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FAN ENGAGEMENT FRIDAY: NEWS FROM AROUND THE GROUNDS 24/06/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology, customer service plus much more. Enjoy.

How the St. Louis Blues are turning to startups to bring new technologies to fans

FIFA Announces 16 Host Cities for 2026 World Cup

MLB News: Rob Manfred Wants Fans to Be Able to Watch More Games

What fans want to see from MLS’ new partnership with Apple

Product spotlight: Sports, venue and entertainment security

Customer service seems to belong to a bygone age

NHL Launches AR Replica of Stanley Cup Trophy for Fans to Experience

Sports fans beware: Counterfeit NHL merchandise on the rise during 2022 Stanley Cup Final

Why Avalanche fans sing Blink-182’s ‘All the Small Things’ during every home game at Ball Arena

DOES MARVEL STADIUM PROVIDE A BETTER FAN EXPERIENCE THAN THE MCG?

PPG Paints Arena to implement analytics for smart cameras to monitor fan experience

Drive to Survive’s reach goes beyond F1 fans. Now, other sports want to copy show’s success

How New York Mets Enhanced Fan Experience at Citi Field

F1 Teams Deploy APIs for Edge on Track, in Stands

Sports Fans Twice as Likely to Buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, NFTs

The ever-evolving IPL Fan is looking for more inclusion and skin in the game

The story behind Sevilla’s technology-driven mission in Indian football

Finance expert gives first-hand account after experiencing Spurs’ premium virtual tour

Not Metal Enough – A Psychological Perspective on Gatekeeping Read More: Not Metal Enough – A Psychological Perspective on Gatekeeping

NFL aims to reduce messages to fans from over 4 billion in the past year

National Rugby League Could Introduce Ball-Tracking Technology in 2023 Following Successful Trial

“IPL will become No.1 sports league”: Lalit Modi believes investment in digital will make IPL the best sports league in the world

Reformation is bringing sustainability to the $400 million market for concert merch

Put your fans first and entertain always: Jesse and Emily Cole spent months chasing customers after buying an independent-league ball club in Savannah, Georgia. It didn’t go well until they started doing the opposite of normal

Jessie Ware champions wearable tech making live music accessible for Deaf fans following successful trial stage

Biggest stadium ever? Artist shows what a 1,000,000-seater arena would look like

NFL: Ranking every stadium from ‘Cream Of The Crop’ to ‘Bulldoze And Start Again’

Milwaukee Brewers launch new fan engagement chat experience with AI technology

Security Lessons From Protecting Live Events

From New York to Mumbai, Fanatics to Dream Sports, and NFTs to connected fitness… breaking down the sports tech investment scene

5 Ways Technology is Revolutionizing Customer Service 

3 In 4 Consumers Walk Away If Customer Service Is Poor

Football clubs slammed for taking advantage of fans after hiking season ticket prices

Fans Promised 50% Refund For Cancelled 5th T20I But People Are Pissed With ‘Shameless’ BCCI

American Express creates bespoke experiences at Wimbledon

NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins to Enhance Fan Experience with Smart Camera Applications from Azena

2022 Kantar Fan Engagement Study

Wimbledon, IBM Launch Digital Platform for Player Insights

Women’s State of Origin at Canberra Stadium is more than a game

Champions League: Disabled fans treated like animals – French Senate told

AC MILAN CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF THE ROLLING STONES WITH A SPECIAL CAPSULE COLLECTION

RANKING NFL STADIUMS BY BEST PREGAME FAN EXPERIENCE

Wimbledon hoping big data will improve fan experience

CHEQ IN: FRIENDS OUTSIDE VENUE CAN ORDER CONCESSIONS FOR FANS AT EVENTS

About half of the UAE’s sports fans prefer watching women’s sports to men’s

The growing relationship between crypto and sport

LaLiga Tech Launches Startup Competition for Fan Engagement

Opinion | Which moments matter most to a sports fan?

Women’s football fans enjoy WSL but unhappy with refereeing, survey finds

6 customer service experience trends to watch in 2022

FAN ENGAGEMENT FRIDAY: NEWS FROM AROUND THE GROUNDS 17/06/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology, customer service plus much more. Enjoy.

Cheering fans at soccer stadium herald a return to pre-pandemic era

The story of how Wales created the best fan experience in sport as pride, passion and culture shine through

‘Seeing is believing’: How Ticketmaster’s 3D Virtual Venue brings Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to life

Cricket South Africa signs Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment agency to re-engage the fans

MSG Bans Rangers Fan After ‘Abhorrent Assault’ of Lightning Fan in Video

The Savannah Bananas and the business of making baseball fun

Indiana Pacers trust data to deliver best customer experience

Premier League official announcement – Price for away fan tickets agreed until 2025

Not Even Aussie Sport is Safe From Crypto Advertising

Ipswich Town: FIRST DEMENTIA CAFÉ A SUCCESS

How To Create A Memorable Brand Moment Through Customer Service

Premier League statement: Fan behaviour

Somerset CCC: Record number of fans ejected due to behaviour

Hostile Crowds. $3,500 Tickets. Worth It to See Stephen Curry.

Netherlands Players Train in Kit Of Their First Amateur Club

Stadium Journey: You’ll Go Bananas Over This Book

Ball-tracking technology could be introduced by next season after ‘positive’ test results

Dutch clubs PSV, Feyenoord and PEC Zwolleto deploy ‘smart technology’ to fight fan racism

How Fantasy Football Became the Obsession of Millions of Sports Fans

Fanatics and Topps Strike a Deal for College Sports Cards

Navigating data challenges to ‘own the fan journey’ with Genius Sports

How an LGBTQ sports fan sees discomfort on sports showing Pride: The fear and loathing some people show sports Pride events brings fear and pain to this fan

NHL Brings Stanley Cup to Fans via AR Experience, Filters on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok

Customer Service in the Metaverse: How Retailers Can Prepare for a Whole New (Virtual) World

How to Deal With a Customer Complaint Quickly

Minnesota Vikings’ Stadium Hosts 6,950 Guests for First NFT-Ticketed Event

France Could Deploy Blockchain Ticketing for Paris 2024 Olympic Games (Report)

Dutch FA uses smart cameras and AI to tackle discrimination in venues

Green energy in sports: Biggest solar-powered football stadium in Germany is underway

Perfect Gift For ‘Die-Hard’ Fan: Cowboys Coffin A Denver-based company will deliver a custom Cowboys casket for your loved one’s funeral.

THE SHRINKING NFL STADIUM LIFESPAN

Finance guru: Arsenal have ‘exploited’ their own fans with ‘ugly’ deal

Investing in supporter experience grows loyalty & retention, study shows

How to Make Your Customer Experience Better: Be Convenient

Raiders, Wests Tigers, Sharks, Cowboys to join NRLW in 2023

The Game: A student documentary that highlights the sexist abuse that female football fans face online, in public settings and in stadiums for simply supporting a male football team.

Getting into the mindset of a racist – Kick It Out’s battle to change attitudes

Apple and Major League Soccer to present all MLS matches around the world for 10 years, beginning in 2023

Apple’s soccer deal is a huge move for sports fans

After years of snubbing LGBTQ+ fans, WNBA is sports’ most welcoming league

Why MLS expansion team St. Louis City SC is adding a local hip-hop artist to its payroll

NHL State of League address to be interpreted in American Sign Language

Mets introduce technological improvements and plans for Citi field

FAN ENGAGEMENT FRIDAY: NEWS FROM AROUND THE GROUNDS 10/06/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology, customer service plus much more. Enjoy

Champions League final chaos: warning for mega event organisers

Quidich Innovation Labs Powers AR for Indian Premier League Cricket Fans

As the dust settles on chaotic A-Leagues seasons, what needs to be addressed ahead of 2022/23?

Hungary kids boo England players taking a knee before Nations League match

France’s twisted attitude to fans led to Champions League chaos

Topgolf has arrived at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium. Here’s a look and what to know

As Golden State seeks another title, the Warriors push revenue higher with an ever-evolving business strategy

Why Experience-First Entrepreneurs Win Consumers

Father, daughter end 17-year MLB stadium journey at Nats Park

Big-market Cubs and small-market Cardinals treat their fans differently. Guess which team keeps winning?

Driving Consumer Engagement Through Sports Sponsorship Activation

Augmented Reality Eagle Takes The IPL 2022 Final To A New High

Fanatics Is Coming To Play, But When, Where, And How?

Liverpool offer support to fans over Champions League final trouble

WATCH: Fan makes wild one-handed catch on home run ball while holding baby during Mets game

We knew things at the Coliseum were bad, but the A’s say they’re worse

KC esports team collaborates with Populous to produce NFT fan experience

Flowers to be planted under latest Munich 2022 fan-engagement project

Indian Tech Companies Revamping International Sports Viewing And Fan Engagement

LaLiga Tech Launches Startup Competition for Fan Engagement

YES Network Looks To Deepen Fan Engagement With ‘Pick-N-Play Live’ Single-Screen Watch-and-Play Experience

How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Provide Exceptional Customer Service

A Graphic Designer (and Mets Fan) Is Keeping Shea Stadium’s Neon Alive

Sports tops leaderboard for livestreamed video content

ESPN Celebrating NBA Finals from Airwaves to Locker Room

Why has there been a downturn in AFL crowds this season? It’s not just Covid to blame

Chicago Cubs dive into the metaverse with Web3 marketing platform Valence

Red Sox First MLB Team With In-Market Streaming Service

Even sponsors are riled by Uefa’s Champions League final fiasco

Uefa, the police, French ministers… all peddled gross lies. Only fans prevented disaster

Tech Mahindra to provide digital fans platform for chess Olympiad

Burglars break into Plymouth’s stadium and plough through pitch on tractor

Growth of women’s soccer reaching new levels

How F1 teams went from £1 rejects to billion-dollar forecasts

Charlotte FC Ramps Up Fan Experience With Mixed-Reality Graphics for Local Broadcast, Videoboard Show

ABBA’s temporary, transportable arena hosts the iconic band’s virtual reunion tour

How to Elevate Customer Service by Design

What Can Be Done About the Decline of Customer Service?

Three Steps To Turn Digital Experiences Into Superior Customer Service

3 Customer Experience Breakdowns That Buyers Hate

The A0K1VERSE, NFTs, and the Future of Fan Engagement 

How sports clubs achieve a slam dunk in loyalty with data

To get closer to their idols, music fans are ready to fork out

San Antonio’s ‘Spurs Lady’ a true fan of the Silver and Black NBA team through all seasons

What Can Be Done About the Decline of Customer Service?

