cricket

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

Cricket Australia Test Match Fan Experience at The Gabba, First Test, Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Brisbane, 24 January 2018

I have a fan experience report to follow for Australasian Leisure Management Magazine but for now here are a selection of photos from the first test in Brisbane at The Gabba between Cricket Australia and Sri Lanka.

Cricket Australia debuts The Lawn deck fan experience

Cricket Australia debuts The Lawn deck fan experience

The following article was written for Digital Sports Labs and can be found in full here.

The Lawn was a truly memorable fan experience and spectacularly well-presented entertainment space from Cricket Australia, TLA Australia and the MCG that will no doubt continue to provide fans with a chilled and relaxed vibe to take in the cricket while also seeing brands falling over themselves to sponsor this next summer.

Global venues and sporting organisations are continuing to ramp up their efforts to enhance the game day fan experience and acquire new fans by providing unique, innovative and creative experiences that offer a much more memorable and enjoyable game day experience than what sports fans have had to deal with in the past.

New developments are constantly being rolled out by venues whether it be from providing gourmet local food and beverage options, gender neutral toilets or way-finding to adding inclusive nursing or sensory rooms and using technology such as chat-bots and geo-fencing in an effort to provide fans with access to important messages and promotions. Make no mistake, while it’s important to remember the match in the middle comes first and foremost, every major global venue is in an arms race to get more bums on seats through providing new money can’t buy experiences.

However, a trending area in the fan experience space from venues has been to develop fun and unique social spaces that offer fans unique seating and viewing options. In recent times this has included Jacksonville’s EverBank Field and Brisbane’s The Gabba roll out impressive pool decks, Sydney’s SCG adding a beach while Yankee Stadium created the ‘Judge’s Chambers’ and GMHBA Stadium and the Geelong Cats introduced their immersive fan portal room with retractable floor overlooking the team warm-up area that allows fans to feel the intensity as the team warms up before a match.

Cricket Australia is another such organization who are pushing the boundaries in this area with their new social entertainment experience The Lawn debuting on Sunday at the MCG for the first One Day International match. The Lawn was designed to reset the perceptions of a typical day at the cricket with the space being billed as providing a tailored food and beverage menu, comfortable seating options and a stunning view of the field.

I went along on Sunday to check out the launch of the TLA Australia created The Lawn and was impressed and overwhelmed by the beautifully designed exclusive deck area and outstanding attention to detail.

The Lawn experience started with lucky fans being granted a fancy invite to a ‘summer garden party’ themed event with registration taking place outside the MCG in a marquee featuring well-presented staff. Immediately after collecting an envelope with tickets and a $10 drinks voucher there was helpful staff holding ‘This Way To The Lawn’ signs all the way to Gate 6, upon entering the stadium and then at the entrance to The Lawn at Bay 11-13 which made it very easy to find the exclusive area.

This way to The Lawn

The first impression upon walking into The Lawn was that every little touch had been taken care of. The cool summer vibe décor and seating options ranged from sun beds and couches to tables and chairs while the colourful flower backdrop and astroturfed floor made the tiered deck come alive with vibrant colour and a party atmosphere overlooking the best view in the stadium.

Quality Australian wines and beers were part of the bar service while switched on staff supplied an endless array of gourmet food over the course of the day which included a delicious and diverse menu of cucumber sandwiches, sliders, beef croquettes, vegan salads and fish and chips. Each table also included a container of lollies and it was nice to see random strangers interacting with each other and making new friends while passing around these sweets over the course of the day.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 The Lawn also featured a roving Polaroid camera photographer, an Instagram filter, photo opportunities with a cricket big bat as well as social games for people to play like Jenga all while still watching the cricket.  The little touches were evident from the funky straws, re-usable cups and free visors being handed out to the coasters, large umbrellas and hosts who were going out of their way to ensure fans were getting the most out of the experience. Furthermore, as the sun went down, blankets were even brought out for those starting to feel the cold while staff came around again with ice creams.

The Lawn was a truly memorable fan experience and spectacularly well-presented entertainment space from Cricket Australia, TLA Australia and the MCG that will no doubt continue to provide fans with a chilled and relaxed vibe to take in the cricket while also seeing brands falling over themselves to sponsor this next summer.

Fan Engagement 2015 Year In Review: 101 Global Fan Engagement Activations

What a year 2015 has been for fan engagement in the sports business.

