brisbane

Brisbane Broncos Vs Gold Coast Titans NRL Fan Experience, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland 27/06/20

Here’s a snapshot documenting the fan journey tonight heading back to the Brisbane Broncos game days at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on Saturday night.

10,000 fans were allowed back on the night for the NRL game.

Train to the game. Chelmer station to Milton station. Free transport still on offer for fans here heading the game.

Note the clear communications around ticket conditions for the COVID19 plan on this game day.

The march to the stadium from the station. Not as vocal as usual but grateful and lucky to be back here.

Ticketing. Paper PDFs or mobile ticketing only. Gates open only from 45 minutes before kick off.

F&B. Cashless/card only. Line markings. Social distancing maintained and respected by fans. Speed was fast to be served. Staff friendly and good on them for being back too. They need this for jobs as well.

Seating. Strictly only allowed to use the 2 seats you were able to purchase and must keep 1.5m away from each other. Must remain within the zone allocated on your ticket.

Hand sanitizer stations abundant throughout the venue.

Well done to all of the staff from the Broncos membership team to the venue staff and everyone else in between who put this on for fans with only a few day’s notice. Huge respect for that team work.

Putting Fan Engagement to the Test: Blair Hughes Experiences how Cricket Australia put fans first during the 2019 Sri Lanka Cricket Test at the Gabba Brisbane’

Across the globe the sports business continues to face many challenges to get bums back into stadium seats both as a result of the competition from the at-home TV experience and new leisure activities combined with the fact that audiences have evolved and are seeking more bang for their buck on game days.

To combat this, teams and venues are constantly creating innovative fan engagement solutions that are seeing positive outcomes for all stakeholders. Whether it be technological advancements such as Manchester City’s augmented reality game day program, the proliferation of craft beer amongst venues concession offerings or Celtic FC initiating the inclusive approach of providing female fans with free sanitary products at Celtic Park, the in-venue fan experience globally continues to be rapidly transformed and enhanced for supporters on match day.

One example of a sporting organization who are reaping the rewards of following a fan first approach is Cricket Australia whose events have consistently demonstrated best practice fan engagement which has afforded cricket fans with exceptional experiences that go above and beyond, particularly with regards to unique money can’t buy activations. This fan experience review of the recent first test match from Brisbane will therefore provide an insight into Cricket Australia’s approach to fan engagement and explore the lessons that other sporting organisations and venues can learn to ensure that all patrons have a positive game day fan experience.

Transport

Starting and ending the fan journey seamlessly is integral to a positive fan experience and it’s something that Cricket Australia and Stadiums Queensland, through The Gabba, do very well as all fans are entitled to free public transport to and from the ground on Cricket Australia match days. Taking advantage of this I boarded a Council bus at 11am from the suburban outskirts of Brisbane that took me all the way up to the front gates of the famous cricket ground in turn saving $5.80 on transport costs. As a result of this integrated transport ticket offer, fans were able to enjoy a clean, air-conditioned and fast ride to and from the ground with ease while also saving some money which is always a quality way to start any match day.

Event Presentation

Arriving at the Gabba 90 minutes before the first ball on what was a typically hot and humid Brisbane summer’s day it was instantly impressive to see the fan zone set up complete with it’s pumping atmosphere and colourful event presentation that featured Cricket Australia branded test match banners that were adorning the Gabba gates.

Security

Security personnel are often the first match day event staff that fans interact with when entering the venue so it is vital that a positive interaction sets the tone for a fan having an enjoyable experience and this was evident at The Gabba on this occasion. In this heightened security climate it was good to see that the event was well aware of not making this feel like a ‘security event’ as fans were greeted with a friendly smile, welcome and hello from security staff who were present at the gates wanding down patrons and checking fans bags before entry.

Technology

On the technology front both Cricket Australia’s ‘Matchday’ app and Stadiums Queensland’s ‘MegaFan’ app provided fans coming to the game with all the information they needed with handy fan experience features including venue maps, live transport timetables and seating views to video replays of key moments and score updates from the game all of which helped to ensure a positive experience for every fan.

Fan Engagement

Cricket Australia places a large emphasis on fan engagement with regular quirky trivia questions on the big screens as well as a sideline-seating feature, which sees a roving group of lucky fans selected to sit in their own exclusive section on the field behind the boundary ropes. The addition of the roving face painting ‘Colour Crew’ was also a clever feature of the game day fan engagement offering that enabled them to move around the ground and paint the faces of Australian and Sri Lankan fans throughout the day.

The centerpiece of the fan engagement offering here however is the impressively presented “Cricket Australia Pool Deck” which represents a unique fan experience in terms of the atmosphere and excitement that it generates for fans.

Designed in conjunction with sports agency TLA Worldwide, the “Pool Deck” activation allows close to 500 fans over the course of the day to cool off in the pool and sees fans first sign a safety waiver at the registration desk where they are presented with a free tropical towel to use as well as a wristband before they enter the pool’s sparkling water to cool off and enjoy an unrivalled view to take in the action on the field.

TLA’s senior account manager Cameron McFarlane noted that “Cricket Australia’s plan with the pool was to appeal to new and existing fans, giving them another reason to attend matches at the Gabba, creating an exceptional experience that would reward the existing fan base as well as creating memorable experiences for new audiences at the cricket. The tiered seating and shaded lounge chairs result in the best seats in the house, aligning with Cricket Australia’s strategy to facilitate social interaction for fans to enjoy throughout their day at the cricket in an accessible environment.”

The little touches were also evident everywhere in the “Pool Deck” with exquisite event presentation and fan experience features including abundant shaded areas and tables, deckchairs, tropical plants and colourful cushions, sunscreen, phone charging and most importantly the incredible views from the deck which are quite simply right up there as the best spot to watch a game from in at any Australian stadium.

Community

As a result of a devastating dought affecting many parts of the country especially in Queensland it was inspiring to see the focus that Cricket Australia put on raising awareness and vital funds for drought stricken farmers especially as the annual Brisbane test match attracts so many people from the bush. The rural focus included volunteers collecting donations for Rural Aid, a mechanical bull ride for kids of all ages to have a ride on as well as a live site that featured a giant TV screen and numerous hay bales for fans to sit on all of which made for a pleasant family friendly feel outside the ground. Even more impressive to hear after the test match was that Cricket Australia repurposed 25,000L of water from the pool to a Queensland dairy farm that had been affected by severe drought.

Hospitality

Cricket Australia’s test match hospitality offering at the Gabba leaves other sporting codes in its wake with a variety of options available to entertain fans at the match. An example of this is ‘The Century Lounge’ fan experience in the Gabba’s Legends Room which was an exceptional experience not least for its delectable culinary offering but also because of the creative and useful gifts that each attendee received. In a sporting world where sponsor’s fan engagement activations are often cheap and useless items that are given away to fans it was impressive to see that the focus on quality and creativity with fans here receiving wood framed sunglasses, a test match wool kit stubby cooler as well as a Cricket Australia branded USB phone battery charger all of which were both memorable and bound to be reused again and again by these cricket fans.

Food and Beverage

While the Gabba faces increasing pressure from fans to upgrade its facilities to rival other Australian venues, it was positive to see the new additions and diverse range of gourmet food and beverages which were on sale some of which included an Asian food cart selling dim sims and pork buns as well as the new Gourmet Grill that offered vegetarian curries, pork belly burgers and loaded fries. Chilled slushies and fruit smoothies kept fans cool while the ‘Parma for a Farmer’ chicken parmigiana meal deal was a creative and effective community minded approach to raise funds for Queensland’s drought affected farmers.

The Extra Touches

With sunscreen often being expensive, forgotten to be brought in to the stadium or even applied by fans in the first place it was good to see that both Cricket Australia and the Gabba are always putting its fans first as free sunscreen stations were scattered throughout the ground to ensure that fans were protected from the sun’s harsh over a long hot day one at this test match.