4 Ways To Getting More Creative With Your Customer Service

How To Be A Customer-Obsessed Company

Mark Davis blames high no-show rate in 2021 on vaccination requirement

Stadiums of tomorrow: Franchises across leagues look to build new homes

Customer Experience Is Getting Worse

Chelsea Pushing Ahead With Plan to Charge More for Top Seats

The Female College Sports Fan: Who is She?

The Clippers’ ‘halo’ scoreboard inside their new arena looks like every sports fan’s dream

Too expensive? Just a fad? Fans don’t care? Debunking myths in sports sustainability

This AI-powered Jack Nicklaus ‘twin’ will allow fans to interact with the golf legend

Aussies keep it cool in Qatar for play-off – News on the FIFA World Cup air-conditioning set up in Qatar stadiums

Air-conditioned Qatar stadiums ‘set perfect temperature for football!’ – Duke

WITHOUT FANS, FOOTBALL IS NOTHING – LET’S GET THIS GAME RIGHT

First event set for new Sydney Football Stadium

SL Benfica becomes first Portuguese club to launch Socios fan tokens

Dutch clubs to deploy ‘smart technology’ to fight fan racism

Sydney L!VE – Behind the Australian Open’s NFT and metaverse success

NFL to Host First Official Developmental Camp and Fan Event in Africa

How Cricket Australia plans to use NFTs to deepen engagement

4BC Brisbane Radio Interview on Fan Behaviour

A friendly chat with Spencer Howson on Brisbane’s 4BC Radio detailing an idea I had overnight to recreate some posters from my time at QPRFC in London to possibly help combat ASB in Australian venues.


Main points:


– Stadium management/ushers/security do a very good job under pressure. These incidents happen so fast and it takes time to manage and resolve.
– Our game days are very safe. One fan ruins it for the rest of us. I’ve travelled across the country and overseas for game days and our venues and game days are incredibly safe spaces.
– ASB is everywhere not just in stadiums ie shopping malls and public places. Venues do a very good job for fans.


The idea came to me during my time working at QPR in 2013 when there was this clever campaign around pyro http://ncefl.org.uk/news/league/2017/4447campaignwarnsagainstuseofpyrotechnics/


This was all just a quick idea that I knocked up on Canva in the space of an hour on Saturday afternoon. I used classic and iconic sports idioms to highlight how acting poorly might see a fan in trouble for making poor decisions and to be respectful and to think twice about actions on game days.

AUDIO: https://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/8095616/embed/v4

Full show: https://www.4bc.com.au/podcast/full-show-sunday-5th-june-2022/

FAN ENGAGEMENT FRIDAY: NEWS FROM AROUND THE GROUNDS 03/06/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology and customer service plus much more. Enjoy

10 sports marketing trends modern marketers need to watch

MLS and adidas unveil 2022 Primeblue kits to inspire action against plastic waste

Forced fan engagement at the footy falls flat

Women at the Track: A team of women who help make Indy 500 race day happen

US$16 can of Stella Artois at MLS stadium sparks outrage

How Supply Chain Issues Are Impacting the Sports Industry

Northern Territory AFL taskforce unveils $300 million Darwin CBD stadium as expansion centrepiece

How deepening the connection with sports fans helps sports-brands

Poor customer service is strangling business growth

SAP partners with New Zealand Rugby for digital transformation

Date with destiny: The wild ride from Project Apollo lift-off to now

Crypto and sports bet on winning combination to woo fans

Meta Partners with NBA for Virtual Reality Fan Engagement Games, Activities

Meet the TT fan who has travelled from Germany to the Isle of Man for every race since 1981

8 new food options at the Mariners’ T-Mobile Park, including a $3 hot dog (!?) — plus which to avoid

“The role of each brand is really important”: Inside PepsiCo’s Champions League sponsorship

AC Milan ‘moves closer to fanbase’ with Betsson partnership

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland FAs agree M&S Food deal

Warriors Up for Multiple Fan Favorite Honors

WATCH: Liverpool fans travel to France by dinghy after flights cancelled

Football fans allowed for China’s Covid-delayed kick-off

IPL 2022 Final: World’s Largest Jersey Unveiled Ahead Of GT vs RR High-Voltage Clash In Ahmedabad – WATCH

Rise of the global fan: Just ONE PER CENT of Manchester City’s supporters actually live in the UK as the biggest Premier League clubs use social media, content in 14 languages and even the metaverse to reach out to fans around the world

Athletic director, social media weigh in on public alcohol sales at Georgia football home games

‘Fans’ explores how cheering for sports impacts people’s psyche, behavior and attitude

Cost of Hobart stadium likely to be higher than $750m, documents show

Astor Park murals tie together Crew Stadium and commercial development

Can I talk to a human? Spain presents customer service bill

Spanish government proposes law banning automated customer service

Introducing UEFA Play: All you need to know about UEFA’s new music and audio content hub

‘We want to be penetrating popular culture’: How McLaren Racing are engaging the next generation of motorsport fans

ABBA Arena raises the bar for temporary architecture

The Fan Connection: The Impact Connectivity Has on the Fan Experience

Data drives fan experience at D.C. United

Super League Triathlon offering fans franchise control via LiveLike platform

The law catches up with viagogo – event promoters and music fans are the winners

Real Betis launch jersey NFTs in Fancurve’s first soccer club partnership

Lakers Logo Earns Top Marks Across the Board in Recent Fan Survey

Infosys and Roland-Garros Launch Digital Innovations to Bring Alive the Tournament’s Legacy, While Equipping Future Generations Through a New STEM Initiative

The Sports Fans Who Root for…the Referees

Crypto and NFTs: Virtually there? Just a start so far A third of fans embrace crypto and NFTs, but the rest have concerns about regulation and real value

EFL CEO Trevor Birch writes open letter on crowd behaviour

What Makes Good Customer Service?

Brands Are Getting More Personal, but How Are Customers Responding?

Why Consistency Is Vital to Your Branding Efforts

Matchday experience for disabled fans ‘unfit for purpose’

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs NRL Fan Experience at Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney, Australia 29/05/2022

Today was a game day fan experience that I’ve been wanting to do since the mid 90’s when I watched the Canterbury Bulldogs defeat Manly in the 1995 ARL Grand Final. 


I started the fan journey with a 25-minute train ride from Central Station to Belmore station before walking around the local streets to soak up the suburb and the game-day vibe. Blue and white streamers, balloons, and posters lined the shopfronts and it was evident that the locals really get behind the Bulldogs and game days here. 


The trip out to Belmore Sports Ground was enjoyable as I talked to a few Bulldogs fans on the train about Terry Lamb and the Dogs on what was a glorious Sunday afternoon in Sydney for my third and final game day this weekend in town. 


Hopping off the train at Belmore it was a quick walk following the Bulldogs fans the short distance to the Belmore ground entrance and through Terry Lamb reserve park. The Bulldog’s street art livened up the concrete facades while gate staff were pleasant, smiling, and wished us a good day at the match. 

I had wanted to check out some of the plaques, murals, memorbillia and the Canterbury Leagues Club which is adjacent to the train station however time got away from me as I wanted to get to the ground early. I’ll endeavour to check these out next time I’m out this way as I hope to be back for another game day at Belmore down the track.


It was really exciting upon entry to just soak up this gorgeous suburban footy ground from the grassy hill to the Peter Moore scoreboard and canteen. I walked around the length and breadth of the venue taking in all the angles from the Bulldog’s front entrance to the white bench seats and the main stand.

 
The food and beverage selection consisted of local food trucks and canteens selling standard footy fare like pies and chips along with kids’ favourites in cotton candy and ice cream while gourmet food items were also on offer and looked tasty from local businesses. Prices were standard from $5-15 while mid-strength cans of beer were $8 with only one beer variety available in Great Northern for obvious reasons given the one-off event here and the planning involved for catering. As for the beer tray price watch, these were free here. It’s always interesting to see the little things like the price of beer trays. Over this weekend they’ve ranged from $1.50 to 80c to free!


The fan engagement for kids and families was quality with face painting and kids jumping castle but even more, kids were just having fun rolling down the hills and passing or kicking footies with their families which looked like an enjoyable experience.


Toilets were scattered on either side and lines were only really heavy at halftime with men and women being able to get in and out fairly quickly from what I could witness. 


The hill was absolutely packed and looked incredible today with Bulldogs, Dragons, and Illawarra Steelers fans with 16,991 fans turning out to make this a huge sell-out crowd. It was a real carnival footy vibe with fans fully engaged in the community spirit of suburban footy as well as reconciliation week and the focus of the Indigenous round. 


The Indigenous focus for NRL Indigenous Round featured a respectful welcome to country, singers, and music on the land of the Dharug, Eora & Bediagal Peoples. 


The dogs tried to come back a few times but the Dragons pulled away too quickly and ran out 34-24 winners on a sunny but very windy and chilly day at Belmore. I was very glad I brought my heavy retro Bulldogs jersey to the game as it was very chilly on the hill by 4pm.


The merchandise tent and mobile store had fans lined up as items like the indigenous jersey and retro cord Bulldogs caps went flying out the door. I really liked seeing the use of the old Bulldogs logos too around the venue and on merchandise and hope other teams start to bring these back as well.

I also thought that it was clever that some fans had brought in their own milk crates to enable their kids to get a better vantage point on the hill as well.


The exit from the match was easy with the train station right at the stadium and within a 5-8 minute walk before the 20-odd minute train ride back to the Sydney CBD. 


I was so excited today to tick off another Australian sporting venue in Belmore Sports Ground and would encourage any fan to get out here the next time they bring a game day here as it is truly something special to witness at such an iconic ground.

Cronulla Sharks NRL Fan Experience at Points Bet Stadium/Shark Park, Cronulla, Sydney, 28/05/22

It was a cool night in Sydney as I made the trek from Central station down south to Woolaware station in Cronulla for the Sharks versus Roosters (Cronulla vs Easts) NRL rugby league match at Points Bet Stadium or Shark Park (or Caltex Field) for the league aficionados. 


Taking the train for about $5 one way on the Sutherland line I left the city at about 5pm to travel the hour or so to the closest train station within walking distance to the stadium.


Arriving into Woolaware station just after 6pm, I walked the 15 minutes or so south through unlit suburban Cronulla streets to the stadium with other fans who had made the same journey. 


It’s an easy walk to the venue and you can hear the music and see the lights from the distance as you get closer but it’s also very dark along the path of the back streets to the ground so careful on your feet.


The stadium is undergoing construction all around it both for the stadium and for the buildings close by however this didn’t stop the game from being a sell-out with fans flocking to the popular indigenous round game tonight. 


This is an old-school venue without the bells and whistles, without the tech, with the lines and bottlenecks but it’s also a ground with soul, community vibes and a charm that is hard to beat. The fans bring the atmosphere and combined with the energy on the hill, the match days here are electric and pumping. 