From digital delights to giveaways galore 2015 has seen some outstanding fan engagement activations from across the globe. With innovative and fan first ideas ranging from the areas of ticketing, virtual reality, merchandise and food to iBeacon’s, fitness and 3D printing, clubs and stadiums have been working hard to listen and increase the emotional loyalty amongst fans and drive deeper connections through storytelling between all parties. 

As a passionate fan engagement and sports fan, I wanted to highlight the impressive work that has been produced in 2015 by putting together a brief (ok it’s pretty extensive actually) summary of some of the best global fan engagement ideas from this year and shine a light on the hard working marketing, digital and fan engagement teams who do so much for their members and fans across the world.

This is in no particular order and is by no means the definitive list of the ‘best in fan engagement’ from this year however it should be viewed as a launch pad for a discussion about what else was brilliant in fan engagement from 2015.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on anything I’ve missed and I’ll add them to my 2800+ fan engagement Pinterest board here: Blair’s Fan Engagement Ideas Pinterest Board

Finally, a big thank you to all of my sports business and fan engagement followers and colleagues who constantly share ideas. 

Without further delay, let’s get started.  

1. The LA Dodgers always have some of the best fan giveaways with this year’s including a Hispanic heritage night, social media night ‘Back to the Future’ Movie night and Running night, Pups at the Park as well as giveaways that included fans getting their hands on one of 10,000 free yoga mats at Dodger Stadium.

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

2. As part of NRL Grand Final week the NRL hosted an epic fan zone called NRL Nation at Darling Harbour in Sydney. The site featured digital activations, signing sessions, photo opportunities and much more. NRL Nation

NRL Nation

NRL Nation

NRL Nation

NRL Nation

3. The 49er’s created an interesting ’Ninerfier’ contraption in conjunction with Levi’s that saw fans get ’Ninerfied’ before heading into Levi’s Stadium. The team also gave out free shirts on the opening game day, launched their Twitter vending machine and kept evolving the fan experience with their app that features loyalty rewards as part of the Faithful 49 and also shows you the fastest moving toilet lines! Faithful 49

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers

49ers

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

4. Super Rugby team Western Force held a ‘Superhero Saturday’ themed event which let fans in for free if they wore a superhero costume. Super Hero Saturday

Western Force

Western Force

5. Sporting Kansas City allowed fans to pass around their US Open Cup trophy through the whole crowd at Sporting Park for their MLS game in October.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

6. Melbourne Storm gave fans the chance to have their name on the team banner and win seat upgrades on the centre line in a private bar. Furthermore Melbourne also let young fans engage in a junior reporter type activation. The Storm also led the way in increasing loyalty among their members with their Lightning Rewards program. More on this here Lightning Rewards

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

7. Ronda Rousey had a cool activation called #WalkoutWithRonda for the UFC fight against Holly Holm in Melbourne, Australia.

Ronda Rousey UFC

Ronda Rousey UFC

8. The Brisbane Broncos held a live video signing of a new player. Brisbane Broncos contract signing

Brisbane Broncos

Brisbane Broncos

9. The Seattle Sounders march to CenturyLink Field is a fan engagement masterpiece that needs to be experienced and continues to grow every MLS season.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

10. Carlton Blues used audioBoom’s recording widget to have fans record in their message of thanks to retiring player Chris Judd. The Blues also used audioBoom to record over 100 short audio biographies of club legends and then put these into QR codes around the club house on colourful plaques to encourage fans to visit the club and use their phones to access this special historical team content. 

Carlton also held a 90’s themed game to commemorate the 1995 Grand Final win and they even dropped everything in the club shop by 19.95%. Furthermore their ‘bongo cam’ which sees fans play the bongos on the imaginary drums was a good laugh while the Virgin Australia activation which saw a virtual plane fly around the outside fence was also impressive as it saw a whole row of fans pick up a free return flight to the US. 

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

 

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

11. Boston Celtics featured a game called ’Shot in the Dark’ that had a fan blindfolded while shooting at the hoops for a prize at the TD Garden.

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

12. Western Australian AFL teams Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles held good fan engagement initiatives such as the #FlyTheFlag and #TheWestIsFinals that had fans participating on social media.