Cricket Australia’s test match experience at The Gabba highlights an exceptional example of best practice fan experience that delivers consistency, value and quality in every facet not least as a result of it’s creative fan engagement activations, community initiatives, hospitality options, addition of smart extra touches as well as simply providing fans with the key information that they need to have a positive experience at the venue on match days.

BIO

Blair Hughes is an award winning, globally respected fan engagement specialist who helps clients in the sports, music and craft beer industries grow their fan bases, improve fan experiences and create new business and revenue opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrBlairHughes or at www.MrBlairHughes.com

Brisbane Lions and The Gabba’s ‘The Verandah’ Fan Experience

Across the globe major venues and sporting teams are constantly working on enhancing the fan experience for sports fans to deliver them extra bang for their hard-earned buck on game day. Whether it be from gourmet food options at MetLife Stadium, sensory rooms at Watford FC’s Vicarage Road or Celtic Park providing free sanitary products for female fans, the fan experience is an integral part of major events that these stakeholders are focussing more deeply on improving.

It’s an arms race between venues as areas like food and beverage, technology, fan engagement and amenities improve in an effort to better service fans at the venue, increase revenue through unique new opportunities and overall make fans feel more valued. One particular area of the fan experience that has seen a large focus in recent times has been the addition of social seating spaces that provide fans with incredible views, gourmet food and drink options and unique experiences with examples ranging from Yankee Stadium’s ‘Judge’s Chambers’, The SCG beach, TIAA Bank Field’s cabana pool and The MCG’s ‘The Lawn’. A recent addition to this list is also the Brisbane Lions’ outstanding ‘The Verandah presented by Hyundai’ exclusive space which is back for it’s second year at The Gabba.

I took in the Lions match against West Coast Eagles and ‘The Verandah’ experience on Saturday night and was very impressed with this authentically Queensland space that is offering fans a unique new way to watch a Lions game in an unrivalled position on a purpose built veranda at the base of the eastern end of the ground’s goal posts.

First impressions are extremely vital however the well-presented area exceeded my expectations and was alive with tropical Queensland vibes and colour as soon as I entered. The addition of comfy bean bags, sun lounges and chairs all enabled fans to grab a front row spot with superior views of the action as the Lions ran away with the match in the opening round.

The atmosphere in The Verandah was pumping throughout the night as people protected their cups of ice-cold beverages when the goals continued to rain in from the Lions. It’s a very relaxed vibe too so while it attracts the Instagram crowd of people who want to be seen, jerseys are also encouraged, as are shorts, as it was a particularly humid night in Brisbane so this is certainly an inclusive space where every fan is made to feel welcome.

A distinctively styled open air space like this is another example of how to both attract new fans to a Lions game at the Gabba as well as delight and entertain existing Lions in a fun social space with the best seats in the house. This is truly a fan experience that is worth taking in at a Lions game and represents exceptional value for money for fans, as it’s only $70 per ticket or $40 for a member upgrade.

At the end of the day a happy fan is a fan who has had a seamless and enjoyable fan journey and feels valued by stakeholders for attending the match day, therefore venues and teams are consistently applying positive and exciting new approaches that puts the fan and the fan experience front and centre. The Lions and the Gabba have created a fun, entertaining and colourful space here to attract new fans which other venues and teams should take a closer look at in an effort to attract new audiences and delight existing fans.

Blair Hughes is an award winning, globally respected fan engagement specialist who helps clients in the sports, music and craft beer industries grow their fan bases, improve fan experiences and create new business and revenue opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrBlairHughes or at www.MrBlairHughes.com.

Future Stadiums: How Technology Is Revolutionizing The In-Stadium Fan Experience

Here’s a recent article I wrote for Australasian Leisure Management Magazine 

In a stadium near you right now the battle for the fan is on in the sports world to improve and enhance the fan experience. With stadiums across the globe racing each other to become the most technologically advanced theatre for live sports, an arms race is on to get fans out from their home sports caves and back into the stadium. From bio-metric finger print security screening, AI ticketing and vibrating seats to rest room app’s, virtual reality streaming and in-seat food ordering, global stadiums are continuing to innovate through technology in an effort to create exciting and immersive experiences off the field for fans to drive revenue and create long lasting memories and added value for sports fans.

Through looking at the recent global developments in stadium innovations into the fan experience, the following journey through the stadium of the future will look at and highlight the key stadium innovations that are revolutionizing the revenue options for stadiums and enhancing the fan experience for sports fans around the world.

Ticketing

With the stadium fan experience starting long before the actual event takes place, ticketing is often the first point of call for fans with the innovations taking place in this area being heavily influenced by mobile technology. While resale ticketing firm StubHub and Washington’s National’s Park Stadium allows fans to don a virtual reality headset to check out the view of their seats before buying them, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium features ‘loaded tickets’ where fans can pre-load money onto their tickets which can then be used for food, drink and merchandise. Elsewhere the Dallas Mavericks listened to their fans and launched a new app that features the ability to view a 360º angle of the seats as well as purchase tickets seamlessly via the app while ticketing platform ReplyBuy is brining artificial intelligence to the fan ticket buying experience by allowing fans the opportunity to purchase tickets by sending a ‘buy’ test message to the service and having chatbots respond with questions asking how many tickets the fan is after.

Transportation

A constant gripe amongst sports fans has been the costs and hassle associated with getting to and from the stadium on game day be that from traffic congestion to parking, however now some stadiums are using creative inducements to inspire fans to more easily get out to the venue. At Florida’s Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins have partnered with Uber to create a hassle free tailgate experience with a dedicated pick up and drop off point and the ability to book a ride to the game and have a private tailgate section complete with game day supplies. Across to the west coast and the 49ers are working with Amazon’s PrimeNow service to offer fans the fast delivery of game day tailgate items like hot dog buns, and ice which are then shipped to the fans in the Levi’s Stadium tailgate for only $8.

Uber Tailgate

Uber Tailgate

Uber Tailgate

Uber Tailgate

Uber Tailgate

Uber Tailgate

Security

As a result of Daesh having stated their intention to target global stadiums as well as the recent bomb explosions at France’s Stade de France and a Baghdad soccer stadium it is clear that there is a growing terrorism challenge for major sporting events and stadiums. However while teams and venues are always looking for cutting-edge technology to enhance safety they also have to ensure an exceptional first class fan experience. With this in mind the Colorado Rockies Coors Field has deployed CLEAR fast access technology that enables fans to gain faster access to the stadium by having their finger scanned by a biometric fingerprint reader at designated entry lanes. With stadiums like AT&T Stadium in Dallas and Yankee Stadium in New York doing away with PDF tickets, mobile technology is also increasing stadium security and eliminating fraud as tickets are now increasingly being linked to the identity and mobile device of the person entering the stadium which means security agencies can cross check watch lists and see who is coming into the stadium.

Seating

Having made your way inside the stadium, the next step is to find your seat and while some stadiums have incorporated cushioned seats and cup holders the new Atlanta Falcons Mercedes Benz Stadium has stepped it up a notch with vibrating seats that enable fans to feel the impacts of each big hit. Not to be outdone the Jacksonville Jaguars Everbank Field have swimming pools overlooking the field but which come at a cost of 12K per game whereas Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium recently installed ‘smart seats’ which feature pop up HD TV’s into some of their seating. It’s clear that stadiums are looking to offer more and more of these unique seating and viewing options as a way of enticing fans into the ground as well as generating revenue from new premium seating solutions.

Way-Finding

Finding your way around both the outside and inside concourses of the stadium is also an area that stadiums are revolutionizing with tournaments like Wimbledon developing an app that enables fans to plan their visit which enhances the individual fan experience while Canada’s New Mosaic Stadium has developed an interactive map to help fans get around the venue. Perth’s nib Stadium has also undergone a make over which has provided a distinctive visual environment for fan circulation that has included electronic touch screen maps of the venue’s concession stands and toilets.

