (oh to be 10 again!)
– Mini Field Of Women
– Coffee lounge 
– Photo booths
– Face painting
– Breast cancer screening bus (what a clever idea)
– Google Home Mini Pie Shop (will do a seperate post on this one)
– Skills drills
– Make your own trading card station
– Autograph area
– Jumping castle
– Mechanical footy

An absolutely outstanding effort from everyone involved with this fantastic community initiative. Well done Carmen Mullenger and team. 

Collingwood Magpies AFL Game Day Experience, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 11/8/18

I checked out AFL Collingwood Football Club’s match day experience at Etihad Stadium last night. 

Impressed by a few things here:  

– Great to see a kids combo deal which is a winner for kids (trading cards as a bonus) and parents (cost $9)
– There’s free hot chocolate for kids on offer here for all AFL games in August which young fans were getting into on a chilly night. 
– Collingwood blacked out the stadium and had the club logo projected onto the roof. 
– Plenty of new well presented and gourmet looking food truck offerings outside the venue
– New addition of the Garden Gate bar was pumping outside the stadium with the ability to buy ‘beer towers’ pre-game. 
– Checked out the Medallion Club. Some really plush and comfy seating experiences there which you could probably fall asleep in (Brisbane didn’t play that bad!) 

All in all some top notch little additions to both the venue and Collingwood fan experience for 2018 so well done.

Hawthorn Hawks AFL Game Day Experience, MCG, Melbourne, 4/8/18

I took in the Hawthorn Football Club game day today at the MCG on a typically freezing Melbourne winter’s day down here. 

Outside the ‘G’ there was a GIF booth, a power tool company entertaining kids allowing them to use leaf blowers to direct mini footies into an AFL style goal wall which was actually quite a clever and creative way to use the actual product while the big screen fan engagement included the rollercoaster cam and tee test where fans had to put on as many jerseys as they could in a minute. Surprisingly hard to get many on these on in 60 seconds.

The ‘Google Home Mini Pie Shop’ was a mysterious presence outside the ground where fans could get a special packaged box after entering the ‘pie shop’ and asking a question to a google home mini whereby a box would then come off the pie chute for them with a surprise gift inside of a free hot pie or a Google Home Mini.

I’ve been lucky enough to sample a wide variety of sponsor activations on my global venue visits and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of fan engagement but I must say the ‘Google Home Mini Pie Shop’ that was open down at the MCG on AFL match days was right up there with the best I’ve seen. 

From the colourful site presentation, fast moving line and knowledgeable staffers to the fun process fans actually go through in order to either win a free hot pie or a GHM, this was a really effective sponsor activation. 

Equal parts fun and experiential but overall just an authentic and cohesive way to introduce the product and how it works to punters with a bit of that random surprise and delight at the end in a well presented gift box. 

It was also good to see that they were still giving pies even to those fans who won the GHM’s. Some fans were even keeping the gift box such was the quality presentation of it.

Overall an exciting day down at the MCG to take in the Hawks set up however the stand out today was the action on the field with a backwards and forwards game highlighting especially for my mate who was over visiting the MCG for his first ever AFL game that the action on the field is the most important part of the fan experience. 

Real Madrid World Of Football, Melbourne, Victoria 18/07/2018

In mid July I went and had a good look around the Real Madrid C.F. World Of Football experience thats currently touring Melbourne. As soon as you enter the space it feels as close as it can get to walking into The Bernabéu on a match day due to the immersive environment of the lighting, visuals and sounds. Fans are able to feel the culture, passion and go behind the scenes here with some of the digital and physical interactive elements on show including:

– FIFA 18 Gaming stations
– Selfie photo moments
– Touch screens with the stand out being the interactive history wall of Real Madrid players that lets fans search through every player’s stats and information from the start of the club.
– ‘Guess The Goal’ video touch screens.
– 360° Cinematic Match Day Experience Zone with a mega video wall cinema showing RM games and history.
– Trophy displays.
– Memorabilia.
– Social media area showcasing player and fan posts.
– Playable tech space where you can test your skills against a RM player.
– Signed jersey area.
– Giant Fuzbol table.

I highly recommend checking out the RMWOF experience and the tech behind some of it but also for how they’ve integrated the immersive features of sound and lighting into this space. There were certainly a heap of interesting ideas for teams and venues here to help enhance match days or even team headquarters to show off a clubs history and draw fans into the HQ. 