Walking into the venue through the old turnstile hut, we were greeted with a polite welcome and asked if we knew where we were going which is 10/10 for customer service and the fan journey to have someone offer to assist you in my opinion. 


Making my way inside I grabbed a beer at the first bar I found which was charging $8.50 for middies but in tinnies and 80c for a cardboard tray. The ability to get an ice-cold tin at the footy seems to be lost in some states’ venues across Australia but in Sydney, it’s great to be able to crack a coldie and take up a view from the hill. It’s relaxed and enjoyable to stand on the grassy hill, strike up a conversation with other fans and take in the action on the field. Retro sharks jerseys were abundant tonight and you could have made about 20 full teams of players in Power’s Brewers retros or Aussie Duct kits.


I walked around the venue a couple of times to soak it all up here, from the smells of hot cinnamon donuts and spicy bratwursts cooking to the sounds of laughter from families and kids rolling down the hill and kicking footies to each other. It’s all just a really positive community vibe out here at Cronulla. 


The food and beverages ranged from the standard fare of pies and hot dogs to gourmet bratwursts (standard $12 and double bangers $20!) and buttermilk chicken burgers and crisps for $15.50. There was also ice cream, souvlaki, nachos, and the ever-popular chips on a stick. Prices were standard for footy matches with the main difference being the abundance of local gourmet food truck offerings. Lines were long at times and bottlenecks formed due to the compact size of the venue and narrow concourses however like most venues you can bring in your own snacks and it’s always best to grab food before the match kicks off plus these lines got smaller as the game got underway. 


The fan engagement (kids jumping castle) and activations from sponsors (player photo ops and giveaways to fans) as well as the half time entertainment were quality with the indigenous focus for NRL Indigenous Round being a highlight to see Australian country legend Col Hardy perform ‘I am, You Are, We Are Australian’ to a rapturous sing-along and applause from the crowd. The fireworks and music also added to the atmosphere. 


A highlight before kick-off was the exceptional welcome to country by a lovely lady whose name I missed on the night. This indigenous elder spoke so beautifully about respect, inclusion and community and summed up so perfectly the basis of the round and also what we can all do to make our country a more respectful and tolerant place to live in.


The Kurranulla Sharks got flogged from the get-go by the Gadigal Roosters in this one-sided match with Easts running out 36-16 winners in a dissapointing night for local fans and a score I didn’t predict and which ruined my tips. All was not lost though as we and many others had a fantastic time at Shark Park with local fans. 


The exit home from Shark Park was a brisk 15-minute walk back to the train station at Woolaware and then a 50-minute train ride home to Central station. The only downside was that the toilets were locked at Woolaware station which frustrated some fans and even police who were annoyed that they couldn’t use them. 


Overall a quality night out at Cronulla’s home venue of Points Bet/Shark Park stadium with much to enjoy about the fan experience here on a moving indigenous round night. 

Penrith Panthers NRL Fan Experience at BlueBet Stadium/Panthers Stadium, Penrith, 27/05/22

It was a chilly but clear afternoon in Sydney when I made my way from Town Hall Station in the Sydney CBD out west to Penrith’s BlueBet Stadium for the NRL rugby league top of the table clash between reigning premiers Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys.


Arriving in Penrith after a solid one-hour train journey for the sum of around $4.50 on my public transport OPAL card, I made my way through the city centre out to the stadium in what was an easy flat 20-minute or 1.5km walk passing through the local streets with other fans, flags in hand, marching to the game.


Once I arrived outside the ground, I walked around all angles of this classic space taking in the scoreboard and the old beauty of these classic suburban rugby league grounds such as the hill, scoreboard, ticket booths, and entrances that are all timeless and part of the game day architecture here.


Entering through the turnstiles we were greeted with a lively hello from security and a happy welcome from gate staff. Passing through the entrance is the merch area along in a shed with the member’s wall plaque that details the names of members who stuck by the club in 2020’s pandemic COVID season.


Kids and fans alike were able to get free TRY banners and there was a crypto giveaway while the panther claw prints in the bars acting as 1.5m social distancing and line markers looked effective with TVs playing the games too so you didn’t miss the action when getting a drink. 


The food and beverage on offer here ranged from snack bars to drinks bars along with a multitude of local food trucks. The $5 cheese toasties are a bargain while other items along with drinks are about $1 cheaper for members which is a great incentive to see. Beers are probably (Moreton Daily Stadium slightly cheaper) the cheapest in an Australian sporting venue at $5-8 while even if not a member it’s still very affordable. The beer trays were $1.50 here tonight and made of plastic. I had what I think is the best pie at a rugby league game in the Garlo’s Pies steak variety and paired it with a Iron Jack for $10.80 which was very good value in my opinion for a major sporting event.


The fan engagement KIDZ KORNER is a fun carnival atmosphere for kids and families with rides and an ice cream truck located at the back of the ground and there is plenty of space both on the hill and back here for kids and families to kick and pass the footy.


The atmosphere from Penrith fans is right up there with their ‘Stand Up, Flags Up’ call to action before kick-off really getting fans ready to go with their fans really bringing the noise to the pre-game. 


Panthers legend Royce Simmons was congratulated for his 300km charity walk for dementia while the Indigenous welcome to country and music was respectful and inclusive and had fans listening and clapping on what was a special night for the game and players.


I walked around the ground a few times soaking up my second time here by checking out different seating angles and marveling at the gorgeous, sacred hill that had fans rugged up in picnic rugs and blankets. While some lines were long to get F&B, there is a charm about these old grounds that cannot be beaten. I didn’t have to wait long to get a beer with a friendly security guard making sure everyone was having a good time at the ‘beer only’ bar.


The Panthers were too good over the Cowboys on a chilly night in Penrith running out 22-0 winners. 


Getting away at the end was seamless and efficient with the trains lined up to full time and a relatively quick one-hour train trip back into the Sydney CBD after a brisk 15 minute walk back to the station. Local streets looked to be ok to park in as well as fans were hopping into cars close by to the ground. 


A really fun rugby league matchday experience out here in Penrith that I’d encourage other rugby league fans to get out to. 

Fan Engagement Friday: News from around the grounds 27/05/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology and customer service plus much more. Enjoy

AFL, Reddit announce world’s first sports partnership for Reddit Avatars

NHL mixed reality event

Football fans, rejoice: Stadium internet speeds are set for a significant boost

NFL Fan Rankings: Washington Worst?!

The Best Customer Service Software of 2022 Has Been Revealed by End Users

Sports Business Journal names Climate Pledge Arena sports facility of the year

Ordr Keeps Fans in the Seats, All by Making Food and Merch Only a Tap of an App Away

Fans Can Now Win the Stanley Cupple by Playing the NHL’s Version of Wordle

Football fans convicted of taking cocaine at matches could face five-year stadium bans

NTT reveals new data boost to improve IndyCar fan experience

‘The end goal is to turn fan engagement into fan monetisation’: Sportradar’s data-led approach to capitalising on the US$270bn sports betting market

Arsenal corner flag: Using data to reach club’s 750m fans

Populous Projects Win Facility of the Year, Event of the Year at 2022 Sports Business Awards

WNBA Fans Criticize Coinbase Sponsorship Amid Market Crash

FA investigating pitch invasions, condemns ‘anti-social behaviour’ from fans

Nine Techniques To Keep Customer Support Conversations Productive And Positive

Tottenham’s Todd Kline talks stadium naming rights, NFTs, and thinking like a “content creation machine”

Virtual stadium developer plays in $3.2 million to up the game of e-sports in metaverse

Sports venues create quiet refuge for fans with sensory needs

Sensory rooms becoming more commonplace in sports venues

Building Long-term Loyalty Through Incentives

NBA Top Shot Reaches $1B in Sales Amid NFT Market Downturn

The Crypto Market’s Impact on Sports Sponsorships

Adam Silver Says NBA Fan Aggression Not Caused by Sports Betting

LaLiga to build official metaverse for fans and partners with TVM

Top 5 Customer Service Skills To Encourage In Your Staff

Customer Experience Trumps Even the Best Technologies

F1 trials paddock robots to help fans in hospital meet drivers

Qatar’s ‘Dr Cool’ keeps World Cup stadiums chilly with solar-powered AC

Manchester City FC Partners with Quidd to Launch New NFT Collection

Blockchain, crypto set to take sports industry beyond NFT collectibles

Drama and atmosphere should be the only metrics in Australia’s stadium wars

Japan’s pro sports teams find use for empty stadiums

Yokohama BayStars baseball team offers home stadium’s private boxes to teleworkers

In first year with fans at Allegiant Stadium, the no-show rate was 14.3 percent

Proceeds from recycling at Mercedes-Benz Stadium builds new homes on Atlanta’s Westside through new program

Is Customer Loyalty Dead?

World Cup host, Qatar with air-conditioned stadiums to serve as a model

Dazzling But Empty Stadiums a Symbol of China’s Fading Football Dream

Prices are surging, but fans are still paying top dollar to watch live sports

Placemaking, legacy and the 2032 Games

A 2022 blueprint for customer service excellence

How to Identify the Pain Points That Make Customers Decide What They’re Going to Buy

At Your Service: How To Wow Your Customers By Creating New Revenue Streams

Case Study: Real-Time Fan Engagement Explodes With Live, Local Access to NFL Draft

USGA Announces Fan Offerings for Women’s Open

Major League soccer club Columbus Crew gains the Edge

UofL announces WiFi, gate entry upgrades to Cardinal Stadium driven by fan feedback from 2021

Manchester City on taking the ‘City DNA’ global

Eagles become 1st team to expand fan outreach efforts to Africa

‘Way cooler than standing in line’: Mariners fans get first crack at Amazon tech in new ballpark market

5G to Transform Fan Experience at Indy 500

Cavaliers on Top 25 Most Innovative Teams in Sports List

The rise of the always-on mobile user and implications for customer service and retention 

The Verdict Is In: Customer Service Isn’t Human Enough

A Golf Fan Just Got A Deal With Michelob

Deloitte 2022 Sports Industry Outlook

Avoid these common mistakes to create real customer loyalty

FC Barcelona, the world’s most innovative team according to Sports Innovation Lab

Old Trafford will have ‘fans, not corporates’ at its heart, promises architect tasked with redevelopment

Fan Engagement Friday: News from around the grounds 20/05/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology and customer service plus much more. Enjoy

Q&A: Behind the scenes of construction on Geodis Park

Take Me Into the Metaverse, Take Me Out to the Cloud: The Atlanta Braves Have Transformed Their Stadium Into a Web3 Wonderland

Real Madrid Creates Digital Replica of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for Fans

The Game-Changing Tech Trends In Sports.