Lighting

A major upgrade that stadiums such as Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans and Globe Life Park in Texas are undertaking has been to install sophisticated energy saving LED lighting systems that can instantly be turned on and off as well as create a vibrant fan experience that enhances visibility around the venue for players, fans and broadcasters while also improving the entertainment offering.

Architecture

Ensuring that the fan experience is a comfortable one, stadium architecture design is an exciting area in the sports business with venues now having interesting design aspects like cross-laminated timber and undulating fiberglass roofing that amplifies the noise for fans at Olympique Lyonnais to size convertible structures like West Ham’s take over of the Olympic Stadium. The brand new US Bank Stadium in Minnesota installed giant pivoting glass doors and used a special plastic called ETFE that opens the field to natural light while providing protection from the snow, rain and winter weather.

Food and Drink

Grabbing some stadium grub on game day has not often been a pleasant experience with food and drink options being limited in terms of variety, quality and quantity. However many stadiums are now hearing fans concerns by offering creative and delicious dishes which are giving fans more reason to attend. Multiple stadiums like Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium and Melbourne’s MCG have lowered food prices to remove the back pocket sting from a day out while Levi’s Stadium in California has an app that allows in-seat ordering so fans never have to leave their seat to grab a bite to eat. I road tested this in 2015 and from app download to hot dog delivery the total time was only 16 minutes. On the beverage front, New Zealand’s Westpac Stadium has recently partnered with a local independent Wellington brewer to have craft beer on tap during A-League matches while the Minnesota Twins Target Park offers self serve beer machines and Dodger Stadium has a frozen beer foam that sits on top of beer cups keeping fans beers colder for longer.

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In Seat Ordering at Levis Stadium

In Seat Ordering at Levis Stadium

Rest Rooms

Highlighting the fact that no area is off limits for stadium innovation, rest rooms throughout venues are now being upgraded to enhance the amenity experience for fans as well as provide sponsors with a new way to drive brand awareness. In California, the Levis Stadium app features a function that allows fans to see which toilets have the shortest queues while sensing an opportunity to improve the rest room experience, the Tailgating Sports Marketing Group have deployed toilet trailers that feature HD monitors that include interactive gaming and sponsored content.

Toilet app at Levis Stadium

Toilet app at Levis Stadium

Audio-Visual

Venues are increasingly updating their audio-visual infrastructure by incorporating cutting edge technology into their screens and sound systems as a way of improving the fan experience for the senses. New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium has installed huge programming boards that act as a delivery service for fans with information on fantasy sports and fan tweets while Mercedes Benz Stadium has added 2000 video display screens and a 360° 63,000ft HD halo video board in a new partnership with Daktronics. In the UK, Norwich City have revolutionized screen technology by becoming the first team in English football to install a 360° revolving LED stadium screen that switches between portrait and landscape while for Perth’s new stadium plans are to have 240sqm mega screens installed at both ends of the ground.

MetLife Stadium

MetLife Stadium

VR-AR

Racing each other to be the most technologically advanced stadium in the world through the use of virtual and augmented reality, stadiums are looking to offer new unique viewing experiences to bring fans in closer to the action and change how they consume content. The NBA’s Warriors recently broadcast the first live streamed game in VR that incorporated 360° cameras being installed around Oracle Arena with fans wearing VR headsets to see a new perspective of the game. Manchester’s Etihad Stadium in conjunction with Melbourne’s AAMI Park and New York’s Yankee Stadium also enabled fans to trial viewing a Manchester City match in VR in an effort to promote more fan involvement. Elsewhere there are rumours that the new City of Champions stadium in Los Angeles will feature on field projections using VR.

VR at Australian Open 2016

VR at Australian Open 2016

Connectivity

Enabling fans to have seamless in stadium connectivity to fast and free high density Wi-Fi has become the norm amongst leading stadiums who have understood the importance of ensuring fans have no impediment to mobile access. Venues such as US Bank Stadium have 1300 Wi-Fi hot spots while Levis Stadium features over 600KM of Wi-Fi cabling and one access point to every 100 seats in the bowl. Throughout Australia many of the leading stadiums now feature free Wi-Fi which have enabled fans to enjoy a better fan experience through interacting with team and stadium content, uploading pictures as well as receiving targeted ads for food, beverage and merchandise offers.

The stadium of the future has arrived and fans should be excited. While global stadiums show no signs of slowing down as they continue to innovate and revolutionize with smart technologies, it is evident from these ten areas that the stadium fan experience is being improved in every single aspect to ensure that fans are put first and provided with more reasons to attend.

 

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My Kind Of Scene: The Brisbane Sounds Project 10 Years On

Brisbane Sounds Logo 2010 (Moonshine Madness)

Brisbane Sounds Logo 2010 (Moonshine Madness)

Launching Brisbane Sounds 2008

Launching Brisbane Sounds 2008

 

September 9 2006: Brisbane Sounds is born at approximately 2am on the back steps of the Zoo Nightclub after an Iron On gig. With a scrapbook in one hand and a cold Cooper’s Green in the other and the smell of rock and roll (a delightful mix of vom, sweat, sugar soap and beer) in the air after the clean up I took the first steps in putting together a project that was designed to promote Brisbane’s exceptional music talent.

I became a fan of the Brisbane music scene in the late 90’s as a teenager hooked on Aussie alternative music of the time thanks to Brissy bands like the Gurge, Custard, Powdies, Gota Cola, Rhubarb, Screamfeeder, Butterfingers and well the list goes on. I always had such a great time hanging out with mates supporting local bands at The Zoo, The Arena, The Step Inn, X and Y Bar, The Troubadour and The Tivoli while grabbing local bands merch and records at Skinny’s, The Record Exchange and Rockinghorse. In my opinion Brisbane music and the history of where it came from was something to be commended and promoted and I was always looking at ways in which I could do that and get people from home and far away places in to our music history.

10 years ago to the day and I was finalising an education degree and getting set to take up my first teaching post in Mildenhall, England which was due to start in December. Having also wanted to do something to promote the Brisbane music scene while living in the UK, I decided I’d make a compilation album and give copies out to local radio stations, PR agencies, A&R reps, venues and anyone who would listen to me talk about Brisbane bands throughout my travels. I owe a lot at this point to the crew I was working with at The Zoo Nightclub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley who offered up a lot of ideas and support to make Brisbane Sounds happen. From Joccy, Jase and Vicki to Bridget, Roger and Chris and Matty and Will- you guys were all such legends and I was extremely lucky to have learnt many skills and life experiences from you.

The Zoo Nightclub Crew 2007

The Zoo Nightclub Crew 2007

The first edition of the Brisbane Sounds record titled ‘Brisbane Sounds 2007‘ was made out of supplies courtesy of in-kind support from one of my jobs at the time in the department store Target in Buranda, Brisbane, a budget of about $100 and a six pack of our go to post Zoo shift beer (Cooper’s) for ideas generation. The CD lacked any real design unless you can call the word doc printer ink DIY job I did a design and was pressed completely unprofessionally without any mastering or any real idea of what I was doing. I literally had no skills in anything to do with production, marketing, PR, social, design but I did have a vision. I had my heart in the right place and was just trying to do something positive to promote Brisbane music from back home which I was so proud of.

Brisbane Sounds 2007

Brisbane Sounds 2007

While hardly a professional start, the first edition of the album and the subsequent learnings that took place as I networked with music industry reps in artist management, PR, marketing, social media and venue operations across the UK, Europe, USA and Australia paved the way for improving Brisbane Sounds year after year as well as developing my skills in these areas in what was always a very kinaesthetic and practical way.