St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Fan Experience, Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, NSW 15/7/18

On a chilly Sunday morning I venture out from Sydney’s Central station to Carlton with a train load of St-George Illawarra fans for the Dragons rugby league game at Jubilee Oval. I made my way out of the station and down the street to the stadium passing through the Dragons fan pubs with fans clutching copies of Big League and both Dragons and Steelers flags.

This is a classic old school ground and you can feel the special vibe and atmosphere that the hill provides these Dragons fans with on game days as its pumping with flags, banners, streamers and St George and Illawarra jerseys from the moment the gates open to the final siren. Outside there’s some footy passing challenges for kids, face painting and giveaways from sponsors such as TRY banners while walking into this classic ground there’s a player cut out for kids to get their photos with however space is limited in the venue due to its smaller size and tight concourse with long lines seen throughout the day both at F&B stands and when leaving the ground so this made it difficult for fans to participate with this particular activity.

The Dragons held a mascot race at half time which was a hilarious event that had fans young and old laughing at the scene before their eyes. A clever little bit of fun for some half time entertainment which made me think back to the Grand Finals or World 7’s competitions where this was a feature. It should certainly make a comeback for the big NRL events like the Grand Final.

It was also good to see kids having fun rolling down the hills on the other side of the fan hill without being told to stop by security. It’s funny how we can have all the latest and best tech for fan engagement but at the end of the day nothing makes a kid smile more than just rolling down a hill. Keeps mums and dads happy too and its safe. Bring back the hill as a fun social seating space in new stadiums perhaps?
A trip out here to see the Dragons at Jubilee Oval is a must visit to remember the glory days of rugby league. 



GWS GIANTS AFL Game Day Experience, Spotless Stadium, Sydney, 15/7/18

After exiting ANZ Stadium after the Bulldogs match I took a short walk over to Spotless Stadium to take in the Greater Western Sydney GIANTS AFL match.

First impressions are so vital but GWS do not disappoint with their orange team branding popping out well as fans made their way into the venue. The venue has an orange GWS priority line for members while one outstanding feature I noticed outside the ground was the ‘Neverbeens’ booth which was a stand devoted to fans attending their first ever GIANTS match. Here they were able to receive a lanyard, match day program, pocket info guide but also be guided to their seat by a GWS staffer. Talk about a fantastic initiative to increase loyalty and way to make a fan feel valued. 

The concourses of Spotless Stadium including their impressive fan zone were pumping with sponsor activations and team activities all of which have a family friendly and focus on young fans. Some of these included:

– SKINS sprint test which saw kids race against the speed sensors
– Spin the wheel to win prizes like player bobbleheads
– Giveaways and competitions, 
– The GIANTS Recruits Kids Program is worth checking out
– Height charts for kids to compare themselves against the mascots and players
– Member’s appreciation features 
– GWS even held a free movie screening on the field for fans and provided popcorn to any fan who wanted some before the game. 

The GIANTS have gone above and beyond with their match day to provide an impressive display of family oriented fan engagement activities. 

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs NRL Game Day Experience, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW 14/7/18

By 1pm it’s on to game three of five for the weekend as I make my way from North Sydney Oval to ANZ Stadium via a one hour train journey across town. 

Today the Bulldogs offered a brilliant ticketing initiative for families which saw two adults and two children be able to get into the game on a special family ticket membership for only $5 which is one of the best NRL ticketing bargains I’ve seen this year. 

The Bulldogs Family Fan Zone which is located at the back of ANZ Stadium was a spectacular affair of kids activities like jumping castles and skills drills as well as digital and tech focused sponsor activations.  Member’s benefits include access to the special blue carpeted fan entry point while once inside bland concrete walls have been decorated with large Bulldogs banners featuring the club emblem and 2018 team photo which added something colourful to the event presentation in the concourses. It’s interesting in my travels to see the effectiveness of these inside venues, especially those with multiple hirers as it provides fans with a feeling that this is their fortress but more than anything these street art to colourful displays just look good and provide photo and social posting opportunities too. Further fan entertainment includes face painting for kids, cheerleader dances, t-shirt gun, the KIA virtual reality experience. rides and giveaways.

