Fan Engagement for the 2015 AFL and NRL Grand Finals
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-
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-
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.
Both teams are also engaging fans via social with the Hawks catch cry hashtag being #PlayYourRole while the Eagles have #TheWestIsFinals and #GoEagles
The retiring AFL legends lap of honour is happening all over Victoria too. http://m.afl.com.au/lap-of-
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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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.
The Eagles also have a fan gallery here as well where fans can contribute their pics. http://m.westcoasteagles.com.
West Coast are using SnapChat to engage fans with press conferences and player chats as well.
10,000 fans flocked to Domain Stadium on Monday for the free opening training session.
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.
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 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-
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/
The NRL are launching Periscope TV at the Dally M Medal night too.
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
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.
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/
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.
More info here on the Cowboys banner and how fans are being asked to be involved.
The Cowboys are also hosting a free open training session for fans too.
The team are getting fans behind them on social.
Cowboys fans can even get their hands on these special NFLGF shirts
Away from Sydney, the Cowboys Leagues Club will be hosting a free 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.