Promoting Brisbane Sounds in Amsterdam, 2007

Promoting Brisbane Sounds in Amsterdam, 2007

Brisbane Sounds lasted a solid six years and produced some really beneficial outcomes for the Brisbane music industry locally and globally for which I’ll always be proud of. On a personal level it was also one of the greatest things I ever did to invest in myself and learn as much as I could about the music business and also about fan engagement, marketing, social media which has helped me get to where I am now in my current role. While tertitary educational music business courses (and any study for that matter) are worthwhile, nothing will ever compare to investing your own money, taking calculated risks, getting your hands dirty and throwing yourself passionately into a project you love in order to make a difference. I found it so important to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and come back stronger with my skills every time and I’d often go on to talk to my students about this and why resiliency is so important in our lives. That is the power of life long learning and in more simple terms, getting off you’re arse and making awesome shit happen.

Over the years I was privileged enough to have a chance to work in the industry at venues in Brisbane and London (Hammersmith Apollo), promoting gigs and putting together and executing the BS vision which was always to shine a light on our local music industry.I worked my butt off for those years traveling the globe on my teacher salary and some grant funding and doing whatever I could to be a spokesperson and advocate for the Brisbane scene. I owe plenty of thanks to everyone who helped me along the way from street press, radio, record stores and graphic designers to photographers, website designers, venue managers, bands and artists and of course our fans all over the world who helped our team. I must have worked with hundreds of different individuals over the years so it goes to show how large the arts scene is and why its important for our local and federal governments to continue to support it.

Without throwing myself into Brisbane Sounds I wouldn’t have been able to work at QPRFC or now have a dream gig at audioBoom where I get to talk about fan engagement all day long (to the chagrin of many I bet). But alas I love everything to do with fan engagement with looking after and going the extra mile for people, customers and fans and always will.

Here are some stats to recap on the Brisbane Sounds project:

  • Showcased 100+ artists on the five compilation albums and associated gigs.
  • 100+ events from nightclub gigs, school showcases, music industry workshops and of course our Pop-Up shop.
  • 13,100 FREE Compilation albums produced and distributed worldwide.
  • Received 21,000 in grant funding. Thank you BCC, Brisbane Marketing, QMusic and QLD Government as well as any one who bought a copy or came to the gigs which all helped with running costs
  • Developed the first ever Australian gig guide app, BRISSOUNDS in 2010 (Thanks DevGeeks)
  • UK/USA/Europe showcases along with a 15 date tour for SEALS in 2011.
  • Close to 20K fans across various social media platforms
  • 27 music industry job starts given to young music business/arts students or kids trying to get a start in the industry.

Along with this some of my favourite memories were:

  • Flood Bank. Raising $15,000 for QLD flood victims in 2011 and Violent Soho smashing out a great set at the end.
  • Having fans download our app in far off places like Russia and Afghanistan.
  • Getting to learn from leaders in venue management in Joc at The Zoo and Heiko at The Hammersmith Apollo in London.
  • Booking and touring a band around the UK for a 15 date tour
  • Getting Brisbane Sounds records into Amobea Records LA and Rough Trade Records in London. There’s possibly still stock there too.
  • Talking Brisbane music with Spencer Howson on a weekly ABC Brisbane radio spot to showcase the latest in local music news.
  • Attending major music showcases and festivals like SXSW, Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape and BigSound.
  • Getting copies of the albums into the hands of major artists like Tegan and Sara and B.R.M.C to The Kills and Emmy Lou Harris who then helped to promote BS.

I certainly had my battles with the blatant bullshit nepotism of the music industry along the way and I might not have always been the easiest to work with (I hear my graphic designers agreeing here) as I wanted to always stay out of cliques and do things professionally by the book because I wanted to help everyone I could and never play favourites to uphold the professional integrity of the project. Brisbane Sounds was always about promoting the artists, the venues, the arts scene workers and the fans but I do apologise If I ever pissed anyone off along the way as I put that down to being young and thinking I knew it all. I didn’t know it all but you learn from that with age and life experience.

Thank you to everyone who shared my passion and enthusiasm for Brisbane music and helped along the way. It truly was a collaborative team effort from so many in the Brissy music community and you all deserve praise for helping along the way. I never could have started or continued to improve the project had it not been for all of your skills and it’s been great to watch so many of you continue to support the Brisbane music industry in your careers as well as go on to bigger and better things.

Brisbane Sounds was a very professional project that delivered a lot of successful outcomes for the Brisbane music scene for which I’ll always be immensely proud of and this week I finally got around to sorting out the framing of the five compilation albums as well as some of the gig posters. Whenever I look at it, I’ll think of you and what we achieved, thanks.

All the best,

Blair Hughes

9th September 2016

Club by Club: 2016 NRL Fan Engagement and Fan Experience Activations

The 2016 National Rugby League season gets underway this week and fans across Australia and New Zealand are gearing up for what will be another exciting season of rugby league action on the field.

Conversely, there is plenty going on off the field as the teams all look to find new and creative ways to engage with their members both in the stadium and online.

I have put together a quick list of what each of the NRL clubs are doing to improve the fan experience in 2016 and it’s safe to say that there’s plenty of exciting fan engagement activations taking place at whichever club you support.

Have you seen something else that your club is doing to improve the match day and digital fan experience? Hit me up and I’ll add it to the list.

NRL

The NRL Bunker is a new addition to the match day coverage that is the most state-of-the-art video referral technology in Australian sport and is set to revolutionise the game’s decision review system and provide a better viewing experience for fans.

NRL Bunker

NRL Bunker

NRL Bunker

NRL Bunker

NRL Fantasy offers fans:

  • Over $350,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs
  • Winner claims $15,000 and the official NRL Fantasy Champions ring.
  • Enjoy match day Thursday’s and new interactive polling page
NRL Fantasy Ring

NRL Fantasy Ring

Brisbane Broncos

The Bronc’s had one of Brisbane’s City Cat’s decorated in their colours.

Broncos

Broncos

The free Broncos app features:

– An iOS design theme & layout optimised for the latest iPhone & iPad devices.
– Push Notifications to keep you updated with breaking news, score alerts & match info.

As well as News – Videos – Photo Galleries – Season Draw By Month / By Round (upload every Broncos game to your device calendar) – NRL & NYC Ladders – Team & Player Stats – Broncos Twitter (team & player accounts) – Match Tickets – Broncos Website – Broncos Membership – Broncos Superstore – Community – NRL Fantasy – NRL Tipping.

Broncos App

Broncos App

Broncos App

Canterbury Bulldogs

‘The Breed’ is the new match day activation from the Bulldogs with the club revealing each of these players through fan’s Instagram accounts.
The fans favourite Bulldogs players have been turned into Superheroes, showcasing their unique skills and reflecting their strong personalities and traits. More here The Breed

Cb35JkgUsAASR_e Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.34.37 am Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.34.09 am

Canterbury fans can also pick up free posters.

Bulldogs

Bulldogs

The  Dogs of Rewards loyalty program is worth a look to see how the club rewards fans.

The dogs have the ’18th Jersey Honour Roll’ which is a giant 18 jersey that will be displayed at the northern end of all Bulldogs home games at ANZ Stadium as a permanent reminder to every one of the contribution of Bulldogs fans.

Bulldogs 18 Jersey Honour Roll

Bulldogs 18 Jersey Honour Roll

The updated Bulldogs App features:

– Match highlights
– Picture galleries from every game
– Latest news, table and fixtures
– Push notifications for breaking news and live score updates
– Player profiles

Bulldogs App

Bulldogs App

Canberra Raiders

The raiders have run a comp for fans to design the team jersey.

Canberra Raiders

Canberra Raiders

Canberra Raiders Jersey Design Comp

Canberra Raiders Jersey Design Comp

Raiders members can also get their names on the banner that the team runs through each game.

Canberra Raiders

Canberra Raiders

The Raiders app features:

  • Access to the latest Raiders news, videos and photo galleries
  • 2015 Telstra Premiership draw and fixtures presented in a round or calendar format
  • Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and NYC
  • Full squad list with player profiles
  • Push notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates
  • Access to all Raiders related sites, including membership and ticketing
Raiders App

Raiders App

Fans can follow the Raiders on SnapChat too.