Bulldogs fans are part of the pre-game show with fans encouraged to present the match ball and at every game one member is presented with the 18th jersey. A major incentive in 2018 from ANZ Stadium in 2018 has seen fan first pricing come into effect with fans able to get cheap food and beverages on NRL game days.

The Bulldogs in my experience travelling around the NRL grounds have traditionally always been very strong on the match day fan experience front by going the extra lengths for kids and families. 

North Sydney Bears Game Day Experience, North Sydney Oval, Sydney, NSW 14/7/18

Sydney’s weather was turning it on with blue skies and teen temperatures as I got up early for a 6am train ride from Newcastle into Sydney Central station for three games around town today.

Even by my standards trekking across a city to see three matches in one day is an effort and is up there with some of my previous quick visits to the USA for PD learning. It’s the right combination of multiple sporting codes being played on the same day, in the same city and games being played in the same area such as the case with Sydney’s Olympic Park. It’s certainly fun to run around venues learning from the various fan zones and talking to club staff, venue reps and fans but a good pair of shoes is vital!

Heading out from Central to North Sydney, the first game on the agenda today was that of the 110th anniversary game of the North Sydney Bears who were playing Newtown Jets in the Intrust Super Premiership at North Sydney Oval. I always like to do an outside venue walk around before heading through the gates and this venue is one that offers plenty in terms of history and design for fans. From the sights of the famous ground’s stands and the Moreton Bay fig trees that surround the venue to the old turnstiles and signs out the front, this is a classic old school retro footy ground that is on many sports fans must visit list. 

Norths and Newtown are both clubs that punch above their weight in terms of looking after both their fans and their community. Without the support of their volunteers and club staff these game days would not be as special as what they are. They make you feel like what rugby league was back in the day. There’s something very pure about this type of match day that pulls a bit at the heart strings of rugby league fans who remember the glory days of the game with many fans I spoke to here saying that they prefer these game days to NRL ones due to the relaxed and local community nature of these outings. There’s no doubt that this charm is as a result of a few things such as the family friendly hills, the canteen with genuine 1994 prices and footy standards like pies, sausage sizzles and iconic lolly bags, the free match day program on entry and the fact that you can sit in these historic stands on wooden seats and hear the crunching tackles.

We go on and on in the sports business about making the match day experience the most technologically advanced fun day out but I believe that we need to always remember to think of the fans, perhaps the traditional ones as much as the younger ones to bring it back a little and think of what and why some fans want some of the elements as listed above. Always lots to learn so well done to Norths and Newtown.


Newcastle Knights NRL Game Day Experience, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, 13/7/18

Having visited Newcastle a couple of months prior for an A-League Jets game but been struck down by a virus brought on by nasty mosquitos that kept me away from the Knights round 3 game the night after, it was great to finally be back here on a chilly Friday night to take in the NRL Newcastle Knights match day experience at McDonald Jones Stadium. 

While the Knights ended up with the win on the field defeating the Parramatta Eels 30-24, the fans were also winning off it with a plethora of fun fan engagement activities both inside and outside the stadium before and during the match. 

Arriving at the stadium a couple of hours before kick off after experiencing some chats with Knights fans and a footy mixed roast meal at Wests League Club in Lambton I made my way around the venue noticing what was a very impressive fan friendly environment.

With a selection of inflatable rides to keep the kids and families entertained, sponsor booths featuring some tech enabled activities from local companies, priority entry lines for members and Knights staff on hand to help fans with queries it was a good first impression walking around the venue.

Walking around the venue before kick off there was an abundance of activities for kids with more inflatable fun like a Knights castle at one end of the stadium as well as some fun for older fans with the Knights sponsors nib’s ‘Fortress’ social seating space that offered fans an elevated view of the game from a catered and unique seating location. 

Thanks to the Knights staff I was able to join a pre-game inner sanctum walk around and onto the ground with Newcastle fans which was a delight for young fans and their families to see their favourite players up so close. 

The venue affords a host of quality amenities with the hills at either end a highlight for families to lay out a rug and kids to enjoy rolling down, a craft beer bar, vegetarian options as well as the fan favourite ‘Chiko Roll Bar’ (FYI for international readers- a Chicko Roll is an Australian retro snack bar food staple). 

With such a huge car park up so close to the stadium I’m surprised that it’s not used more often for a tailgating type food and fan experience, however I’m sure there’d be reasons why this can’t happen possibly around licensing and OWHS. I’m grateful that my second visit to Newcastle went better than my first but also very much impressed with the Knights overall fan experience. Lots of happy fans young and old as well as families here.