Empty seats, feral cats, angry fans: Oakland A’s push for new home as crowds stay away

5 tech things: Robots and drones debut at sporting events

Aramark debuts mobile ‘smart store’ at Stanley Cup Playoffs

Here’s How To Maintain Customer Service, Even When You’re Short-Staffed

Telstra, Google and Accenture bring 5G enabled augmented reality to AFL

Just QUARTER of fans support their local football team with most basing it on family loyalty, stadium or even club KIT

FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola kicks off global journey in Dubai

Can’t attend Truist Park? Visit digitally!

WIGAN ATHLETIC AND STADIMAX WIN THE SPORT INDUSTRY AWARD FOR FAN ENGAGEMENT

How Innovation Keeps Sunday Night Football the No. 1 Show on TV 

ADIDAS AND JUVENTUS REVEAL 2022/23 HOME JERSEY, BRINGING THE MAGIC OF ALLIANZ STADIUM TO THE WORLD

HOW STADIUM TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED THE WAY FANS EXPERIENCE FOOTY

Is European Football Becoming American Soccer?

Transactional loyalty programs not a consumer favorite

Arsenal reveal how they use data to boost fan engagement

Pepsi, Pizza Hut put soccer fans in Paul Pogba’s shoes with AR game

Identiv, collectID Collaboration Delivers Fully Authenticated Fan Experience for NHL Nashville Predators

Nascar Selects Fan Engagement Platform, Pickup, to Help Accelerate Motorsports Content Gamification Strategy

NFL Legend Involved In First Fan Controlled Football Trade

Genius pro tournament gives fans $2 beer for every birdie

Baseball’s Streaming Push Leaves Fans Scrambling to Find Games

How we mapped Marvel Stadium using 5G with Google and Accenture

Women’s Sports Fans: Where the Hell Are You?

What will sports marketing look like in 2022 & 2023?

Long Wait Times and Dwindling Patience: The Top Customer Service Frustrations in 2022

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors use data to optimize the fan experience

NBA launches Meta Quest VR environment to engage fans during playoffs

Fans sue Jets, Giants and make a good point

AT&T Is Bringing AR Content To Live Sports Games

How AR and VR are transforming customer experiences

Experts Claim That The Future Of Esports Lies In The Cross Section Of Crypto And NFTs

How next-gen networks can win over a legion of sporting fans

The Loneliest Team in Baseball With the Oakland Athletics having gutted their roster and flirted with Las Vegas, their once-loyal fans appear to be in revolt.

Why do stadium stands use membrane & fabric structure?

Understanding Customer Experience in 2022

Uber adds electric cars and stadium food to its menu

The Best (Worst?) MLS Stadium Food For The 2022 Season

What can marketers learn from gaming communities?

Women’s FA Cup Final Sets Competition Attendance Record

How the Sports and Entertainment Industry Is Reinventing the Fan Experience and Enhancing Revenues with Computer Vision

Fan falls through Detroit footbridge on way to Tigers game

These Are China’s Ten Brand-New Stadiums That Will NOT Be Used for the 2023 Asia Cup

Mansfield Town Stags win Family Excellence Award

Australia: A roof that weighs as much as 333 elephants!

NFL Fan Rankings: Are Patriots No. 1?

3 Common Customer Complaints and How to Address Them

You’re Never Too Old to Be a Fan

Liverpool Football Club Selects Extreme to Kick Up Fan Experiences at Historic Anfield Stadium

How do African football stadiums stack up against each other?

Why aren’t the Oakland A’s trying harder to fill their stadium?

Swindon Town awarded Gold Status in 2021-22 EFL Family Excellence Awards

WEMBLEY STADIUM PARTNERS WITH TIXNGO TO DELIVER BLOCKCHAIN MOBILE TICKETING SOLUTION  

Road to CFB: Visiting Every Division-I College Football Stadium

UEFA ticket policies in spotlight for European finals

Gold Coast Titans NRL mascot and stadium illustrations from Sport Design Australia

$18 beers and $16 salads await fans at 2022 PGA Championship

Raccoon caught in the stands at the Vanderbilt vs Arkansas series!

Motherwell WELL IN SCHEME RETURNS

A-League debuts IZUZU D-MAX Ball Ute

NRL MAGIC ROUND 2022 Fan Experience Review, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 13-15 May 2022

The annual NRL Magic Round event was back at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium for 2022 and despite a week when the rain across Queensland caused persistent widespread flooding the event still drew over 100,000 fans through the turnstiles across the three event days.

With the rain falling heavily across the Friday and Saturday but easing on the third day, fans made their way into the stadium precinct decked out with ponchos and umbrellas but still managed to bring all their colour and atmosphere from the thousands of retro to modern rugby league jerseys on display from fans of all ages. This is a true celebration of rugby league and league fans with supporters rocking Gold Coast Chargers and Seagulls kits to South Queensland Crushers and Western Reds jerseys amongst the smorgasbord of the current 16 NRL teams. It’s this colour, fan passion and atmosphere that is a magical component of this event off the field.

The downloadable stadium map and event guide were handy additions to kick start the planning of the fan journey at Magic Round with the map coming in handy to locate all of the activations both inside and outside the venue. The 32-page event guide had information on merchandise, activations, match-ups, key timings and more valuable information to ensure fans knew everything they needed to know to capitalise on a massive fun weekend of rugby league.

After reminiscing over some old footy cards and beers we decided to head in for the matches on Saturday at 1PM. We made our way into the stadium precinct on the train from Dutton Park station into Roma Street station in the city with the train being packed with rugby league fans in a positive vibe for the three matches being played today for day two. It was a sea of league fans of all ages walking through The Barracks centre in Milton down to Suncorp Stadium and despite the rain that lingered for most of the day and night the fans were still in a very upbeat mood with the bars along Caxton Street pumping with conversations, beers and footy food as thousands of fans commandeered the road heading down to the venue. It was also nice to see the new artwork ‘Welcome’ which featured 25 laser-cut steel hunting boomerangs with welcome greetings in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language dialects.

What’s On at the Stadium: Precinct

Making my way around the Suncorp Stadium precinct from the Caxton Street end to the Roma Street end the event offered an outstanding first impression of the event presentation that included plenty of activations for fans of all ages such as:

1. Bundy Pop Up Bar

Fans were able to grab a drink from the Bundy Pop Up Bar with the first fans to purchase a Bundy from the Bundaberg Pop Up Bar each day of NRL Magic Round receiving a double pass upgrade for a specific match into the Bundy Backyard Deck inside the stadium. This bar shed was at an entrance point of the NRL Fan Zone area and it was good to see security guards helping people by warning them to be careful entering the space as the ground was slippery and getting slightly muddy.

2. Chemist Warehouse Chill Out Zone

This was a relaxing spot for fans to kick back and chill with deck chairs and beanbags to watch the big screen during and between matches. I believe the deck chairs may have been packed up due to the rain at some point as it would not have been the best setting for them with the rain falling nonstop. Fans also received free gift bags that included chemist items like moisturiser and sunscreen along with a gym towel which for many fans, myself included is stuff I will actually use.  Mascot Wally the Chemist Warehouse Mascot (how did they come up with a mascot name for CW?) surprised fans with upgrades into the Chemist Warehouse Deck inside the venue while there was a fun reaction wall game to play. I finished on 29 which wasn’t too bad considering the top score was 37. I’ll put that down to my good skills in quick thinking and reaction time to putting out arguments amongst grade 4 students that made me go fairly well in this fun game.

3. CUB Great Northern Bar

The CUB beer garden was open between matches where fans could enjoy a drink from the Great Northern bar. The first 50 people to purchase a drink also received a stubby cooler. This was a nice set up that faced away from the venue and towards Caxton street with a live stage below featuring artists playing tunes.

4. Ampol Magic Carpet

Fans were able to experience walking down the red carpet by taking their best Ampol Magic Carpet photo. By sharing it across socials they had the chance to be upgraded into the Ampol Deck inside the stadium. We had a go of this and I even used the fuel bowser emoji in my witty caption all to no avail….must of been the Illawarra Steelers jersey I was wearing. Still a lot of fun for my friends and I to take home a few photos.

5. YOUI Magic Kick

Fans could come down to the Youi Magic Kick in the Precinct to have a go at kicking a footy through the posts!

6. Harvey Norman Photo Station

If fans visited the Harvey Norman station they could collect their FREE magic round photo as well as purchase limited edition Magic Round personalised NRL products. This was a fun activation with my mates and I getting snapped for an event pic that was free to take home. The personalised merch also looked really colourful too.

7. Letter Lights

Fans could grab a photo in front of the Giant Magic Round Letter lights to then share it on channels to #NRLMagic.

8. Swyftx Giant Human Claw

The Swyftx Giant Human Claw was giving away thousands of dollars in prizes over NRL Magic Round weekend, including $5,000 in Bitcoin every day.  Fans could come down and participate in the human-sized version of the traditional arcade game to win these prizes. I watched this for a few participants to have their go and it was actually pretty entertaining. There were obviously a lot of OWHS things to consider with this activation and the weather did not make it any easier. Watching a fan dive down to get an NRL ball and then that ball revealing a prize was quite entertaining and there was certainly enough interest from the fans who had lined up to have a go.

9. Food Trucks

There were plenty of food truck options with gourmet offerings including Eat Fresh kebabs, Chipstars, Brat Haus, Dinky D’d Doughnuts and more. $7 for a dagwood dog and $13 kebabs were affordable for a snack in this fan precinct even if you weren’t intending to go into the venue as this was a fun spot to sit, watch the games and drink and eat.

10. EISS Super Ball

Get your photo taken in front of the giant EISS Super and Steeden Inflatable football.

11. Kids Zone

Magic Round brings the festival vibes for the whole family! Kids were able to get a photo with their favourite team’s mascot, get geared up with face painting, & show off their skills with the magic pass the Ball. With the rain falling all around some fan activities were slow to get going as fans didn’t want to wait in the lines with the rain however it didn’t stop many families and kids from still participating in these free fun activities to take home some memories.

12. NRL Merchandise

Fans could grab their Magic Round mementos exclusively at the venue at the six or so merchandise outlets around the stadium! All 16 teams’ merchandise was also available for purchase like retro jerseys. I was able to pre-plan the purchase of some merch for my daughter like a football and a bucket hat for my work at school by looking through the event guide before heading in, however due to the popularity of many items, these sold out quick smart which was unfortunate but shows the popularity of fans who want to support the NRL, love rugby league and want to rep all 16 teams. Plus the designs were pretty neat too.