Raiders on SnapChat

Raiders on SnapChat

North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys have held a community day for fans.

NQ Cowboys

NQ Cowboys

The Cowboys have ‘Full Time: Field Time’ at the end of every home game where fans can play on the field. Full Time Field Time

The free NQ Cowboys App features:

  • A brand new design and layout optimised for all Android Smartphone (2.3+) and Tablet (4.1+) devices
  • Access to the latest team news, videos and photo galleries
  • Telstra Premiership draw and fixtures presented in a round or calendar format
  • Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and NYC
  • Full squad list with player profiles
  • Push notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates
  • Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts
  • Access to all team-related sites, including membership, Cowboys Team Shop and ticketing

Melbourne Storm

The Storm have launched their 2016 Lightning Rewards program which is the best Australian sports fan rewards program. More info here Lightning Rewards

Lightning Rewards

Lightning Rewards

Storm 'Lightning Rewards'

Storm ‘Lightning Rewards’

Melbourne Storm 'Lightning Rewards'

Melbourne Storm ‘Lightning Rewards’

As part of Lightning Rewards, users will accrue points during the season for completing actions online, as well as earning points on game day at AAMI Park. As you build up your points balance, you will hit new reward levels.  At each level, a new reward will be made available to you.  The higher the level, the better the reward!

Lightning Rewards is a loyalty program designed to reward all of our loyal members. In 2016 the Storm have some great new additions, including following your favourite players live in-game stats to help you earn points!

The Storm offer training tips for fans here: Storm Training Tips

The new look Storm app and their SnapChat account are also worth a look. Storm SnapChat and Storm App

Storm App

Storm App

Storm SnapChat

Storm SnapChat

Melbourne also called on members to be apart of their biggest ever TV commercial.

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

The Storm have also held a member’s day as have many of the other NRL clubs.

Storm Family Day

Storm Family Day

New Zealand Warriors

Warriors fans had a chance to feature in the team photo.

NZ Warriors

NZ Warriors

Memories of the Vodafone Warriors’ stellar 2002 season have been evoked with the release of the club’s heritage strip for the 2016 NRL season produced by club sponsor Canterbury of New Zealand.

NZ Warriors

NZ Warriors

South Sydney Rabbitohs 

Souths held a mystery player signing session which is a bit of a clever idea to draw the fans/members out.

Souths

Souths

Souths fans can win an exciting fan experience by having the opportunity to hang out in the player’s enclosure during matches in 2016.

Souths

Souths

Souths have a ’Ticket Frenzy’ offer for fans to win free tickets.

Souths

Souths

The SS junior fan zone is a digital site for young fans that features memory and colouring in games. Check it out here: Souths Junior Fan Zone

Souths

Souths

Parramatta Eels

Parra let fans change up their Facebook profile pics by adding a blue and yellow over their pic.

Parramatta Eels

Parramatta Eels

The Eels are offering fans deals for special days like Valentines Day and after match wins.

Eels

Eels

Parramatta have held a Blue and Gold Army Festival fan day where free posters were also given out to fans. More info on the Blue and Gold army can be found here Blue and Gold Army

Parramatta

Parramatta

Eels

Eels

Eels fans can nab $5 match day parking for all home games.

Parra parking

Parra parking

The Eels have flag raisers as well for each home game.

Eels Flag Bearers

Eels Flag Bearers

Young fans have the opportunity to be a junior Eels reporter as well. Junior Eels Reporter

Eels Junior Reporter

Eels Junior Reporter

The team also have a playlist for each home game as voted on by the fans. This was the 2015 playlist:

Parramatta Eels Playlist

Parramatta Eels Playlist

Parra held a ‘Member’s Only’ opportunity to have member’s pictures taken with the Auckland Nines trophy.

Parra

Parra

The Eels are also calling on fans to wear and share their Blue and Gold colours on social media and get behind #BGFridays where fans can win passes to matches and other prizes.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.38.32 am

The Sparky’s Brigade allows young fans to participate in digital activities as seen here: Eels Junior Fan’s Site

Parramatta Eels

Parramatta Eels

The free Eels app features include:

– A brand new design theme and layout optimised for the iPhone 5 and iPad devices ;
– Access to the latest team News, Videos and Photo Galleries;
– 2015 Telstra Premiership Draw and Fixtures presented in a round or calendar format;
– Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup;
– Full squad list with Player Profiles;
– Push Notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates;
– Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts; and
– Access to all team related sites, including Membership, Merchandise Store, Ticketing, Events Calendar and many more!

Parramatta App

Parramatta App

Sydney Roosters

Easts fans can win their place in the team photo.

Roosters

Roosters

The Roosters app offers:

– A brand new design theme and layout optimised for the iPhone 6 and iPad devices ;
– Access to the latest team News, Videos and Photo Galleries;
– 2016 Telstra Premiership Draw and Fixtures presented in a round or calendar format;
– Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup;
– Full squad list with Player Profiles;
– Push Notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates;
– Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts; and
– Access to all team related sites, including Membership, Merchandise Store, Ticketing, Events Calendar and many more!

Roosters App

Roosters App

The Roosters loyalty program recognises the importance of our Members and how valued your commitment is to the club.
Read more at Roosters Loyalty Program

The Roosters have held open training sessions for fans and have pushed out information for fans on how to sync their calendars to when games are on with a fixture list.

Roosters

Roosters

Roosters Open Training Session

Roosters Open Training Session

Roosters

Roosters

Fans can learn how to make healthy recipes as part of the Raw-C program seen here Roosters Healthy Eating Recipes

Roosters

Roosters

Roosters free legal advice for fans from club sponsor

Roosters Legal Advice

Roosters Legal Advice

Wests Tigers

The Tigers held a free trial game for fans.

Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers

The Tigers have free wallpapers for fans to download as well here Wests Tigers free wallpapers

The Tigers app offers fans all the news, videos, photo galleries, draw and results, ladders, statistics, match day information, tickets, online shopping and much more. Wests Tigers App

Wests Tigers are also having themed games throughout the 2016 season. More info here Wests Tigers to adopt themes for all home games in 2016 in bid to boost engagement with fans

Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers

St George Illawarra Dragons

Dragons fans can bid on player worn gear as well as partake in social media chats with players.

Dragons Bids

Dragons Bids

Dragons Bids

Dragons Bids

SGI members can also have their name featured on the member’s wall.

Dragons

Dragons

The free Dragons app offers live stats and more like:

  • Latest Dragons and NRL News
  • Dragons TV – interviews and entertainment
  • Daily News Wire – media, gossip and opinion
  • Draws, Results and Ladder for NRL and NYC
  • Player profiles and statistics
  • Up to the minute Push Notifications
  • Press conferences and match highlights
  • Dragons Twitter feed
  • Ticketing and Merchandise
  • Free updates

Dragons App

Dragons App

Dragons App

Dragons fans can experience an away day with the team as well.

Dragons

Dragons

Fans can sync fixtures to their calendars here Dragons Calendars

Members can also enjoy special benefits like these Red V membership incentives Dragons RED V Incentives

Gold Coast Titans

The Titans held a base camp fan experience at CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast where members were able to sleep over at the stadium. More here: Titans Camp Out

GC Titans

GC Titans

Titans fans can help the team out on match days by being apart of the Titans crew.

Titans

Titans

Newcastle Knights

The Knights have held a community fan day where fans were able to get their pics with the team in this custom image.

Knights

Knights

The Knights fun quizzes for fans on social media too.