San Francisco Giants MLB Game Day Experience, AT&T PARK, San Francisco, USA 24/6/18

I ticked off San Francisco’s AT&T Park for a San Francisco Giants game at the end of June and had a good chat with the Giants VP of ticket services and guest relations Russ Stanley about the exceptional things that the Giants do for their fans here.

After 60+ US venue visits across a host of different sports in the past couple of years, this is now in my top five global sporting fan experiences with some of the points below highlighting why.

Sustainability: From recycling, solar power, bike parking station, waste management and a sustainable concession stand, the focus on green initiatives is to be applauded here. ‘The (edible) Garden’ mini-farm provides a platform for community engagement, education, 50+ kinds of fresh produce used in a game day snack bar and hosts field trips for kids. An edible garden at a stadium? Crazy huh!

• F&B: Endless variety of gourmet and local selections to vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options meaning its very inclusive. Widest selection of local, special release and independent craft beer I’ve seen at any US venue as well. 

• Kids Fan Engagement:  ‘The Guzzler’ slide, batting cages and a fan zone that features a replica AT&T Park designed for young children that includes skills drills, fish tank and a mini video-board. Their ‘Rounding Third Bases’

• Seating: Unique and diverse social seating spaces including the flight deck, JD barrel house, Levis Landing as well as the free viewing holes….or you can try your luck in a kayak on the water too.

• Digital/Social: The ‘@Cafe’ serves as a gathering spot for fans during the game who want to follow all things related to the team and features the ‘Hall of Bobbleheads’ and a video wall showing team/fan content.

It is well worth looking into the Giants fan experience to see the things they do to make a day at the ballpark a memorable experience for guests. 


Seattle Mariners MLB Game Day Experience, Safeco Field, Seattle, USA, 16/6/18

While recently in Seattle I took in the Seattle Mariners MLB fan experience at Safeco Field. This was another quality day out at the baseball that yielded a few good discussions with staff here and a look at what they do to enhance the day out for kids and families, drive community initiatives and provide unique seating experiences for fans. 

As always on my venue visits there was plenty of creative ideas, inspiration and lessons to take home but some of the highlights included:

– Venue artworks scattered throughout concourse spaces
– Hall of fame with interactive features and a Mariners history walk
– HopBox craft beer shipping container pop up bar
– Urban Garden focus on recycling and composting venue waste
– Food Roster pocket guide detailing dietary options (vegan/gluten free etc) and all the various food available over the course of the season
– Happy and helpful staff with big smiles, positivity and knowledge on arrival and in answering questions throughout the day
– Smorgasbord of local, healthy and tasty F&B options including grasshoppers!
– Gender neutral toilets
– Used merch section for fans to buy game and player used merchandise
– Fan Brick Locator for fans to search for their plaques
– Kids Playground with endless kids only activities including the exciting play area that lets kids dangle over the stadium
– First game certificate stations (thanks for the honeymoon one guys!)
– Warm up standing area for fans to take in players practicing during the game

If visiting it is worthwhile to take in the Pyramid Brewery pre-game festivities adjacent to the stadium while a short walk away is the fascinating old time baseball shop, Ebbets Field Flannels which is well worth a look.

Add a Mariners game to your venue visit list if you come through here sometime.

Geelong Cats AFL Fan Experience, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong, 26/5/18

On a cool winter’s night I ventured out on a 150km round road trip to the famous Australian port city of Geelong to take in the AFL Geelong Cats fan experience at GMHBA Stadium. 

The Catters and sponsor GMHBA have one of the best immersive and memorable inner sanctum type experiences I’ve ever been able to participate in on my travels around venues with their unique ‘Fan Portal’. The secretive Fan Portal sees selected lucky members rewarded for their loyalty by being able to access this special fan experience. Upon entry and behind the first doors, fans are given a bag of goodies with a pair of special GMHBA branded grip socks which they are told to change in to and leave their shoes behind. 

