Day one and after a 13 hour flight and a nice 7am check in at my downtown Los Angeles hotel I headed out to check out Dodger Stadium and the LA Coliseum which is home to the USC Trojans.
The avid Dodgers girl on the hotel front counter told me how her husband and herself had come out to Sydney’s SCG last year to see the Opening Series game and how they thought the set up and way they Americanised the fan experience was exceptional. After talking about the Dodgers, LA, Moore Sports, fan engagement and Australia for 30 mins I think she dug the fact we had both been at the game and gave me an upgrade which was nice. A key travel hack- talk to everybody!!
With a quick $11 uber from Union Station to Dodger Stadium my driver, Boris from Lithuania and I soon found ourselves stuck outside the gates at the base of the stadium entrance. A tour would not be on the cards this US trip however Boris acted as my photographer and took my pic. While his selection of mints were questionable, a new friend was made as we talked about sports (he’s a Bayern fan from time living in Munich) and fan engagement and he dropped me back at the main train station.
I was feeling energetic and enthusiastic having just got back to the US and I decided it would be a good idea to stretch the legs and walk from Union Station to the LA Coliseum.
10am and with the dry heat and burning sun over California feeling like an above average day in hell, I persevered on and made it to the stadium at 12pmhaving smashed 3L of water on the journey. On a side note, there’s a pretty devastating drought going on here and from the Angel City locals I spoke to today (recovering crack cocaine addict Bryan, DMV worker Lytisha and former USC player Bob) they all agreed that it was out of the ordinary for LA to be this hot in October.
I met Bob at the LA Coliseum and he told me about the 94,000 seater stadium’s history. The LAC has hosted two olympics and two Super Bowl’s as well having hosted the Mercy Bowl which I had not heard about in sports stories before.
I did a good trek around the stadium and what a sight it was. Helpful Bob gave me a copy of last Thursday’s match- a 200 page program stacked with USC fan engagement ideas which was a nice souvenir. The AUDI suites looked pretty swish and learning about the stadium’s history while staying out of the sun was educational.
With the air still feeling like fire, a wise decision was made to catch a train back from 37th street to downtown LA to get ready for the LA Kings vs Vancouver Canucks NHL game at the Staples Centre.
At 5pm I headed two blocks south to the Staples Centre and LA Live precinct which is heavy with bars, restaurants, palm trees and outdoor LED screens. First impressions are always important for the fan experience and instantly I was approached to enter some fan comps while at the same time enjoying the sounds of a local station playing a set of fan anthems outside the Staples.
The air-con upon entry was just what I and the 18,000 fans needed and as I made my way around the arena I was struggling to keep up with the awesome digital and tangible fan engagement on offer for these NHL hockey fans. The noise from the fans was also an indication of how much they loved coming to games here as heard in this quick rallying cry I captured.
The sports themed food looked delicious while merchandise stands, digital activations and the help text line were also good for fans to have available.
I’ll list the great things I witnessed here:
While the game was a dour affair for the Kings who went down 3-0 it was a highly educational fan engagement visit to the Staples Centre and a great opportunity to chat with Kings digital media director Pat Donahue.
The Kings and the Staples Centre do a great deal for providing extra value for their fans over the course of 41 home games a season and it was clear that this was some of the best fan engagement around. From the break in play digital fun to the concourse activations the fan experience here was an exceptional one.
I’ll be compiling the best bits of my annual fan engagement trip into one piece that will be published in November for an Australian sports magazine. Stay tuned for that!