Knights Quizzes NRL

Knights Quizzes NRL

Cronulla Sharks

One of the more exciting fan engagement features from an NRL team this year has been the announcement from Cronulla about their #SharkPark3D virtual reality experience which enables fans to use a GoogleCard viewer or other Virtual Reality (VR) device, put their phone in the cardboard slot and then experience #SharkPark3D virtual reality! More here on Shark Park 3D

Cronulla #SharkPark3D

Cronulla #SharkPark3D

The Sharkies have launched ‘Sharks Rewards’ with fans able to earn rewards for supporting the club. More here: Sharks Rewards

Sharks Rewards

Sharks Rewards

The live streaming of trial games has been a highlight for fans with other clubs also doing this recently.

Sharks

Sharks

The new Sharks app is worth a look too. Sharks App

Sharks App

Sharks App

Free downloadable match day programs are also on offer for fans.

Sharks Digital Match Day Programs

Sharks Digital Match Day Programs

Penrith Panthers

The Panthers have held various player appearances around Penrith.

Penrith

Penrith

The Panther’s have a good deal for fans with a 6 game pass and a jersey for $199.

Panthers Jersey and Ticket deal

Panthers Jersey and Ticket deal

The Panther’s Oak Super Fan also sees Panther’s fans showcased on a special Instagram. Penrith OAK SUPER FAN

The Panther’s have offered fans free legal advice from a local sponsor which is a good idea.

Panthers

Panthers

The Penrith App offers:

– Access to the latest Panthers news, videos and photo galleries of training and games

– Telstra Premiership draw and fixtures presented in a round or calendar format

– Telstra Premiership and NYC Ladder

– Full squad list with player profiles

– Push notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates

– Access to all Panthers related sites, including our membership site and online store

Manly Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles are giving fans free match day programs which can be downloaded prior to the game.

Manly Match Day Programs

Manly Match Day Programs

Manly also held a members appreciation day as well.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.32.37 am

The Manly Loyalty Rewards program can be viewed here.

Manly has also teamed up with Netflix and Daredevil to offer this interesting video series Barrett’s Daredevil plans for round 1

Barrett's Daredevil plans for round 1

Barrett’s Daredevil plans for round 1

The Sea Eagles App features:

– A brand new design theme and layout optimised for the iPhone 6 and iPad devices ;
– Access to the latest team News, Videos and Photo Galleries;
– 2016 Telstra Premiership Draw and Fixtures presented in a round or calendar format;
– Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup;
– Full squad list with Player Profiles;
– Push Notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates;
– Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts; and
– Access to all team related sites, including Membership, Merchandise Store, Ticketing, Events Calendar and many more!

Sea Eagles App

Sea Eagles App

Fan Engagement for the 2015 AFL and NRL Grand Finals

NRL & AFL Grand Final's 2015

NRL & AFL Grand Final’s 2015

It’s that time of the year again as the top two teams in both the AFL and NRL battle it out to see who will win their codes respective Grand Final.

On Saturday the Hawthorn Hawks take on the West Coast Eagles at the MCG while Sunday sees an all Queensland derby with the Brisbane Broncos trying to win their 7th rugby league grand final against the North Queensland Cowboys at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

The action on the field is set to provide two classic close battles but whats happening off the field for fans in terms of fan engagement is also something for fans of both codes to get excited about.

*I’ll continue to update this for all teams as the week goes on and more fan engagement activities come to light.

Starting with the Aussie Rules and from Wednesday the AFL and Foxtel have a free family oriented fan ‘Footy Festival’ zone happening at the MCG with the ‘Best Of Melbourne’ featuring food, movies, merch and more. The free live site will feature a huge range of interactive displays, prize giveaways and challenges for the football fan, including: try your luck kicking your own Coates goal of the year into a mini excavator bucket, take a screamer in Toyota’s Hilux – unbreakable mark experience, compare your OPSM hand/eye coordination and reaction times to AFL stars, grab a pic of yourself with the Premiership cup and try Telstra’s interactive kicking screens. More details here.http://www.mcg.org.au/things-to-do/foxtel-footy-festival

AFL Footy Festival

AFL Footy Festival

AFLGF MCG Footy Festival

AFLGF MCG Footy Festival

Australian Mint offering special one off coins for AFL GF Footy Festival

Australian Mint offering special one off coins for AFL GF Footy Festival

Free MCG AFL posters for fans at Footy Festival

Free MCG AFL posters for fans at Footy Festival

The day after the GF fans can also take part in the MCG Open Day with a host of activities like having your pic taken with a replica AFL trophy. More herehttp://www.mcg.org.au/whats-on/latest-news/2015/august/mcg-open-day-returns

MCG Open Day

MCG Open Day

Friday here in Melbourne is a public holiday for the first time and will see thousands of fans out in force for the AFL Grand Final parade through the city. The Toyota AFL Grand Final Parade takes place on the 2nd October 2015 from 12pm and provides a chance for supporters of all age groups to see their favourite players who will take to the field in the Grand Final. Marching bands, roving entertainment and many others will join the cavalcade of Toyota HiLuxs carrying the two Grand Finalist teams along the route from the Old Treasury Building to Yarra Park at the MCG.

AFL GF Parade

AFL GF Parade

Both teams are also engaging fans via social with the Hawks catch cry hashtag being #PlayYourRole while the Eagles have #TheWestIsFinals and #GoEagles

#GoEagles

#GoEagles

#PlayYourRole

#PlayYourRole

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

The retiring AFL legends lap of honour is happening all over Victoria too. http://m.afl.com.au/lap-of-honour

 

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

Not only will music stars like Bryan Adams play before the game on Grand Final day but afterwards fans will also get to go on the field for a post match gig. Fans can also attend the ultimate post-match celebration when the MCG opens its gates to the public via Gate 4, 5 and 6 from 6pm on Toyota AFL Grand Final day. Enjoy a concert from the Grand Final day artists (featuring Bryan Adams and Ellie Goulding) before the 2015 AFL Premiers are presented to the crowd.

Fans can win a golden seat at the MCG for the big match as well.

AFL GOLDEN SEAT

AFL GOLDEN SEAT

Carlton Draft are also hosting an outside bar for 3000 select fans called the Carlton Draught Grand Final Front Bar where fans can rub shoulders with AFL personalities, win giveaways and last minute tickets into the MCG.

Carlton Draft Bar

Carlton Draft Bar

 

In terms of the two teams, the Hawks have also run some pretty cool fan engagement in the lead up to the big match as star player Luke Hodge has been leaving jerseys around Melbourne for lucky fans. First in, best dressed was the call here http://m.hawthornfc.com.au/video/2015-09-26/hodges-surprise-to-fans

Hawks Jersey Hunt

Hawks Jersey Hunt

Hawks Jersey Hunt

Hawks Jersey Hunt

The Hawks have these special shirts to get fans pumped while also a lottery for fans to win what must be some of the last tix to the game.

Hawks Lottery

Hawks Lottery

Hawks Shirt

Hawks Shirt

 

Hawks FREE Training Session

Hawks FREE Training Session

Hawks FREE Training Session

Hawks FREE Training Session

 

Conversely the Eagles are having a ‘March to the G’ with supporters encouraged to don their colours on Saturday while Domain Stadium back in Western Australia will host a live site for fans to have a picnic on the field and a kick to kick as well http://m.westcoasteagles.com.au/news/2015-09-27/bankwest-live-site-at-domain-stadium?camefrom=EMCL_783800_33259721.

WCE March to the G

WCE March to the G

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

On Monday the team has a free opening training day in Perth for fans to cheer on the team with face paining and temporary tats for young fans.

WCE Open Training

WCE Open Training

http://m.westcoasteagles.com.au/news/2015-09-27/open-training-tomorrow?camefrom=EMCL_783800_33259718

The Eagles also have a fan gallery here as well where fans can contribute their pics. http://m.westcoasteagles.com.au/finals/finals-fan-gallery

WCE FAN GALLERY

WCE FAN GALLERY

West Coast are using SnapChat to engage fans with press conferences and player chats as well.

WCE Snapchat

WCE Snapchat

10,000 fans flocked to Domain Stadium on Monday for the free opening training session.