West Coast Eagles

West Coast Eagles

Fremantle Dockers

Fremantle Dockers

13. The 2015 Rugby World Cup saw over half a million fans come into the 15 fan zones around England. RWC Fan Zones

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

14. Cricket Australia and beer company VB teamed up to call on fans to earn a place in the Australian cricket team by having their name on the jersey. Fans are able to nominate the person who has inspired them to work hard and take action. The most inspiring stories will win their nominee’s name on the shirt of an Australian cricket player for the VB ODI series this summer. VB promotion

Cricket Australia/ VB

Cricket Australia/ VB

Cricket Australia/ VB

Cricket Australia/ VB

15. New fan zones from Sunderland, Chelsea and West Bromich Albion all gave their respective fans extra value on Premier League game days.  

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

Sunderland AFC

Sunderland AFC

16. The Melbourne Cricket Ground listened to fans and lowered the prices of food and drinks and saw massive rises in consumption. The consumption of hot pies increased by over 130,000 units, chips were up 37% (150,000 additional sales) and salads also went up by over 130%. MCG food prices a big hit with fans

MCG

MCG

17. Pittsburgh Steelers held a women’s training camp. Steelers Women’s Training Camp

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

18. A-League club Melbourne City streamed real time data and statistics from GPS tracking devices to fans during matches this season by transmitting the information directly to the scoreboard video screen at home matches and made the data available on social media apps and its website. Game data to stream live for Melbourne City football fans

19. The NY Mets let fans had a ‘Beer Passport’ for fans who could sample various New York craft beers at Citi Field.

NY Mets/ Citi Field

NY Mets/ Citi Field

20. EA Sports asked fans of the Australian women’s football team, the Matilda’s to choose the player for the cover of FIFA15. EA Sports Matilda’s

EA Sports/ Matildas

EA Sports/ Matildas

21. Orlando City SC put fans faces in their squad numbers on the back of their jerseys.

Orlando City SC

Orlando City SC

22. Melbourne Demons asked young fans to submit a book review which was an educational bit of fan engagement. Melbourne Demons Book Review

Melbourne Demons

Melbourne Demons

23. The NFL’s Baltimore Raven’s created emoji’s for fans. Raven’s Emoji’s

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

24. The QLD Firebirds ANZ Championship netball team provided free healthy recipes for fans such as nutritious bean burritos and chicken bites.

QLD Firebirds

QLD Firebirds

25. Copa America changed some of Chile’s bus shelters to resemble goals in the lead up to the event.

Copa America

Copa America

26. Sydney’s Allianz Stadium offered free pies to fans who used their mobile food ordering app. Allianz Stadium pie deal

Allianz Stadium

Allianz Stadium

27. While Match.com and MLB.com teamed up in 2014 to give singles another reason to cheer during the season by giving members the opportunity for single baseball fans to connect online, the Atlanta Hawks encouraged fans to use the mobile app Tinder to transform Philips Arena into a premier social networking hub in the NBA as part of their “Swipe Right Night”. Atlanta Hawks Tinder Night

Hawks Tinder Night

Hawks Tinder Night

MLB Singles

MLB Singles

28. The FFA Cup let fans choose the football design for the ball used in the 2016 club competition. Design the Westfield FFA Cup 2016 ball!

FFA Cup

FFA Cup

29. The St Louis Ram’s NFL team created a wellness zone for fans at their stadium complete with football skills drills and healthy nutrition tips. St Louis Rams Wellness Zone

St Louis Rams

St Louis Rams

30. The Central Coast Mariners paid homage to their coastal traditions and history by honouring the Central Coast Life Saving Association with this special jersey for fans. 500km up the road, fellow A-League club the Newcastle Jets did something similar with their Australian Air Force inspired kit for fans. CC Mariners SLS Jersey

CC Mariners

CC Mariners

Newcastle Jets Air Force Jersey

Newcastle Jets Air Force Jersey

31. The NJ Devils held a cross fit workout session for fans at The Prudential Centre ahead of their NHL match.

NJ Devils

NJ Devils

32. The Australian Diamonds wrote fans a sick note pass for fans to give to their employers for the Netball World Cup after their win.

Australian Diamonds

Australian Diamonds

33. The El Paso Chihuahuas held their Wiener Dog Race. I’ll just leave it at that.

34. The Cricket World Cup and Tui teamed up to give fans the chance to win 1M by buying a $30 ‘bullseye’ shirt and money if they caught a six. The $30 shirt, part of the Tui Catch a Million promotion, encouraged cricket fans to purchase the shirt and attempt to cleanly catch a ball for their chance to win up to $1 million. 