Fans then step into a dark room with a covered glass floor before past players and an MC lead the crowd in trivia, classic stories and a rev up before the match with both former players and even the coach saying a few words via the TV screens to get the fans well and truly pumped. However it’s what comes next that is on another level of fan engagement as the floor blinds retract to reveal the players warming up underneath us while the sound of the warm up is piped into the room and all while fans stand on this transparent glass platform. Seeing a young fan of 5 years old take this in for their first ever sports game was surreal. How privileged are we as fans these days with these opportunities to get closer to the team. The Fan Portal is truly an exceptionally creative idea that allows fans and members to get that little bit closer to the team albeit from one of the coolest vantage points I’ve come across inside a stadium . 

An abundance of Geelong Cats fan engagement options are prevalent throughout both the inside and outside stadium concourses such as photo ops where a fan can sit in the middle of the team photo and a ‘size me up’ wall where fans can see how they compare to the players. It was also good to see an effective use of space with lots of wall decals detailing past player and match highlights, a history walk detailing famed players, local music artists performing and the ‘rate your experience’ buzzers for fans to touch upon exit. 

It’s well worth making the road trip from Melbourne out to Geelong at some point to see what the Cats crew are doing here for fans at GMHBA Stadium. 


Melbourne Storm NRL Game Day Experience, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 19/5/18

Mid way through May I went down to Melbourne’s AAMI Park to both take in my first Melbourne Storm game for the 2018 season and to check out their fan engagement set up and was once again impressed by what they’re doing for fans here on game nights. 

The new event presentation inflatable mascots (kudos for having a female one too!), selfie wall and past player pillar wraps were a good addition to the game day entrance while the fan engagement was pumping with VR activations, games and football passing skills drills outside the ground with purple lights and colours permeating through every facet of the venue’s architecture. 

Before the match I headed into the cafe under the stadium to sample some local beers from the team’s new craft beer partnership with Melbourne’s Brick Lane Brewing Co which has become the latest in the trend of ‘official craft beers of the team’ partnerships between Aussie sporting teams and craft breweries. A quality addition to the fan experience to be able to drink local brews with your fellow fans on game day as well as a crafty way to acquire new fans and support the local community. Be sure to sample a drop of this on game day here. 

The Storm are one of the leading Aussie teams when it comes to the quality and quantity of their screen content. There’s always something new here and it’s great to see that they get the freedom to innovate and experiment for their fans enjoyment. From the roving ‘Storm Cam’ which sees a Storm Man filter light up the screen as it lands on fans around the venue to the Oblivious Cam, Storm TV content and the drone vision of the ground its clear that fans come first here with the Storm keeping the crowd engaged throughout the match.

Collingwood Magpies Super Netball Game Day Experience, Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 20/5/18

On a wet and windy Sunday arvo I attended my first ever Super Netball game day by taking in the Collingwood Magpies match and their fan experience at Margaret Court Arena. 

I was absolutely blown away by the impressive and overwhelming fan engagement on offer here for young fans with highlights including:

• GIF booth with netball themed props for fans
• Hair braiding, face painting as well as both temporary tattoos and nail stations where young fans, boys inclusive, could get game day ready.
• Skills drills with netball shooting activations
• Plush on court seating with incredible close up views of the team as well as goodie bags containing Magpies merch like tee’s, flags, posters and bam bams.
• Kids on court for player autographs post match
• Useful giveaways such as posters with player autograph sections
• A make your own trading card stand where fans can get creative.
• A merch stand with a rack of sizes to try on gear before fans buy items to ensure it fits.
• Parachute prize drops from the roof where gifts would rain down on fans towards the end of the match.
• Quality screen content like the ‘Floss Cam’ and ‘Clapper Cam’ along with interval
sponsor activations such as the ‘Super Sprint’ across the court and memory games, the latter of which they roped me in to perform and for which I was terrible at! 
• On court post match autograph session for kids 

Sandra Spring, Erin Dooley and the Magpies staff deserve a big pat on the back here as they have really gone above and beyond to ensure families get a seamless, action packed, value for money experience.

You can have all the fancy and fun fan engagement stuff you like but when I hear a comment from a young girl to her mum behind me in the stands saying ‘Thank you for taking us today mum, this was amazing, I got Ash’s (Player Ash Brazill) autograph’ then you know that you’re doing things right. 10/10- Well done! I highly recommend getting along to a Super Netball match to see how they cater for young fans.

Western Bulldogs AFL Game Day Experience, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 12/5/18

On another wet and chilly night in central Melbourne I went down to Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium to take in the AFL Western Bulldogs fan experience and their game against the Brisbane Lions. 