What’s On at the Stadium: In-Ground

1. Telstra Live Stage

The Telstra Live Stage hosted music entertainment, DJ’s and performances throughout the NRL Magic Round weekend and was located in the corner of the venue.

2. KFC Fry/No Fry Banners

Fans could give their viewer’s verdict with the KFC Fry/No Fry banners. KFC brand ambassadors inside the stadium handed out Fry/No Fry banners to fans. KFC was also surprising and delighting lucky fans across the weekend with KFC vouchers to redeem KFC.

3. Steeden Magic Ball

Players were throwing Steeden NRL Magic Round footies into the crowd after each match for fans to keep as well as using the tee shirt gun to fire off what I presume were jerseys or shirts from various teams.

4. KFC Bucket Catch

Two lucky fans picked from the crowd matched up against each other on the field during half-time at selected matches across NRL Magic Round weekend. Each fan had to catch as many footies as possible in their KFC bucket to WIN KFC vouchers and merchandise!

5. Telstra Fan Cam

Fans could get involved with the Telstra Fan Cam to win a signed jersey from their favourite NRL team.

6. Ampol Pump It Up Cam

Fans could show their support for their team with the Ampol Pump It Up Cam for their chance to win a $100 fuel voucher. The big screens featured hilarious kiss cams, ‘make some noise’ call outs as well as oblivious cam and a few other funny moments that got a good reception from the crowd. 

7. Telstra Tracker LED Race

Lucky fans across NRL Magic Round weekend got the chance to race against some of the fastest players in the game. The one we saw was able to beat the Telstra Tracker and was quite fast.

8. Ampol Deck

The Ampol ‘Australia’s Own’ Deck was Australian-themed and included a full food & beverage package for guests.  Fans could take their best red-carpet photo at the Ampol Magic Carpet activation in the stadium precinct and share it across socials for the chance to be upgraded into the Ampol Deck. This was a brightly blue coloured event space at the Caxton Street end inside one of the stadium corners and stood out amongst the other social spaces.

9. Bundy Backyard Deck

The Bundy Backyard Deck was the ideal spot to kick back with mates for the best seats in the house at NRL Magic Round.  Guests received full food and beverage offering and the opportunity to meet and greet with NRL legends.  Fans who were one of the first to purchase a Bundy from the Bundy Pop Up Bar in the stadium precinct each day of NRL Magic Round were lucky to receive a double pass upgrade for a specific match into the Bundy Backyard Deck inside the stadium for the best seats in the house. This was another themed social space that looked really impressive for the presentation in one of the corners of the venue.

10. Chemist Warehouse Deck

Guests to the Chemist Warehouse deck received full food and beverage offering, the opportunity to meet and greet with NRL legends and an exclusive product gift bag upon arrival. A relaxing spot in the corner of the venue.

11. Free flags for supporter bay fans

Fans who purchased a supporter bay ticket were able to collect a free supporter flag that featured all 16 club logos on a colourful flag design. They were handing these out to fans everywhere and I was lucky enough to get one for my daughter which will go nicely in her room. A really nice simple touch for a physical item that fans could take home.

12. Lighting

The light shows and themed LED lighting was vibrant and looked good both inside the stadium and on TV. The ability to switch between themes either teams or colourful light shows added to the atmosphere and created a positive vibe to make this a big-time event. The fireworks and flames at the end of the try lines also pumped up the crowd either when the teams were running out or when tries were scored.

Fan Experience Elements

While thousands of fans made for a busy stadium precinct both inside and out it was clear that venue did a very good job of keeping fans safe and ensuring the fan experience was quality. With the rain falling constantly and fans getting wet it was good to see the concourses being managed well to allow the safe and efficient flow of fans despite fans crowding along the bays to try to stay dry and still watch the game. Security and ushers were managing this as best they could under the circumstances.

The staff were really efficient and attentive as I made three enquiries and had interactions with different staff members over the course of the night for some things that I thought needed to be addressed such as glass in the concourse area, catering staff inadvertently blocking a stairwell and an aggressive fan who was throwing items onto the field and agitating other fans. In every situation, the venue and security staff were very helpful and switched on to ensure fans were having an enjoyable event experience.

Food and beverage options were plentiful and inclusive with the frozen cocktails proving to be very popular amongst fans along with Pirate Life craft beer for beverages. It was good to see the dedicated vegan stand in action along with vegan and gluten-free options available in the concession outlets while there were combo deals available as well. From pies, pizza slices and chicken wings and chips to American BBQ, fish and chips and hot dogs, there really was something here to tempt all tastebuds with many prices being affordable and expected for major event days. Beers ranged from $9-11 with most food around the $6-16 mark. I had a fairly decent salad sandwich and 600ml Coke Zero which came in at $11 and which I thought was pretty good value for a footy feed.

Toilets were clean and lines, even for female fans seemed to be moving fast. Staff were abundant around the venue and were seen cleaning constantly throughout the night. I said to one staffer that he was doing a good job and he said no one has ever said that before. It’s something I make a point of doing, especially for cleaning staff and young folks on the concession registers. They do a good job and deserve to be told they’re going well so if you’re at a venue then make sure you give them a little shout out.

The exit at the end of the night was efficient and seamless with buses, trains and taxis all flowing from the venue and making it easy for fans to get home safely. Way-finding signs as well as helpful staff directing fans also just made the exit swift and simple after a long day at the venue. 

NRL Magic Round is an event like no other. The fans are equal to the athletes in terms of the atmosphere and colourful vibe that the event brings and it’s certainly a major sporting event that I reccomend any rugby league or sports fan to go and check out.

Fan Engagement Friday: News from around the grounds 13/05/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology and customer service plus much more. Enjoy

WWE Experimenting New Ways To Increase Fan Engagement During Commercials

Tottenham Grounds Team win ‘prestigious’ Premier League award

Dan Sormaz, Sorare: Meeting sports fans’ demand for deeper digital experiences

The best UK supermarket loyalty schemes and why they work

Patience, Zero. The State of Customer Service in 2022

Off the Menu: Fenway Park and other ballparks tweak their snack offerings

Drone delivery is giving stadium food a lift

2022 Stadium Journey NHL Arena Rankings

MLB Mariners Sullivan emphasizes bringing ‘whole self’ to work

Forty-Two Percent Would Rather Clean A Toilet Than Call Customer Support

The Brands Reviving the Lost Art of Letter Writing to Drive Loyalty

Glitz and Gridiron: How the NFL Draft Took Over Las Vegas

Empowering the Influence of the Female Fan

Here’s How Turner Sports and ESPN Grew Female NHL Audiences by Double-Digits

NASCAR SELECTS FAN ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM, PICKUP, TO HELP ACCELERATE MOTORSPORTS CONTENT GAMIFICATION STRATEGY

Identiv, collectID Collaboration Delivers Fully Authenticated Fan Experience for NHL Nashville Predators

How NBA Teams Are Using Luxury Fashion to Enhance the Fan Experience

Future of Sport: Stadium Technology of Tomorrow (with Chi Bhatia)

Watch a drone do a test run of delivering a hot dog in a stadium – will it catch on?

At Formula 1 Miami, Tag Heuer and Red Bull Racing Tag Team on the Fan Experience

Augmented Reality: Enriching Customer Service Experience

How Brands Can Win Over Gen Z With Customer Service

Is Your Customer Service Hurting Or Helping?

How to Reach a Human Being In Customer Service

NBA teams hike ticket prices as attendance drops, internal data shows

Crypto.com Drives Fan Engagement at Miami Grand Prix Through NFTs

Electronic Arts to Create Fan-First Future of Interactive Football with EA SPORTS FC™

Los Angeles Football Club Launches New Fan Experience with Mixhalo

Is your football team charging over the odds for matchday food? As Arsenal is condemned for £13 portion of chips, the other clubs raking it in with dodgy snacks

Everything has changed: The ‘new’ sport and the ‘new’ fans

F1 Miami Grand Prix: A sports business retrospective

Want concessions brought to your seat at the baseball field? Waitr has you covered

How Soccer Moses led Nashville SC fans to the promised land — Geodis Park

FC Dallas games are a fan-friendly experience

MLB adds six new partners for 2022 season

How Real Salt Lake’s new ownership is reenergizing the franchise 

Old Trafford marks start of Verizon’s drive to bring US stadium tech to Europe and Asia

2022 USA Stadium Report The highest-rated and most popular stadiums in the US right now

5 Things Pro Wrestling Teach Us About Customer Service

How the Overwatch League is generating fan engagement with a March-Madness-style bracket contest

Loyalty done right through relationship marketing

The green boom: Sustainability becomes priority for Arizona sports teams, organizations

Live Nation Entertainment Reports First Quarter 2022 Results

Verizon launches international stadium and venue strategy

Opinion | Turf tech and how making the right choices can maximise sponsorship revenue

Bundesliga’s new AI takes fan-first approach to whole new level, putting control in palm of supporters’ hands

Tetavi & LA Kings Team Up to Bring Hockey Stars & Mascot to the Metaverse

Use NFTs to target long-term fan engagement over short-term revenue

NRL 2022: Everything you need to know about Magic Round

Fan Engagement Friday: News from around the grounds 06/05/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology and customer service plus much more. Enjoy

Central Coast Mariners bring everyone to the game incentive

Canterbury Bulldogs hosting first Iftar Dinner for fans

TIO Stadium Fan Engagement for Parramatta and North Queensland Fans – well worth taking a look at Les tweets on this from up in Darwin

Mystics WNBA Theme Nights – good insight into US ‘theme’ nights

Newcastle Knights NRL Junior MC

JPEX TO GIVE AWAY FREE HOT CHIPS AT WANDERERS CLASH AGAINST WELLINGTON

Serie A comes to the metaverse: First football league to broadcast a match

Nashville SC stadium GEODIS Park: History, capacity, debut as largest soccer-specific stadium in USA ready for opening and The Fan Experience at Geodis Park and Geodis Park food vendors: Ranking, reacting to 6 concessions at Nashville SC’s new stadium

Kolkata Knight Riders & Major League Cricket to build a world-class cricket stadium in Los Angeles

Thousands of solar panels to power Germany’s first climate-neutral arena

The secret to customer communication? We asked a psychotherapist, a crisis PR expert and a communications SaaS

Kraken’s strategy toward building fan base in need of an offseason boost

Populous announces a new esports arena and NFT collection in its hometown

Customer Service: When Things Go Wrong, Your Response Matters Most

Maple Leafs have most loyal NHL fanbase in Canada

VERB to Provide the NBA’s Detroit Pistons with Interactive Video Technology to Drive Ticket and Merchandise Sales and Increase Fan Engagement in Multi-Year Deal