Cricket World Cup 2015

Cricket World Cup 2015

35. The Gwinnett Braves let pregnant fans into CoolRay Field for the game and then added that if you went into labour during the game that your child would get a lifetime of free birthday parties from the team. Gwinnett Braves

Gwinnett Braves

Gwinnett Braves

36. The NSW Blues rugby league team had fans names on their jerseys in conjunction with beer company VB.

NSW BLUES

NSW BLUES

37. The San Francisco Giants printed ‘first game’ certificates for fans at AT&T Park.

SF Giants

SF Giants

38. Sydney Swans and ANZ Stadium gave free massages to fans at their AFL games.

Sydney Swans/ ANZ Stadium

Sydney Swans/ ANZ Stadium

39. The NY Islanders held their Beard-A-Thon which is acelebration of the great tradition of the playoff beard. Beard-a-thon® was launched in 2009 and since then, over $3 million has been raised for all participating NHL team charities.

NY Islanders

NY Islanders

40. Richmond Tigers let fans design their own AFL trading card. Richmond Tigers Footy Cards

Richmond Tigers

Richmond Tigers

41. The Rugby World Cup ticket design introduced a Rugby World Cup first as it used augmented reality technology as part of the ticket design to enable fans to engage with the tournament through interactive content. RWC 2015 Augmented Reality App

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

42. The Australian F1 Grand Prix again produced a fan engagement masterclass with in excess of 100 various activations that fans could participate in. However the one that I enjoyed seeing the most and which cost nothing to facilitate was when the gates to the circuit were opened to the fans who then proceeded to bolt to the finishing line while collecting leftover bits of race car tyre rubber along the way. 

AUS GP F1

AUS GP F1

AUS GP F1

AUS GP F1

43. The 49ers and SAP had a few fun virtual reality activations at Levi’s Stadium that included the ‘Quarterback Challenge’.

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

44. Geelong gave a free jersey away to fans who signed up to a three game Cats AFL membership

Geelong

Geelong

45. Charlton Athletic in London put a couch on their sideline for fans to get up close and personal at the game.

Charlton

Charlton

46. The NRL Bulldogs let fans be the game day photographer and also created a private Instagram account to unveil the 2016 jersey. BULLDOGS USE PRIVATE INSTAGRAM TO LAUNCH 2016 JERSEY

Bulldogs NRL

Bulldogs NRL

Bulldogs

Bulldogs 

47. Chelsea FC and the Netball World Cup’s Australian Diamonds created fan zones that featured digital print out’s of fans with star players as a memorable keepsake. 

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

AUS Diamonds

AUS Diamonds

48. The All Blacks and sponsor AIG created the AIG HAKA 360 that in their words ‘Combining a love of rugby with a passion and commitment to innovation for its customers, AIG is pleased to bring Virtual Reality (VR) innovation to All Blacks fans through our branded Haka 360° campaign. The virtual Haka 360° experience app directly connects fans with dynamic All Blacks content which can be brought to life with the use of VR headsets. Imagine standing on the pitch amongst the All Blacks pre-match, watching the team performing the traditional Maori Haka up close. This is the thrill the Haka 360° app and headset delivers.’  All Blacks 360 Haka

All Blacks

All Blacks

49. The Toronto Raptors held #DrakeNight and had perks such as a “Hotline Bling” booth where fans could film their own gif-worthy dance moves within the video’s colourful confines. Those moves were then shown on the Raptors’ official Vine account. Drake Night

Raptors Drake Night

Raptors Drake Night

50. The Gold Coast Titans held a rock and roll night and created a ‘fan of the match’ while bringing back classics like ‘catch the bomb’.

GC Titans

GC Titans

51. The LA Kings and StubHub combined at the Staples Centre to have fans create their own commemorative ticket by going into a ticket booth and adding different features on a touch pad.