WCE Training Session

WCE Training Session

 

NRL GF ANZ Stadium

NRL GF ANZ Stadium

As for the the NRL, ANZ Stadium in Sydney has fans covered with team bars, a special gig by Aussie legends Cold Chisel, giant merch tents, family-friendly activities and food stalls.

NRL GF

NRL GF

The NRL also has the launch of NRL Nation, an interactive fan site at Darling Harbour, on Thursday with a special appearance from the two Grand Final Teams and Cold Chisel.

NRL NATION

NRL NATION

NRL Nation will feature unique interactive experiences including an NRL National Stadium, while there will be meet-and-greet opportunities with NRL stars and legends, skills tests and other free entertainment.

NRL Nation runs through to Saturday with loads of free entertainment, player and legend appearances and activities. More here http://m.nrl.com/nrl-nation-at-darling-harbour/tabid/10874/newsid/89075/default.aspx

NRL NATION FIT SESSION

NRL NATION

A healthy part of this is also a free fitness NRL based session for fans to participate in. NRL FIT Sessions will be a unique opportunity to participate in a training session with former NRL stars.  Led by one-time Canberra Raiders Captain and current NRL Community Ambassador – Alan Tongue – the NRL FIT Session is a group-based outdoor workout session which will get the blood pumping at any fitness level. More here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mB5ztp0Ug32607G4gvo-gqAydMhhXE0xlvALnW_Fdes/viewform?c=0&w=1

NRL NATION FIT SESSION

NRL NATION FIT SESSION

NRL Australian Minted coins

NRL Australian Minted coins at NRL Nation for fans

The NRL are launching Periscope TV at the Dally M Medal night too.

NRL Periscope

NRL Periscope

The teams will also participate in Grand Final  Community Fan EventsThroughout the week where there will be a chances for fans and members of the two teams to get up close to the players before the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final.

The NRL are showing the game live on NINE and for the first time in HD so fans will be in for a treat here. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/rugby-league/nrl-grand-final-to-be-shown-on-channel-nine-in-hd-20150928-gjwleo.html

HD NRL

HD NRL

On social the Cowboys are galvanising support under the hashtag of #RideEmCowboys while the Broncos have #BronxNation. The NRL also have their own with #NRLGF. All have the team logos and the trophy as well.

NRLGF

NRLGF

#RIDEEMCOWBOYS

#RIDEEMCOWBOYS

#BRONXNATION

#BRONXNATION

As for the teams, the Broncos are getting fans to show their true colours by asking them to join the #BronxNation and ‘Bronco-ify’ their profile pic. More here http://www.broncos.com.au/info/join_the_bronxnation.html

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

The Cowboys unveiled this fan banner at last weeks finals game and due to its success, it should make a comeback for the Grand Final.  A good idea for fans to leave their message of support.

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

 

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

More info here on the Cowboys banner and how fans are being asked to be involved.

NQ Banner

NQ Banner

The Cowboys are also hosting a free open training session for fans too.

NQ Cowboys open training session

NQ Cowboys open training session

NQ Cowboys GF March

NQ Cowboys GF March

 

The team are getting fans behind them on social.

NQ Cowboys social media

NQ Cowboys social media

 

Cowboys fans can even get their hands on these special NFLGF shirts

Cowboys NRLGF shirts

Cowboys NRLGF shirts

Away from Sydney, the Cowboys Leagues Club will be hosting a free live site.

NQ Cowboys Live Site

NQ Cowboys Live Site

NQ Cowboys Live Site

NQ Cowboys Live Site

The week is shaping up as a big one for classic footy encounters but also a big week for whats happening off the field in fan experiences for the crowds.

I’ll keep updating this as more fan engagement activations come in over the course of the week.

But for now, who are you tipping between Cowboys and Broncos and Hawthorn and West Coast?

Thanks for reading.

101 Fan Engagement Ideas For Music Artists

In my time in the music industry I was constantly trying to think of creative ideas to bring added value and enjoyment to the punters who came to see the events that I was promoting or provide special incentives and experiences through the music fans who were buying the Brisbane music compilation record that my small team produced each year.

For instance from 2006-2012 I ran an annual gig showcasing the Brisbane music scene whereby the artists that performed each had to add a classic Brisbane tune into their set. This was a simple and free idea that generated heaps of press coverage, engaged the audience and was an added selling point with ticket sales. This is the point with fan engagement whether it be in sports, music or business the key thing to remember is providing exceptional customer service with these little added touches or memorable experiences along the way. Most of the time you can do these for next to nothing but your own creativity.

Another idea my team had was to engage a local drinks sponsor who provided a free drink to every punter who came through the doors on the night of that gig. Obviously we promoted this in the lead up to the event, but the look on some peoples faces upon entering the venue when they realised that they got a free drink as well as six artists and six hours of live music for $20 was priceless. That look that says ‘wow, I know its just a free drink but I was not expecting that’ was the same look on my face when I first went to the UK music festival, Glastonbury in 2008. On entry to the site we were provided with a showbag of goodies including a map, lanyard with schedule of timetables, a newspaper, an NME magazine, a free drink AND a set of biodegradable tent pegs (short story but the Glastonbury site is a working farm for 2/3 of the year and after every festival people leave thousands of tents and metal tent pegs meaning that in previous years the animals would get injuries to their legs etc hence where this idea came from!). It’s these little touches that go such a long way in creating a memorable experience for fans.

This leads me to my latest infographic which is one that I think will greatly help young bands but also established artists as I truly feel that fan engagement in the music industry is still such an untapped market.

Below you will see 101 fan engagement ideas for the music industry. Many of the ideas have been drawn from what sporting teams and leagues are doing for their fans however many more are from ideas which I have actioned to great success my self. I will be blogging more and more about these music fan engagement ideas in time.

More than anything, I hope this resource will benefit those artists who are just starting out who are realising that they need to do more for their fans because their fans want more from the gig than just three artists up on stage in this day and era.

Please feel free to share with me how your band is engaging with your audience.

101 Fan Engagement Ideas For Music Artists

101 Fan Engagement Ideas For Music Artists

How the live sporting experience is being redefined through fan engagement.

When is the last time those attending a live sporting event at your venue or within your sport truly felt valued, empowered and engaged as fans? Disregard if their team won or lost on the field and think about what’s happening off it and everything else that happened at the venue on the day. Was there a diverse selection of quality food like gourmet pulled pork sandwiches at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium? Was the entertainment exciting like Manchester City’s ‘City Square’ fan zone? Were they able to access free in-stadium wifi on your second screen to connect with the team and other fans during the game like Sporting Kansas’ multi-angle replays and live stats app? Overall, did the fans feel that the club, sport and stadium created a positive relationship through delivering a memorable experience. Hopefully your club, sport or stadium are doing things right and you cheered yes to all of those questions but if not then this is where the sports business ‘buzz’ term of the moment, fan engagement or fan experience has become so prevalent in recent years among leagues, clubs, stadiums and ultimately sports fans.

It’s been well documented that sporting teams across all codes are fighting a battle off the pitch to get more fans through the gates with the reasons often attributed to a challenging financial climate; competition from new leisure activities; a crowded sporting calendar with multiple teams in the same city; as well as the convergence of digital media and sports over the last few years which has seen more and more fans viewing the game from the comfort of their home theatre sports caves on large LCD 3D HD main screens. Fan engagement then is seen as a crucial way that sporting teams can bring their fans closer and at the same time get more bums on seats.