Joel Selwood opens up on “ugly part” of fan engagement

Special report: Socios expects to make £150 from each fan who buys a token

See How WWE and Its Brand Partners Engaged Fans During WrestleMania 38

Oakland A’s face fan malaise in effort to boost attendance, build stadium (in Oakland or Vegas)

Fans Divided on MLB’s New Sponsored Patch Program

RE:JERSEY – AC MILAN PLAYERS TO WEAR SPECIAL PUMA JERSEYS

How the New York Philharmonic Is Evolving Its Audience Strategies

PGA TOUR and Quintar expand augmented reality relationship

15 Simple Tips for Improving Customer Service

Astros & Uber Eats announce multi-year partnership

How MLB stadiums have stayed flush with hot dogs – in spite of inflation, supply chain problems

Australian Customer Loyalty Research Finds Members Make the Most of Their Rewards and Benefits

Catching buzzworthy moments that matter

Countdown To 2022 MLB All-Star Game At Dodger Stadium and From stadium to sea, LA Dodgers unveil All-Star Game plans and Play Ball Park fan engagement and MLB Play Ball Park festival

Why Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix ended up with a fake marina and dry-docked yachts

How Data Analytics Will Change the Game for Sports Venues

Socios.com becomes official fan loyalty partner of 26 MLS clubs

How to build customer relationships and increase loyalty

NFL Fans select the Tampa Bay Bucs as No. 1 in customer service and stadium technology plus Buccaneers Voted #1 in Customer Service and Stadium Technology Again by NFL Fans

Creating the Expectations for an eSports Stadium

Part of Miami track design at the limit of the rules

Supporting Artists and Elevating Fan Experiences With Mixed Reality

One of the stadiums Qatar has built for the 2022 World Cup is made out of 974 shipping containers, and will be entirely deconstructed and recycled after the tournament is over.

Toronto Blue Jays Revamp In-Game Experience at Rogers Centre With 10 New Daktronics LED Displays

Zero Waste Wolfpack Wins GameDay Recycling Challenge Award

5 Customer Service Techniques for More Effective Communication

HARLEQUINS LAUNCH TICKETMASTER’S 3D VIRTUAL VENUE TECHNOLOGY

Real Madrid orders huge Daktronics LED halo display

Great campaign by Vitesse Arnhem using Sports Alliance’s personalization features to send a personalized season-ticket-campaign newspaper to all its fans. – Go follow Bas

Fan Engagement Friday: News from around the grounds 29/4/2022

A weekly recap of some of the interesting stories and developments from the educational to the random in the world of fan engagement/experience, stadium/venue news, fan behaviour and psychology and customer service plus much more. Enjoy

Scran? No scran? The new food culture at football grounds

What’s new in Major League ballparks in 2022

Bengals’ $455m stadium is in such great shape it only needs $493m in upgrades, says architect

Dad things: Reds fan makes amazing catch while feeding baby

T-Mobile Park set to be first ballpark in MLB to open a store powered by both Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One

New York Islanders Integrate BlueJeans by Verizon to Elevate HOMEICE Fan Experience

How sports fans use data analytics to increase their enjoyment and understanding of sport

AFL Mint to release limited edition moments across AFL and AFLW

Melbourne Victory launch Victory Burger for fans!

NHL tech showcase focuses on fan experience

Player announcement drawings by @1fcn

Bolton Wanderers Jon Daddi Bavardsson playing penalties with young fan outside stadium.

Chelsea FC tackles food waste with new venue program for unused food

Populous and Kansas City Pioneers unveil “The Arena” NFT collection

Gamers get chance to play on Kauffman Stadium’s jumbotron ahead of tournament

The Miami Marlins have an amazing deal on the world’s saddest tacos

3 Top Tips You Can Implement Today To Maintain Great Customer Service!

Seattle Mariners to use Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ and palm-scanning tech in new stadium market

Turkish sports stadium takes Guinness World Records title for solar output

Boston’s Fenway Park opens contactless food and drink stores

Ejected: What happens when a fan is banned from a stadium?

The Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena takes world-leading step towards sustainability

Statement on the Fan Led Review of Football Governance

NBA offers more free ‘The Association’ NFTs to fans after minting mishap

Six Major Steps To Improving Your Team’s Customer Service Skills

Hockey lover wins a luxury vacation. Atlanta pro team backs out of deal.

Fan Experiences Startup Vaunt Raises $5M, Investors Include Justin Tuck, Michele Roberts, Dodgers’ Elysian Park Ventures

Technology is saving the live sports experience

Celtic latest to launch digital cards via Sorare

Liverpool Could Become The First Premier League Club To Have Cryptocurrency As Main Shirt Sponsor

58% Of Customers Will Pay More For Better Customer Service

Ipswich Town Named EFL Family Club of the Year

ASM Global to deploy facial recognition technology across venues

NHL, technology partners showcase next generation of fan experience

Grimsby Town Paint the Town Proud initiative

Gold Coast Suns AFL Fan Experience at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, Australia 24/4/22

On a wet and chilly Sunday afternoon I hit the highway from Brisbane to head down the M1 to the Gold Coast to take in the Gold Coast Suns AFL fan experience at Metricon Stadium in Nerang.

Today’s match was to be the Suns versus the Brisbane Lions in the annual QCLASH derby as well as representing an ANZAC Day ceremony to honour our servicemen and women.

I prepped for the match day by getting my daughter Ramona all dressed up in a Gold Coast Suns dress that I bought for her to show her support for another Queensland team (her first ever dress- which she hated, the dress that is!) while I pulled out my Brisbane Bears wool guernsey, grabbed my Sherrin footy, new Lions cord cap from the Lions shop and some fresh ANZAC biscuits to share with mates and laminated my printed out match day ticket to save as my ticket memento to go into my box of 1000+ tickets from 30 years of live events – anything to keep the physical part of the event day ticking on in my opinion.

The fan journey started at 1pm with a quick 50 minute car journey via tolls from Brisbane to Nerang Railway Station. Nerang Station has ample parking and a lockable bicycle station as well as open bike racks. I made sure to park via the exits under security cameras for better safety and to get away faster at the end of the night however by 2pm the car park was filling up with Lions and Suns fans meaning that this is a safe and secure place to leave your car and head to the match due to the number of people coming through here on match days.

Once parked I made my way through the station to the bus terminal area where the game day buses were starting up at 2pm to ferry fans to Metricon Stadium. The buses were free for fans with the transport included within the ticket, as was the train from Brisbane if fans had chosen to catch the train from Brisbane to Nerang Station. However with track work today on the Gold Coast line, driving to the station and then catching this free bus seemed like the best option.

The bus driver was cheerful as Suns and Lions fans hoped on the bus and I was impressed with security greeting everyone that was getting on and asking us who would win while the bus driver was equally impressive ensuring that fans were safely picked up along the way despite there only being the one designated stop at the venue which was a helpful thing to do for those fans who were walking to the ground. The bus arrived directly outside the stadium after a short five minute journey which made it a seamless entry into the ground. It was also important to note that since my last visit here a couple of years ago, parking restrictions have gone up similar to around The Gabba and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane meaning restrictions apply on match days and it is not advisable to try to park as you risk a fine.

Parking is also available within the stadium for only $20 via the Ticketmaster site however this does seem to sell out quickly in the week leading up to match day. Metricon also has a ride share and public pick up and drop off zone near the venue too with accessible entry and exit to the stadium.

Making our way into the stadium was seamless and we were greeted by a ‘hello’ and ‘thanks for coming’ by the venue staff. I then made my way over to the AFL Record stand and picked up a copy of the ANZAC round AFL Record which is still a bargain at $5 and a game day tradition I never miss.

This is one of my favourite AFL venues in Australia for a number of reasons. The views are great wherever you sit while the ease of access to get in and out to get food and drinks or to go to the toilets is also not a hassle. I love a venue you can walk the full distance around and here at Metricon Stadium you can walk both the inside and outside concourses to take in the full sights and smells of the match day as well as accessing all the types of food on offer and not being cut off by security or ushers.

On the food and beverage front while there were food trucks and permanent food stalls in abundance I found the food offering we sampled to be below par and quite disappointing however this was no doubt not the opinion of every fan who purchased food items at the event. The hot chips we purchased for $6.50 were flavourless (my friend had a delicious peppery salt on his while mine had nothing which was odd) and undercooked while the hot dog looked quite sad presentation wise for $6.50 and the pie for $5.75 had hard pastry like a rock. There was an assortment of options from Chipsters offering dagwood dogs and loaded fries to a Kebab stand meaning there truly was something for every fan to get around. There were also wings and chips and Hawaiian burger combos along with churros and even popcorn boxes to satisfy fans tastes and preferences for both young and old with the more substantial offerings costly $15-$17.

Prices seemed quite high compared to other venues for items such as hot dogs and chips while the beer was fresh and on par with Australian venues with a Carlton Mid tinnie (served into a plastic cup) at $8.95 while Great Northern schooners were $9.80 and craft beer from Pirate Life Brewing Co (CUB/South Australian) was $11.20 for their mid-strength or $8.50 for their 0.9% light beer which all in all represented normal pricing and a good variety for beer drinkers. Furthermore some bars did not have electronic boards displaying prices or price lists so you weren’t sure how much you were paying until it was round up at the til.

The venue has an impressive outside concourse as as well as an inside open concourse which offers plenty of space to roam, order food and drinks as well as find a space to sit and take in the event away from your actual seats. It’s one of my favourite grounds because of the open space and the flexibility you have to walk around the venue on a game day. There are multiple member’s bars (one with a live band called The Fifth Quarter) as well as a Carlton Draught bar for Suns members and fans while there are chairs and tables and plenty of green space including a massive oval only 50 metres from the stands where you can kick footies on all throughout the match day. This is a big incentive for families and young fans who who come along as they can bring in their footballs to the match and head out for a pre, mid or post game kick as we did with our own Sherrin that was a lot of fun.

The sponsor activation social spaces were impressive and included the Carlton Draught bar and a comfy couch seating area overlooking the field of play (could not see sponsor, perhaps Metricon). There were two sponsor activation set ups that really caught my eye though and these included the Metricon Homes ‘Terrace’ that was a fully fledged house within the stadium that included a balcony overlooking the field while the Plungie Pool area was also eye-catching with its pool, lifeguard and blue astroturf seating.

The toilets here were clean and spacious with no lines seen throughout the night for either the women’s or men’s with the men’s having a lot of space to walk in and out quickly with soap and tap all working fine. Hand sanitisers were available around the ground and after checking three which had sanitiser in them on my travels around the venue it was good to see them filled up unlike on recent stadium visits where they have been on show but not filled up.