LA Kings

LA Kings

LA Kings/ StubHub

LA Kings/ StubHub

52. AFL team Collingwood Magpies gave out free polaroid photos to fans at the MCG.

Collingwood

Collingwood

53. The Detroit Tigers and DooB teamed up to turn fans into 3D models. At a Tigers game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, fans could undergo the “DOOB-lication” process that begins with posing in a 3-D-scanning system with 54 high-definition cameras to capture every angle. After the scan, the photos are sent to DOOB’s processing facility in Brooklyn. The printing process takes up to 18 hours with the curing process adds another week. Tigers fans being turned into 3-D models

DooB Detroit Tigers

DooB Detroit Tigers

54. ANZ Stadium created the ‘Fanometer’ that let fans vote to see if Tottenham or Sydney FC would own the Sydney Harbour Bridge with their team colours. 

Fanometer

Fanometer

55. The O2 and the Rugby World Cup worked together to feature fans names on the roof of the O2 for the ‘Wear The Rose’ campaign. The roof was transformed into a giant, blooming rose and a canvas for fans tweets. England fans can have their own messages of support projected onto The O2 roof

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

56. The NBL hosted an educational night for coaches to attend and learn from the NBL coaches.

NBL

NBL

57. Doncaster Rover’s #MyLocalScream Halloween themed match invited fans to mingle with mascot Donny Dog and the first team players in a day of scary fun, including ghost walks, spooky stories and a special Halloween party with the players in the Belle Vue Bar after the match. MY LOCAL SCREAM

Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers

58. The Netball World Cup in Sydney featured a brilliant FanFEST that included in excess of 25 interactive, digital and netball themed activations ranging from a nail and hair salon and chill out lounge to skills zones, daily netball fitness sessions and digital lip sync battles that were so popular that every national team squad ended up joining in and doing their own rendition to Taylor Swift’s hit tune ‘Shake It Off’. The creation of the fan experience started long before the tournament with the NWC website offering fans the chance to choose the official on court music playlist, bib bunting for the fan caves of those who could not attend and the establishment of a netball fan dictionary to educate newcomers to the sport. FanFEST also included digital activations from The Creative Shop such as the Fan’s MVP where fans could select their player of the tournament on a digital touch screen, ‘Cover the Court’ where fans could test their footwork, the virtual reality ‘Perfect Pass‘ game which tested fans passing skills and the ‘Cheer Cam’ which enabled fans to record their celebrations to Australia’s previous Netball World Cup wins.

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

59. The Tennessee Titans NFL team held a Football 101 day for female fans. Football 101

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

60. The A-League had a great fan engagement concept for the A-League Grand Final where they let fans choose a food item for sale in the stadium, who would sing the national anthem, have a say in the man of the match voting, vote on what song the band Peking Duk would play as well as decide what the ‘walk out’ song would be when the teams made their way to the field. It was all part of Hyundai’s Letting the Fans Choose campaign. A-League Grand Final Fan Engagement

61. Leicester City and Walker’s combined to create a special ‘Vardy Salted’ packet of chips for fans of Premier League record breaking goal scorer Jamie Vardy and then had these available for fans along with a note of thanks in every seat.

LCFC

LCFC

62. The Wallabies and Qantas gave fans the chance to choose the design of the Qantas plane that would send the Wallabies over to London for the Rugby World Cup.

Wallabies

Wallabies

63. Scotland’s Hearts of Midlothian football club unveiled a new kit that featured all 8,000 names of supporters who rescued club from extinction and who donated at least £120 to the rescue fund. Hearts Fan Jersey

Hearts

Hearts

64. The WS Wanderers teamed up a licensing deal with rockers KISS to run a limited edition of merch. WSW and KISS

WSW

WSW

65. The Jacksonville Jaguars were the first NFL team to release their own video game. It’s called “Duval Dash,” named after the county that Jacksonville finds itself in. The game at com is an 8-bit game. Jags Duval Dash

Duval Dash Jags

Duval Dash Jags

66. The Australian Ice Hockey League gave fans free rides to the games through Uber.

AIHL

AIHL

67.  The Seattle Sounders let fans design the 2016 scarf design. Sounders Scarf Design

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

68. Hawthorn Hawks hid a jersey in a park for fans to find and the results were TV gold (and brown)! How this only has 400 odd views is beyond me.

69. The Football League created the ‘Own The Arch’ Twitter campaign to see which team could get the most support. Here you can see Tottenham’s attempt as #SpursAtWembley. Fans given chance to ‘own the arch’ through Twitter vote

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium

70. The Australian Open Tennis featured a plethora of fan engagement activations however one of the best was the Twitter vending machine that let fans tweet away and receive a code back that they could then use for the vending machine which would in turn drop a prize for fans.