It’s interesting when you actually stop to think about the idea of fan engagement being a new craze when clubs have always been creatively connecting with fans for many years. However, with the advent of the second screen and social media, clubs, stadiums and fans are embracing new technologies which now allow much faster connection on a more intimate level. As a result, a recent study into stadium fan engagement many fans noted that if fans had to choose between leaving their wallet or smart phone at home they would leave their wallet! How then did it get to a point where fans were crying out for a better match day experience and value for their hard earned cash? Surely the game that’s being played on the pitch is enough value for money and the main reason why fans actually attend the game? For some purist sports fans the idea of fan engagement is absurd as they see it taking away from the main reason why everyone has come to the game in the first place. Get these supporters the customary stadium pie, beer and decent seat and that’s all they need to be able to enjoy the match. However, times have changed and for a growing majority, sports fans now have higher expectations for the match day experience and are seeking more options, incentives, entertainment and engagement from clubs and stadiums.

Thankfully for both local and international fans these teams are now rapidly realising the benefits of using creative fan engagement strategies to connect with their fans. The league, club and stadium stakeholders are increasingly finding ways to collect data and create revenue streams from these fan engagement initiatives. There is healthy competition among these stakeholders to have a distinguished fan engagement selling point that separates them from other clubs with not a day going by without an exciting new idea for fans.

It’s important to understand that fan engagement is about creating a special positive relationship with fans through a two-way conversation between them and their club. It’s about reaching out to fans whether they are in the stands at the game or watching for instance via a digital membership in a foreign country in order to make them aware that they are connected and involved in the club through various creative strategies.

Fan engagement is about pulling the fan in closer to the club rather than reducing them to just a membership number in the stands. It encompasses many aspects such as creative merchandise like Queensland Red’s ‘Baby Red’ membership that includes a baby sized jersey; responsive cross platform social and digital media initiatives like West Ham United’s social media match where the team wore T-shirts with fans tweets on them; the Newcastle Knights having fans twitter names on the back of players jerseys. Match day experiences like Tottenham Hotspurs ‘Linesman for a Day’ or the Oakland Raider’s ‘Fanicure’ experience for female fans are also examples of how fan engagement is being used by sporting teams around the world.

Clubs and stadiums also see the benefit of maximising fan engagement by providing quality stadium food options, such as Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium gluten free stand or Sydney’s Allianz Stadium ‘Seat & Eat Free’ deal, as well as providing fans with dedicated fan zones like Queens Park Ranger’s Matchday Activity Zone for youth supporters and ESPN’s Fan Deck seen recently at the Opening Series of the Major League Baseball in Sydney. While these are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of best practice initiatives for fan engagement in 2014, what sets fan engagement apart is that many of these ideas are very inexpensive and easy to facilitate and in turn can generate significant added revenue into a club by attaching memberships, merchandise, corporate hospitality and commercial offers or incentives to these fan engagement strategies that means the brand can now also be marketed towards newer markets of international supporters.

Global innovations in fan engagement are taking place on a daily basis with recent additions including the FIFA World Cup 2014 rolling out a second screen social and mobile heavy experience called Global Stadium which lets football fans from around the world connect during the 64 games. Atletico Madrid have also recently announced plans to install a massive 4000m2 fan zone around their stadium by 2016 and the AFL has teamed up with wearable technology company Wearable Experiments (We:eX) to develop ‘Alert Shirts’ which allow fans to experience what the players feel through a technology-enabled jersey.

It’s not hard to see why sporting clubs and stadiums around the world are investing more and more resources into fan engagement initiatives as it gives their supporters more bang for their buck, increases fan loyalty and enhances the game day experience which in turn creates lasting memorable moments for fans.

Interning in the Sports Business: A case study of my time at Queens Park Rangers Football Club (Sport Business International June 2014)

Australian Blair Hughes turned his back on teaching and the music industry to pursue a career in the sports industry. He gives his account of travelling across the world to intern at a London based football club.

FROM A YOUNG age I was always the one in my group of friends to plan days out at a sporting match or think up creative entrepreneurial ideas to make pocket money. I think, therefore, that sports event management and fan engagement have been in my blood before I
even knew what those two skills were.

Over the past seven years I have worked as a high school teacher and as a venue, tour and
artist manager in the music industry, where I ran a successful PR and events business.
Postgraduate study in sports management – or any field for that matter – should be applauded
as it demonstrates a person’s ability to be a lifelong learner and invest in their career.
The approach I have taken – to proactively trek across the globe seeking out practical experience through internships – has proved to be very beneficial for my own career.

Let me set the scene for you. It’s early 2013, I’m a year away from turning 30 and I’m in
a teaching job in Australia that I’ve become disillusioned with. I knew due to the stress I was feeling after seven years as a teacher that I needed to change paths, follow my dreams and
find my true passion. I knew that my diverse life experience and unique skills developed
from years of working in the education and music industries would hold me in good stead
heading into the sports industry, but it would still be a very big challenge to secure a job.

Progress through Persistence
In 2013, I sent e-mails and letters and made calls to London at 1am from Australia to over 40 football clubs across the UK – including West Ham, Tottenham and Chelsea – and set up
meetings with 17 of them. This kind of proactive enthusiasm has got me everywhere over the years and is what I continually teach my students: if you want to reach a goal, you can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. You need to get off your butt, put yourself out there, never stop
learning, market yourself as the best in the game and search out who you want to professionally emulate. Discover what your passion is and do everything you can to reach your career goals.At the end of a meeting with QPR (Queens Park Rangers), I asked about the possibility of an internship, and to my astonishment they agreed to take a punt and have me come back at the end of the year to learn from them.

While at QPR I was able to work on some exciting fan engagement and operations projects ranging from helping design new incentives for membership packages, investigating e-cigarette and vaping policies in the English Football League as well as researching ticketing and loyalty schemes. I was also able to sit in on the action in the control room on matchdays against Leicester City, Doncaster Rovers and Huddersfield Town to learn from the experienced football police squad about serious crowd management issues such as hooliganism and flares. I participated in pre- and post-game briefings with key stakeholders such as stadium operations, and a Hammersmith and Fulham Council safety meeting that looked at all the factors that go into creating a successful and safe matchday.

The English Premier League gave me an insight into the issue of pyrotechnics, and I learnt about the current awareness campaigns and dangers around the use of flares and smoke
bombs, including how women and children are being used as flare mules in grounds across the UK. Along with this, I had a chance to learn a deeper understanding of hooliganism from chief superintendents of the Metropolitan Police Service’s football division.Last but by no means least, I was privileged to be able to spend a couple of days with the QPR Community Trust, helping teach football to kids with Down’s syndrome and meeting the players as they signed merchandise for charities.

All through the QPR internship I tried to be the first into the office and the last to leave, talked to everyone from the cleaners to the owner Tony Fernandes, and networked with clubs back in Australia, mentioning that I was talking up their initiatives…all to get my name in their minds.The internship, though, was not without its challenges or anxious moments. For instance, there was a financial risk in taking the internship in the first place, and I had to save up enough money to last me a few months in London as I wasn’t being paid. Getting a UK visa was also a hassle, and I had to pay an immigration lawyer to sort it out.Then there were other anxieties. Would I be out of my depth, or too old for the internship, given it would usually be reserved for a high school graduate? Would there be a structured programme for me? How much freedom would I get at the club to develop? Would I actually learn what it was like to work in fan engagement? Would I make good contacts?

As it turned out, everyone at QPR gave me their time, experience, advice and ideas and the placement greatly helped guide my understanding of exactly where I wanted to go with my career in the sports industry. I also networked every day I was in the UK, attending over 20 Premier League and Championship matches and having meetings with key fan engagement staff at these clubs along the way.

The rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward to mid-2014 and I’ve completed an internship
at QPR and now currently work in fan engagement for a London start-up, whilst also running the social media for a major sports conference and teaching event management and marketing to teens one day a week. I will also be gaining some US experience at the end of 2014 with some high-profile sporting teams over there, and would like to return to QPR to work full-time in fan engagement or operations somewhere down the line.

In many ways I’m living the dream, but I didn’t get there overnight; the last nine months have been long days of calculated risks, relentless networking and seeking out practical experience in the sports industry through internships.

This story appeared in the June 2014 edition of Sports Business International

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