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. 

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