Australian Open Tennis

Australian Open Tennis

Australian Open Tennis

Australian Open Tennis

71. The Cleveland Browns gave a fan the chance to host and interview players (along with free food) as part of their official podcast.

Browns

Browns

72. Auckland’s Eden Park and AirBNB combined to offer fans the chance to stay over at the stadium while the Sydney Swans and the SCG did the same thing in Sydney. 

Sydney Swans & AirBNB

Sydney Swans & AirBNB

All Blacks/ Eden Park

All Blacks/ Eden Park

73. LAFC asked fans to choose the colours of the team’s design scheme from five colours. 

LAFC

LAFC

74. Taranaki Rugby Club had players sleep over night at fans houses. 

Taranaki Rugby Club

Taranaki Rugby Club

75. The Rugby World Cup and Gilbert teamed up to run the #PassItOn campaign that had fans send in a video of themselves receiving and giving a pass of a Gilbert Rugby ball. 

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

76. The All Blacks and Air New Zealand music video for #CrazyAboutRugby was one of the best music/safety videos created.

 

77. The Seattle Seahawks had a ’Nail Your Gameday’ activation where fans could pick up nail polish in the colours of the team.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

78. The BlackCaps cricket team released a ‘leave pass’ for fans to give to their bosses for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

BlackCaps

BlackCaps

79. The NJ Devils and a host of other teams all had a designated driver program which gives fans a free soft drink if they sign up to drive their friends home. 13224177b99cc2130ce60312f89a5116

80. The moving sideline contraption ‘SlideLiner‘ was a feature at the Real Madrid Vs Manchester City match at the MCG. 

MCG SlideLiner

MCG SlideLiner

81. The Pittsburgh Penguins and CONSOL Energy Center used ibeacon technology to create a beacon-triggered experience for fans that sent them content that is location specific by way of the Penguins app. Once fans are in the arena, the beacon-triggered content is released, greeting the device users with special content. Once they reach the Mario Lemieux statue, an interactive experience is launched and they are provided with various types of discounts and offers for concessions.

82. The NRL Dragons had a social media booth at their Allianz Stadium game where fans could grab a picture in a special camera booth.

St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons

83. The Washington Redskins app gave season ticket holders the team news before the media received the news. Redskins App

Redskins

Redskins

84. Twitter teamed up with the Aussie cricket team for the Cricket World Cup to send back twitter replies to fans who tweeted the team a message of support. The pic that came back featured your name on the back of the team jersey. Similar activations of thanks via twitter replies were also used by the Aussie Diamonds netballers, the Matilda’s and the Wallabies for their big tournaments.

Twitter/ Australian Sports

Twitter/ Australian Sports

Twitter/ Australian Sports

Twitter/ Australian Sports

85. The NY Jets had a ‘Make Your Own Bobblehead’ activation at MetLife Stadium that saw fans create a digital bobble head version of themselves. NJ Jets Game Day

NY Jets/ Metlife Stadium

NY Jets/ Metlife Stadium

86. The MCG hosted ‘Sunday Fundays’ which let kids into the ground for free for Sunday AFL games and also featured a ‘kick to kick’ on the ground after the match and a special kids meal deal with free trading cards. AFL Sunday Funday

MCG

MCG

87. The 49er’s Uplause decibel reader at Levis Stadium and at other stadiums and arenas in the US greatly added to fans creating more noise and support in the stadium with this snap of the crowd reaching 111.1 at the 49ers being deafening. 

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

88. Fan Zones at the Auckland Nines, NRL Grand Final, Aus Open, Cricket World Cup and AFL Grand Final were large and successful fan engagement activations.

CWC15

CWC15

Auckland 9's

Auckland 9’s

Auckland 9's

Auckland 9’s

AFL

AFL

89. The FA Cup asked fans to take a snap during the FA Cup games with the winning picture to feature on the Cup final ticket. Get your Instagram photo on Emirates FA Cup Final tickets

FA Cup

FA Cup

90. Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand listened to fans and brought in NZ craft beers for Wellington Phoenix game days. LOCAL WELLINGTON CRAFT BEER AT PHOENIX HOME GAMES

Westpac Stadium

Westpac Stadium

91. The NFL’s Vikings and 49ers engaged in a ‘Vine Off’ and executed what is the first collaborative Vine exchange in professional sports.  On Monday Night Football Stage, Vikings And 49ers Strategically Execute First ‘Vine-Off’