The views are simply breathtaking here with views on the ground level or up in the stands affording fans a cracking close up view of the action no matter the seating rake. Behind the goals at the scoreboard is also a place worth sitting and while not undercover affords fans a close up view of the action. Sitting high up in section 216 we did still get slightly wet as the rain permeated through the worn roof tarps with the roof, rails and shades all looking like they need a thorough clean. The way-finding in the stadium was not too difficult to see where to go for food, seating sections or toilets but I thought it could be made a bit more clearer and in larger text to make it more visible. I saw a few ushers on the night cheerfully helping fans however there was not one in our stand or the one adjacent, however it seemed that fans made their way to their seats easily with the night running very smoothly as well for stadium staff. Accessible seating is clearly marked and available for those fans needing it while outside the concourses there are merchandise stands offering both Suns and away fans the option of securing a piece of merch.

The Suns fan engagement really stands out and is underrated in my opinion both for AFL teams and in other Australian sporting teams. The Suns really cater well for families and kids with a big feature being their Suns ‘Little Legends’ train that runs around the venue picking up young fans and families and taking them on a fun casual train ride around the outside of the stadium concourse. The Suns do a lot for their members with the social spaces previously listed however they also have a member raise their Suns flag up the flagpole each game while they also have a junior reporter, Suns photo wall, face painting, a kids zone out the back and a member’s guard of honour. Screen activations like Air Guitar and the on-field kick the footy into the Plungie Pool were also fun to watch – I reckon I could have nailed the kick into the footy easily (It’s all about wearing the right shoes for on field fan engagement if you’re ever selected to participate!).

It was also good to see the way the Suns acknowledge their members with big plaques inside the venue honouring those fans who have shown their dedication as members along with history charts across the seating bowl that highlight the Suns formation and history on the Gold Coast over the past decade.

The Suns ANZAC Day ceremony was handled respectfully and included a marching band, the last post and the national anthems and it was good to see everyone take their hats off and stand in silence to appreciate the ANZACs and what this day means to so many Australian and New Zealander’s.

While it was an entertaining game in the rain, the Lions ended up running away with the win 132-80 before the final siren sounded and fans made their exits. I found it easy to leave the venue and the signage for the buses back to Nerang Station or to Broadbeach were easily identifiable with bus staff also speaking to fans to ensure they were headed in the right direction. Within five minutes of lining up we were on a bus and on our way back to the train station which again only took five minutes journey before heading back to the cars and home within an hour to Brisbane.

A Gold Coast Suns AFL game day at Metricon Stadium is a very worthy event day visit in my opinion, either as a Suns fan or as in my case travelling for an away day as a Lions fan. From the views and the big oval for a kick to the Suns fan engagement andd the ease of the fan journey both in and out, it really represents an enjoyable AFL match day for Aussie Rules fans. There is so much on here for families and fans with the Suns clearly going the extra mile to create lasting memories for their members and fans and I could not more highly rate the Suns fan experience as an event worth checking out.

Hawthorn Hawks Vs St Kilda Saints AFL Fan Experience at MCG, Melbourne, Australia 10/4/22

On Sunday 10th April I finally had the chance to do something I have been looking forward to for such a long time.

I finally got to be back in Melbourne after three years away and I got to take my daughter Ramona Josie along to her first ever AFL match and her first ever visit to the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Ramona and I started our fan journey on a gorgeous blue sky day by walking (well she got an easy ride in the stroller!) the short distance from the city along the back inner suburban Melbourne streets of the MCG.

We had a fun little play in the grassy area outside the G where we kicked the football and had cuddles under this amazing stadium that is in my opinion one of the best to visit in the world for any event. That event today turned out to be a classic old school Aussie Rules battle between Hawthorn Hawks and St Kilda Saints which the Saints would eventually run away with in the end 142-73.

After a play we picked up a copy of the AFL Record which is always a must on an AFL game day and a bargain still at $5.

It was great to see a few things by looking up at the MCG and these included the solar panels out the front of gate 3 and the water station and solar powered CCTV and lights which all together has made the MCG run on 100% renewable energy which is spectacular to see from a major Australian venue. The ‘G-TRAIN’ was also a good sight to see for inclusion and accessibility as it carried less mobile fans around the G to their gates.

Today thanks to a friend we were lucky enough to sit in the MCC area which I had never been in to before. We were greeted and welcomed in by friendly MCG staff who waved and made RJ feel safe and welcome. I was even so surprised at how much Ramona enjoyed the atmosphere of a pumping MCG crowd from the people to the sirens, she was beaming ear to ear which made the day all the more memorable.

After walking in we did a big lap of the area taking in the F&B outlets, getting some photos, looking at the facilities and also going on a nice walk along the concourse. We had a look in the MCG shop which is stocked full of AFL and cricket items to buy with the retro range standing out as some very cool merch items. We walked out to then come back into another section and got a special Member’s Reserve pass which felt like something from the old days. The COVID check in process was also seamless and easy with security and gate staff helpful and efficient.

There were many new F&B stands with the addition of Royal Stacks burgers a welcome surprise and the prices were ok too from $12.50-$15.50. I remember when these guys had just opened in Brunswick when we lived here in 2015 so to see them in the stadium was pretty cool for fans, especially with their bright concession stand. There was also a brisket/BBQ outlet selling brisket rolls for $15.50, sweet crepes for $11 and southern fried chicken at the Cleaver and Coop outlet for $12.

Prices for some items were very affordable with water ($3.40) and coke varieties ($4.70) probably the cheapest in an Australian venue while the WAIT TIMES boards were helpful in showing fans which outlets had shortest lines and the distance to each outlet. Beer was priced at $9.50 for Carlton Draught while $11 for Mountain Goat craft beer which did absolutely taste that little bit nicer in flavour.

Power banks, water refill stations and plenty of helpful staff were also present inside the stadium on this event day. I found that the baby change and toilet facilities were also top notch here. I also had a check of some hand sanitisers and they all worked and had been filled prior to the event.

Ramona and I had an absolutely outstanding day at the MCG for her first visit and first AFL game with staff, affordable F&B and the views of the ground being the highlights of visiting this historic venue.

North Melbourne/Western Bulldogs AFL Fan Experience at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne, Australia 15/4/22

On a mild April day in Melbourne I set out for two games in the city with the first one taking place at Marvel Stadium in Docklands at 4pm before heading across town to AAMI Park later in the night.

I started my fan journey to Marvel Stadium in the city by catching the free 96 tram from our accommodation to within a 5 minute walk of the stadium gates. I first walked around the ground taking in the Kangaroos fan zone and members tent area with spin to win games, free GOAL cards and photo opportunities for fans young and old. I checked out the basketball court and the mural as well as some of the Marvel world entertainment like the pillar wraps and the rock climbing Spiderman wall that was not in use today. The walk from Southern Cross Station along the top concourse is always a special moment in Melbourne as thousands of fans make the pilgrimage in to the venue dressed in their guernseys and scarves.

I picked up my copy of the AFL Record and spoke to the seller who said that it’s still selling very well on game days as fans love the physical memento to take home. It’s sad in a way with QR coded digital tickets that we don’t have as many physical items to take from the game anymore like ticket stubs.

The match today was an AFL game between North Melbourne Kangaroos and Western Bulldogs that was scheduled for a 4.20pm bounce as part of the annual Good Friday Appeal match which both teams had worked well on for press all week in the city and thus resulted in a very good crowd. Tickets were well priced with myself being able to pick up a $15 Western Bulldogs ticket via a targeted Facebook post that had no extra booking fees added on as part of the deal.

The COVID check in process was seamless and easy with multiple friendly staff on hand to assist fans. I received a hello and welcome to the venue on entry and found it impressive to see the back of the staff shirts saying ‘Can we help you?’ as well as the IPTV screens displaying similar information about talking to staff if you need anything. I went around to the Customer Service Centre to ask some questions about the game day and found that the staffer here was very well educated on the game day and venue facilities. The hand sanitisers around the ground were mostly filled with one either not working properly or out of sanitiser. The toilets were clean and staff were seen to be doing a really good job of cleaning the venue as the game went on and of ensuring patrons were kept safe especially with the cordoned off roped area when the coaches were making their way back to the stands.

The joint banner and legends kick to kick were clever fan engagement ideas to bring people together for a laugh and a positive moment at the game and there was no doubt that a lot of funds were raised for the Good Friday Appeal.

The F&B options were plentiful with the standard fare of chips ($4.50), pie ($4.50) and hot dog ($6) however the best feature here is the free sauce! Not 30c, not 50c, not even a $1 for sauce but FREE! This might seem small but these things, these little things go a long way for the fan experience not least family budgets when it comes to things like buying food and drinks at a game. I really liked how the IPTV screens displayed the time til bounce and also how you can just pull up and drink a beer or have a bite on the concourse benches that run along the venue facing the field without being ushered on my staff.

There are many quality options to choose from and the pricing is quite affordable too including Smoke and Smouler BBQ, GAMI Chicken and Sweeter Life which was a hit with kids selling lolly bags and popcorn. It was good to see vegan options in burgers as well as gluten free pies making Marvel quite an inclusive venue when it comes to food options.

It was good to see the work the stadium does for accessibility and inclusion with their kids Stadium Sensory Room with sensory bags for kids including noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools, visual cue cards.

I loved the KEG Room I passed which when I ventured further around I thought could be a decent fan social space if you knocked out a window from the inside of it as it had an epic view of the field from up here. On the topic of beers, Great Northern’s were $10.50 while 4 Pines craft beer was $12.50.

Crews were collecting for the appeal while they were also giving out free hot cross buns to fans which was a welcome surprise.

I found it interesting that the inside of the venue had so much Marvel theming around the venue from life size statues to wall wraps and even height charts and photo ops yet they were branded with Marvel characters and not AFL players/themes. Maybe all kids like Marvel characters but I’d love to see an AFL all team character compare your height chart or an AFL footy photo opp booth. I know that the venues name has a lot to do with this but even the fan engagement on field was ‘pose like a superhero’ and not really AFL related.

The atmosphere was really pumping for this Good Friday Appeal AFL match and I was really impressed by the quality F&B on offer, fan engagement from North Melbourne, the team work from both teams media and marketing teams in the lead up to the game, the focus on inclusion and the venues focus on helping fans have the best fan experience they possibly can.

Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby Fan Experience at AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia 15/4/22

For my second game of today I skipped across town after the AFL game at Marvel Stadium back to AAMI Park to take in the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby match.

Making the fan journey from Southern Cross Station to AAMI Park I hopped on a free tram and then walked from the free tram boundary in the city to the venue which only took about 20 minutes (10 tram and 10 walk). I made my way down to the stadium and took some pictures along the outside concourse of the set up with the flags and LED screen having changed to represent tonights match and hirer in the Rebels.