The AFL Playground was in full swing an hour before the first bounce with Western Bulldogs fan zone activations like skills drills all entertaining families and fans amidst the wet weather. 

The new Garden Gate bar was pumping and maybe that has something to do with it being a cool addition to the pre-game experience and the fact that you can order beer? there. 

While Etihad Stadium introduced free fruit for kids at matches in April it was good to see that during May they were giving away free milk to young fans on game days. Buying a pie for dinner I noticed that the free condiments also included shakers of different types of salts for chips such as ‘secret stadium’ salt, lemon, garlic and oregano salt and chilli salt all of which represent a clever little touch to the F&B condiments.

The venue has also recently introduced a new kids zone called the UCube which features kids activities, slides and a ball pit where kids can hang out before the match. 

The Bulldogs fan activations continued inside the ground with one cool feature being their player locker mock up where fans can have their pics taken as a keepsake. 

There’s also plenty of entertaining screen content on offer from the Bulldogs with their mascots dance cam being a highlight for junior fans.


Brisbane Broncos NRL Game Day Experience, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 4/5/18

It was great to be back in my home town of Brisbane in early May to take in the NRL Brisbane Broncos game day fan experience and Thursday night footy match against the Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium. 

It was very good to see some big improvements here since my last visit in 2016 from both the venue and the Broncos, some of which included: 

– The Broncos ‘Paddock Bar’ fan zone with bars, local food trucks, live local music and entertainment.
– The XXXX sponsor ‘Take in the Gold’ social space bar which I had the opportunity to check out.
– Quality fan engagement activations on at both ends including skills drills, giveaways and competitions.
– New inflatable team branded entrance points for fans to come in through welcoming them to the game day experience.
– HT activation was clever involving a blindfolded fan having to push a giant football to either the crowd screams or YES (go left) and NO (go right) 
– Carvery section inside Suncorp Stadium with roast pork slaw burgers.
– Quality vegan options and cheapest option when normally ‘Vegan’ gets the Vegan tax! May venues across Australia now taking into account the booming vegan movement. 
– The Alfie Statue mascot. Possibly the most random mascot I’ve ever witnessed roving around the venue asking people to sign the petition.

Really outstanding entertainment, production and event presentation here with lots of wow factor as fans enter the stadium precinct. 

2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Fan Site and Rugby 7’s at Robina Stadium in Gold Coast, Queensland 14/04/2018

A quick trip back up to the Goldie was on the cards in mid April as I headed to the Surfers Paradise beach side fan zone and Robina Rugby 7’s program of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Starting the fan journey from Yeronga station in Brisbane we took a clean, fast (50 minute express) and hassle free train directly to Robina station on the Gold Coast before hopping on a quick and clean light rail train that took us directly into the heart of the main tourist part of the Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise and the fan zone there. Transport and Comm Games staffers were friendly, helpful and ‘on it’ when it came to answering fans questions regarding way-finding questions. The journey from door to door took under 90 minutes and was one of the most seamless and well executed fan transport journey’s in which I have done for a major event. Positive staffing, way-finding signs, ample and fast transport all helped make this a smooth process.

First up to check out was the Surfers Paradise fan zone which featured an interactive ‘Giant Sing Along’ activity which saw heaps of kid and fans singing iconic songs on the beach into microphones. A yoga fitness class on the beach was a stand out under the shade of this huge beach stage that was pumping out tunes from multicultural bands. The art installations scattered around the fan area were creative as were the roving street performers entertaining the crowds.

Making my way to Robina Stadium for the Rugby 7’s tournament was again a seamless experience as the air conditioned buses went straight from the centre of the fan zone to the tournament. Security was tight with extensive searches but once inside it was good to see the free sunscreen on offer at the stadium while the screen content and ‘cams’ especially ‘Titanic Cam’ all got a good laugh from fans. The Borobi mascot hands for volunteers, directional signs and fan booths all ensured fans were communicated to effectively at the venue with many staff on hand to seek help from. The colourful sleeves for bollards was also a creative idea to make the area not have as much of a ‘security theatre’ presence as other major events often have. 

Upon leaving it was great to see so many fans high 5’ing police and volunteers along with collecting free bottles of water. A novel way to ensure the exit is positive and fans are looked  after. An impressive and superbly well run major event from the moment we left home to  when the key went in again at night.

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