92. The MLB introduced ’SnapBat’ which was a red and white baseball bat that took selfies of fans and players. 

Snap Bat MLB

Snap Bat MLB

93. For the first time ever, fans decided the AT&T MLS All-Star captain using Snapchat. Fans had to take a screenshot of the player they wanted to be captain with one screenshot equalling one vote. For the first time ever, fans will decide the AT&T MLS All-Star captain using Snapchat

MLS

MLS

94. US Open fans were able to try to return Maria Sharapova’s 100mph serve via virtual reality. US Open Fan Engagement

95. The LA Kings had a neat virtual reality set up at Staples Centre whereby you could have your pic taken standing in front of a screen and then afterwards the mascot or player were in the picture with you. More on this here: Toshiba is pleased to feature PictureMe app in LA Interactive located next to the Figueroa Bar on the main concourse of STAPLES Center. This new mobile app is allows fans to take photos with ‘digital doubles’ of star Kings players. Operated from a media console embedded within Toshiba’s 65-inch Touch and Get kiosk, the augmented reality app projects a digital image of the selected player adjacent to the fan allowing for a memory-making photo opp. Kings introduce new off-ice elements as season begins

LA Kings

LA Kings

LA Kings/ Staples Centre

LA Kings/ Staples Centre

96. Taranaki Rugby Club had an offer whereby if a player scored four or more tries then every fan received free hot chips. 

Taranaki Rugby Club

Taranaki Rugby Club

97. The Tampa Bay Bucs launched RED which was a new campaign aimed to “celebrate the female fan base’ that featured game-day style tips to experiencing the Bucs all-new virtual reality quarterback training technology.  RED Women’s Movement – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucs

Tampa Bay Bucs

98. The MLB had a Twitter lock down to celebrate National Coffee Day meaning that only MLB followers could access the deals and giveaways. 

MLB

MLB

99. Major League Soccer team NYCFC let fans choose the captain’s armband design. 

NYCFC

NYCFC

100. Hibernian asked for fan input into what colour they wanted for their 2016/17 home strip. Hibs fans asked to pick favourite shade of green for new home shirt

Hibernian

Hibernian

101. Proving just how simple and easy fan engagement can be, the Seattle Sounders MLS team had a ‘Smile Cam’ at their fan appreciation day in October. 

Seattle Sounders/ CenturyLink Field

Seattle Sounders/ CenturyLink Field

 Thanks for reading.

Please feel free to share your ideas from the year that was in fan engagement. 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Cricket Australia Fan Engagement Review: Australia Vs India Test Match Series 2014/15 (Gabba/MCG/SCG)

The MCG in full swing for Australia Vs India. Boxing Day 2014.

The MCG in full swing for Australia Vs India. Boxing Day 2014.

It’s summer in Australia and summer down under means BBQ’s, the beach and cricket and often all three at the same time. The annual cricket test match series is a big feature of the Australian sporting calendar and in December and January featured the Indian cricket team who played four games around the country in Adelaide (Adelaide Oval, South Australia), Brisbane (The Gabba, Queensland), Melbourne (MCG, Victoria) and Sydney (SCG, New South Wales).

The Outfield at MCG

The Outfield at MCG

While the Australian cricket team were winning on the field, fans were certainly winning off it with an impressive array of fan engagement activations and freebies on offer which gave fans something extra special at each stadium.

While I was unable to attend the first test in Adelaide, I managed to get to day one (for those unfamiliar with cricket, test matches can go up to five days of play) of the 2nd Gabba, 3rd MCG and 4th SCG tests and was very impressed with the fan engagement that Cricket Australia and the stadiums had organized for cricket fans.

Day One at the SCG

Day One at the SCG

The Gabba: Second Test

The Gabba: Second Test

At each test match there was an area outside the stadium dubbed ‘The Outfield’ which was entered via three massive blow-up Cricket Australia stumps. The Outfield fan zone was open to those with tickets and those without and had a good variety of activations for fans both young and old as well as tables and chairs for fans to get some fresh air and food away from the crowds.