Once again I found that the staff and COVID check in process was easy and staff were helpful and kind with greeting fans for the game. I made my way into the ground noticing a massive decrease in the presence of Victorian Police for this match compared to Tuesday night’s A-League game.

My review of the F&B can be found on the recent Melbourne Victory fan experience recap in these blogs however I did try a beer for the first time this trip having had wisdom teeth taken out while down here on holiday and unable to drink and despite the price at $11.80 for a craft beer, it was delicious and fresh and hit the spot on another mild night in Melbourne. I also liked the look of the FAT YAK beer bar outlet that was branded in all FAT YAK related livery.

I’m not quite sure what the #BURNCITYREBELS means, maybe Mel-BURN but I did like the branding and design that they are using for it which is different to what a lot of other clubs are using.

The fan engagement and crowd energy was good with a fun HT kick comp for young fans while the crowd MC and music kept the atmosphere moving along in the venue. It wasn’t the most spectacular turn out but this is an AFL city and even factoring in COVID issues and the reasons that fans are staying away it makes it hard for any team anywhere in the world to go back to what crowds were like in 2019. I think the Rebels are doing a very good job and know for a fact that they have made some really smart hires in recent times, people with good creative minds who will add to this business and bring some of their own quality experiences to the team.

The game was a solid contest too with it going back and forth but eventually getting away from the Rebels who went down to the Reds 36-32.

Ticket prices were very affordable too ranging from $9 kids to $24 adults.

It was also great to see a female ref out there as well but of course we still have a long way to go for all women in sport.

When I made my way around the venue again for photos and to talk to staff I checked on the toilets and hand sanitisers and they were all working and clean.

It was a very enjoyable night at the Rebels match in Melbourne and I’d encourage anyone, even die-hard AFL fans to give it a go and take in a Super Rugby match here at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Victory A-League Fan Experience at AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia 12/4/22

On a chilly Melbourne night I hit the ground and ventured out to Melbourne Victory’s mid week Tuesday night A-League match against the Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.

While the game finished in a 0-0 draw, it was still a very entertaining match.

It’s always a nice quick walk or tram ride to the ground here and takes about 15-20 minutes from the top end of the city by foot or about 10-15 minutes on the tram from Flinders Street Station. It is just outside the free tram network so it’s advisable to walk or cycle if you can. There is motorcycle and cycle parking around however while be careful, while walking into the stadium outside concourses, a motorcycle mounted the kerb and nearly crashed into me while trying to park without looking and without any stadium management of these motorcycles. I asked a staffer about this and they said that the bikes just come up and park at will. I had not seen them park like this before so will keep my eyes peeled next time while walking along the outside concourse.

I had a really nice chat with a stadium staffer called Catherine/Katherine outside the ground who was so jovial and had superb customer service skills as she helped fans with information on the match one on one and also over her loudspeaker. I mentioned I was down from Brisbane and she said that they had multiple QR vaccination and check in posters who those who needed them so that sounded like they had prepared well for all events.

The check in and vaccination process was easy and seamless and the staff were also kind, helpful and respectful and it appeared that fans were also being respectful back to them. I checked the hand sanitiser stations around the ground and every one I tried worked and had sanitiser in them as well. The toilets were also spotless and well maintained throughout the night.

Many F&B outlets were closed however since last visiting it did seem that there had been some good improvements with craft beer from 4 Pines (CUB non IBA) and a fish and chip stand that looked like it was offering really decent sized portions of quality items. The usual other items were also on sale with items including hot chips ($6), pie ($5) and hot dogs ($5.50) while beers were priced from $8.20 (light beer 375ml Cascade Light poured into a schooner 425ml) to $9.80 Great Northern and $11.80 for a Balter Captain Sensible (mid strength) or a 4 Pines Pacific Ale (full strength – unsure or if mid version of this SKU). I did the maths and it does appear that it is cheaper to buy mid/full strength beers than it is to buy the light beer by only a few cents and I did think that it was slightly cheeky that the light beer was only 375ml and not a schooner 425ml.

Lines were moving fast and staff were helpful and working fast for fans while there was also a coffee cart selling snacks like hot jam doughnuts. There was a point of difference in the quality of the food servings as well with buttermilk chicken tenders and chicken schnitzel burgers as well as fresh sandwiches on offer all ranging from $9.50- $17.

The entrance into the ground through the gates with my QR code ticket was seamless and I was greeted with a hello and welcome which always gets the night off to a good start. Now with 2-3-4 waves of entry with security screening, wanding, vax and check-in checks plus ticket entry its so important that staff are trained in not only their role but also in offering superb customer service. They are often the first point of contact for game day on the fans journey to the event so a nice welcome goes a long way for fans to get the night off to a positive start.

The concourses were clean and staff were friendly and helpful when I asked questions about the venue on my way around taking in the game day vibes. The Melbourne Victory fans really built up the atmosphere with their songs, chants and enthusiasm and it was a credit to them for the atmosphere and noise they created on the night. The players also made sure to come round to the fans after the 0-0 result to thank them which was good to see.

I thought that the community partnership with the TAC was a good idea and offered fans some fan engagement through a good community message around avoiding drink driving and planning their exit from the game. They had these cards that you could scratch off to win prizes and were giving them out to families plus merchandise to young fans.

The high police presence was very off putting and confronting. I asked Police and stadium reps why the large presence, especially on a Tuesday night during school holidays and while staff were friendly and positive about it being due to previous incidents, VIC Police were rude and came across as unhelpful and agitated, which in terms of first impressions for a fan is really not the best look.

Overall, for a Tuesday night mid week match it was really good to get back to AAMI Park and take in a Victory game. I highly recommend coming down here to check it out.

Brisbane Roar A-League Fan Experience, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe, 3/4/22

On a gorgeous blue sky sunny day in Brisbane I headed out to Redcliffe to take in the Brisbane Roar A-League match versus Newcastle Jets at the boutique and impressive Moreton Daily Stadium.

Driving from Brisbane today as public transport can be tricky with the closest train station to the stadium 2km away, it was very nice to be able to get free parking and walk 50m to the venue gates.

Before the match I went on the Moreton Daily Stadium website to plan my visit and while the website has had a good refresh especially with the hype reel video, it was disappointing to see that the events page had not been updated since February with no mention or information whatsoever on the match today. Some suggestions I have made to the venue include:

  • Security/COVID measures
  • Is there an ASB line/information on what fans can do if needing help
  • Parking options around venue
  • Information on F&B offerings/menu
  • Ride share options? pick up/drop off?
  • Map could be better instead of a small rectangular image that is difficult to navigate
  • FAQ section
  • Seating maps for various events

First impressions were not the best at the gate as they opened at 3pm with the ticketing line being divided into two lines however then diverting back into one. Everyone in the right lane who had signed into the venue and showed their vaccination pass then had to divert back in to the two people scanning tickets rather than those two gate staffers separating into scanning one line of fans each. Security were welcoming and said hello while gate staff also were helpful and while annoying this ticketing process still moved fans in quickly and the line kept moving. There was a map at the start of the venue along with the standard check in’s required by fans however it did not appear that the ticket scanners knew how to work the scanner as we were not scanned in and just allowed to walk in and witnessed other fans doing the same or just walking through without being scanned due to the crowd build up at the gates. Ticket scanners were doing a good job in the sun and these scanners can be tricky to pick up the QR codes so they did a good job to scan people in under the pressure of fans all coming in at the same time.

I said hello to the ticket scanner and they were kind and helpful and wished us a good day which was a positive start on entry to the venue. As I mentioned security here were really positive and I had some good chats to staff as I made my way around the ground. Good communication and positive staff make for a positive visit and from the F&B catering staff to the security you could see that the staff here were very hard working, attentive and offered good customer service skills.

There is so much to like about this venue with some of the cheapest food and beverages in an Australian venue and includes $6 beers, $4.70 chips and $2.50 lolly bags for kids and families which was a nice touch. They even have potato scallops while the meals are of a substantial serving and lines moved quickly from what I observed. The sauce is even free and while a small thing to some people, is the type of little touch that goes a long way especially when some venues charge $1.50 for sauce.

There are no bad views in this venue with each stand affording spectacular views of the field of play. The tall trees that stand behind the Eastern Grandstand just add a gorgeous touch to the charming styling of this boutique venue. Today I was in the Western Grandstand area which for $65 represented outstanding value with a full roast and ice-cream plus cash bar (with $6 beers and $3.50 soft drinks) and amazing views of the field. The best thing about the views in this venue are that you can watch the game from down on the sidelines and be right up close to the corners and nets and when I mean close, I mean close. The players are literally 5 metres away from you or less which just represents such an incredible experience. Accessible seating views are also impressive while on that front there are now lifts in the venue which means access and inclusion is even more at the forefront of what this great venue can provide to fans on event days.

It was great to see both the male and female Brisbane Roar mascots out and about as well as the merch stand in full swing. The Roar did a great job on the fan engagement front with kids games, cross bar challenges and their local community partner on the day doing a fantastic service for fans.

While no doubt that OWHS standards are high here I did witness a couple of incidents that made me question if it could be better. On my walk around the ground I saw a fan taking photographs of the players. As she bent down to lean on the fence she fell through it as this particular gate part was not locked or did not have the pin through it meaning she fell through and this could have been a lot worse for her falling on the LED boards or the pitch. Fans must also watch out for balls flying past the net as you make your way from side to side. I was surprised that there was not safety netting or security guards and signs at ether side of the nets warning fans to be aware of flying balls potentially hitting them pre-game as the players practiced their shots. You’d hate to lose your beer or hot chips here when walking past and I don’t think it’s fair that fans would know to be aware of this as they are pre-occupied on walking through to their seating area as well as the fact that the game has not started so they are not paying close attention to the field.

The way-finding signage is good here after some venue upgrades with clear signage and information displayed however the hand sanitiser stations scattered around the venue were empty which seemed like just one of those small things that was forgotten about from time to time on event days. When entering the Western Grandstand corporate area for our seating we had to get a wristband and as the staffer ripped the piece of paper off to stick the wristband on my arm he let the scrap paper just fly away. I said ‘someone needs to get you a bag for the rubbish’ and he said ‘nah fuck it, its just rubbish’. To some who litter or don’t care about the environment that’s fine but for someone like myself who is conscious of and cares about sustainability this was not good optics, especially in the corporate area with people watching. However, for sustainability it was good to see all the standard recycling bins but also a dedicated can and bottle bin for recycling.

Overall this was a fantastic fan experience with the views, affordable food and beverage and accessibility being the major highlights not to mention the last two goals from Brisbane Roar to seal a stunning 2-0 victory. Every fan should add Moreton Daily Stadium to their game day bucket list as it’s well worth the visit.

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