The Outfield at the SCG

The Outfield at the SCG

CWC15 Bus at the MCG

CWC15 Bus at the MCG

SCG CommBank Nets

SCG CommBank Nets

Young fans were able to participate in skills tests such as bowling and batting nets, get an autograph with a player and get their photo with the Cricket World Cup 2015 bus while older fans could have a cold beer in the fan ‘Tailgate’ bar outside the SCG. The Outfield also featured a MILO tent where fans could get a free cup of cold Milo and photo opportunities with the double decker Cricket World Cup bus. At the SCG for the #PinkTest, the McGrath Foundation let fans have their picture (for a worthy donation!) taken with pink bats, wigs, stumps, balls and pads and afterwards a picture was printed out for fans. The #PinkTest also saw fans nab a pink scarf for a donation to the McGrath Foundation. Inside the grounds fans were given free green and gold headbands to wipe away the hot Aussie summer sweat while giveaways and offers surrounded the concourses in the stadiums.

The Outfield Zone at the MCG

The Outfield Zone at the MCG

SCG photo opportunity for fans with the 'team'

SCG photo opportunity for fans with the ‘team’

McGrath Foundation scarf and headband

McGrath Foundation scarf and headband

MILO Tent at the SCG.

MILO Tent at the SCG.

Fans line up to grab their free sunnies and radios

Fans line up to grab their free sunnies and radios

 

CWC 2015 Bus

CWC 2015 Bus

Pink Stumps Day McGrath Foundation Tent at the SCG

Pink Stumps Day McGrath Foundation Tent at the SCG

Pink Stumps Day McGrath Foundation at the SCG

Pink Stumps Day McGrath Foundation at the SCG

Cricket Australia comps inside the SCG

Cricket Australia comps inside the SCG

Fans who were Commonwealth Bank account holders could also pick up a pair of yellow wayfarer style sunglasses and an in-ear radio if they showed their bank card to the promo kids walking around the ground. The in-ear radio was an impressive piece of tech that let fans listen to the TV and radio coverage while at the game. Fans also had the chance to win cash from the bank for showing their mug and free sunnies on the big screen.

Free sunglasses and in ear radios for fans at each Test match

Free sunglasses and in ear radios for fans at each Test match

Sunnies comp at The Gabba, Brisbane

Sunnies comp at The Gabba, Brisbane

 

In Brisbane there were a few ground competitions for fans where they had to hit a cricket ball into a big blow up space on the Gabba field and just like in the other cities each Big Bash League team had their own tent giving away freebies while signing up new members. At the MCG for day one of the third test, Cricket Australia even let fans trial the Cricket Australia LIVE app which let fans watch the Channel Nine coverage on their smartphone or tablet anywhere in Australia but also at the ground. Every ground also had Victoria Bitter and Carlton Mid Strength deals and free lanyards that were given out at the gates. The Sydney test even had a clubhouse like area called the CommBank Cricket Clubhouse for fans who had been chosen to upgrade into the ‘best seats in the house’. Each stadium’s social media engagement plan encouraged fans to tweet or post in a picture of themselves with the Toyota sponsor #Ohwhatafeeling. The REDFROGS crew at the Sydney test also have to be applauded for coming round every 30 minutes and spraying fans with fresh water to keep them cool. The OPSM tent gave away free sunglass wipes while also offering to wipe away the gunk on your own sunnies.

Cricket Australia LIVE app

Cricket Australia LIVE app

The #ohwhatafeeling social media fun at each ground

The #ohwhatafeeling social media fun at each ground

SCG CommBank Club House

SCG CommBank Club House

Watching Day 5 of the MCG test on the Cricket Australia LIVE app

Watching Day 5 of the MCG test on the Cricket Australia LIVE app

Beer sponsor deals with lanyard at the gates to each match

Beer sponsor deals with lanyard at the gates to each match

Free sunglass wipes from OPSM and sunglass wipe down

Free sunglass wipes from OPSM and sunglass wipe down

OPSM Tent staff wiping down fans sunnies at the SCG

OPSM Tent staff wiping down fans sunnies at the SCG

Red Frogs spraying the crowd with water

Red Frogs spraying the crowd with water

Melbourne Renegades BBL Tent at the MCG

Melbourne Renegades BBL Tent at the MCG

On field competition at the Gabba

On field competition at the Gabba

Cricket Australia, their sponsors and the stadiums all did a very good job of engaging fans during the Test series against India this summer and there can be a lot of ideas learned from these activations that other sporting teams and stadiums can use.

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