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I Asked Every NRL Club Why I Should Become A Member…..Here Are The Responses

The NRL season is back soon and along with my fellow NRL and rugby league fans, I am pumped to be getting back out to games at a time when the game seems to be even bigger than ever…..but maybe it’s just Tina Turner singing in the background. Anyway…..

In an effort to see why I should become a member of an NRL club and what benefits each team offered their fans for the 2020 season, I sent an email under the alias Jack Gilmore (a combination of two of my favourite fictional film sports characters in Jackie Moon from Semi-Pro and Happy Gilmore from Happy Gilmore) to ask a couple of questions and see how teams would reply. (Note: Having worked with the majority of clubs in some capacity, I used an alias because if I used my real name they’d have caught on straight away and I wanted to get 100% honest and genuine replies).

I wanted to see the following:

  • Who responded the quickest
  • Who didn’t respond at all. Hopefully, they’d all reply. Every team needs every fan to sign up to increase memberships.
  • Why I should become a member of each club and who answered the specific question ‘Why Should I Become A Member of your club’
  • What benefits were included in memberships compared to others across the NRL
  • Who was persistent and followed up by trying to get the membership and sale finalized 
  • Who came across as genuine and authentic rather than an auto-reply response

Here are the results:

National Rugby League:

  • 11 of the 16 teams I emailed had replied with responses at the time of writing this blog post on Wednesday morning 4/3/2020.
  • Six teams replied with automatic responses within one minute of my email (these were Newcastle, NZ, Melbourne, Parramatta, Brisbane, and Gold Coast) with four of these following up afterward with more detailed responses. This was a simple way to both illustrate that the team had received the email, that the fan would get a reply soon and that they immediately received confirmation that their request was being actioned.
  • The Storm and Knights didn’t follow up on their initial emails saying they’d get back to me though which is fine as you’d assume that more than likely a fan would follow up with the auto-reply.
  • Not a single club sent a follow-up email when I had not responded within a week so it would be interesting to see how persistent they are before getting back to these potential fans to try to sign them up closer to the season start date. You have to be persistent. 
  • Only 8 of 16 actually bothered to answer my question about why I should support the team. Listening is vital. 

Response Times:

I sent an email out to every team’s membership email account at 10am on Tuesday the 25th of February which stated:

“Hello, 

I’m looking at becoming a member this year having recently relocated back home. 

Just a GA seat, one seat for me, cheapest, please.

What is the best reason to become a member of the club and why should I bother? 

Any incentives, deals, promos? What do you guys do for me as a member that’s good? 
Can you send me any details on membership packs and what I get in them too, please?
Thanks”

At the time of writing this on 4/3/2020, of the 16 teams I wrote to using their membership emails, only 11 of the clubs responded to my email asking about becoming a member.

I followed up with an email to the five who didn’t respond on Wednesday morning 4 March seeking to see about a reply to my initial email. It’s totally understandable that these emails can fall through the cracks but for someone wanting to sign up it’s imperative that this happens infrequently so as to avoid a potential lost sale and membership.

By Wednesday afternoon I had heard back from two more clubs so 13 of the 16 had responded by Wednesday afternoon.

Of the 11 teams who responded after my initial email:

  • Fastest response: 11 minutes from Parramatta. Brilliant.
  • 6 responded within 42 minutes
  • 8 responded on the same day
  • 10 responded within 1 day and a few hours
  • 8 actually answered the question I asked about why it’s worth becoming a member and why I should do that

I guess what was one thing that was interesting was that of the six teams who followed up instantly with automatic replies saying they’d get back to me ASAP, two of those (Melbourne and Newcastle) didn’t actually respond until I wrote back to them and then they did which was great to see.

An important thing to note is that I don’t think fans should expect a reply straight away and the clubs made mention of this in the automatic replies that they’d respond in one to two days. However, it is absolutely vital that all enquiries are actioned and the loop is closed sufficiently by replying to either get the fan over the line and bag the sale/membership and/or to collect the data (name/email) to follow up with at a later point when trying again whether that is next week, month or season. They’ve reached out to you and are halfway towards a sale. 

The following is the time the team responded along with the total time from

Lessons:

  • It is vital to follow up with everyone who contacts your business. And then follow up again….and again. Not harassing them and certainly not when they’ve told you to stop but you have to be persistent. Sometimes it’s a long game. They have made the effort to engage with you which means they are halfway there to a sale.
  • It’s great to have an automatic reply but if you don’t follow up these are pointless.
  • Being genuine and authentic will lead to a sale. The responses below where the membership team person went out of their way to tell me why I should sign up actually enticed me to think about doing just that if I lived locally to those clubs.
  • Answering the question that is asked cuts down time for both parties back and forth, gives the person what they’re after and highly likely leads to a sale as they have all the information to make an informed buying decision.
  • Asking to call or grab a number is important. The more info you can collect the better but also the chances of a sale are higher if you can speak to a person and state your case effectively and clearly in person or over the phone.
  • Never be afraid to upsell or talk about add-on’s and trying to sell other items. Sometimes the customer/fan doesn’t know what’s available and you might just have an even better deal for them plus bringing in more selling points leads to more sales. I was surprised that no one bothered to talk about hospitality or merchandise or try to push me with upselling to get even more bang for my buck (although perhaps that’s where they did listen as I mentioned I only wanted the cheapest GA ticket)
  • Not many asked me questions about my motivations for buying. That’s important as it can answer a lot of questions to round out a sale.
  • All in all, what a bargain these NRL memberships are! I can’t wait to get out to the grounds in 2020. 
  • I’d love to have seen the Tigers, Sharks and Panthers replies too however these memberships are available in the links if anyone wants to view them. They are equally impressive too. 
  • If you’re an NRL member sign up to your club and support the game. NRL has never been in a better position and as a hardcore fan myself I am pumped to be getting back out to the grounds.

Responses:

The following are the responses from each club along with some notes.

Parramatta Eels

Thank you for your email.

That’s great to hear you are interested in becoming a member!

I highly recommend our General Admission membership as I will list below what you receive in it.

Note: if you buy a full season general admission adult pass you receive a free junior up to the age of 18.

General Admission (11 games): unreserved

Adult: $200

Concession: $190

Junior: Free with full paying adult or $100 for an extra junior

Family: $400

Members pack:

Adult:

  • Cap
  • Keyring
  • Lanyard
  • Sticker set

Junior:

  • Lanyard
  • Sticker set
  • Junior cap

As being a 2020 member, you will also receive a range of benefits such as:

  • Integrated game day public transport
  • Access to the brand-new members offers program
  • Access to Members Lounge ’47
  • Access to Members’ loyalty program, including Member Loyalty Events
  • Access to cash-back member seat resale program (Reserved Seat Members only)
  • 10% discount off selected Eels home game tickets
  • BONUS! 15% discount at the Eels Online Store
  • Priority buying window for all Eels home games
  • Priority buying window for NRL major events
  • Member Event Invitations
  • Member-first club communication

I hope this helps you understand the way our memberships work in more detail.

Notes:

  • Super fast response
  • Loaded with info on memberships and inclusions
  • Actually sounds like the best membership to sign up to as well given all the benefits. Parra fans have it good there.

New Zealand Warriors

Thank you for your e-mail and we appreciate all of your support and interest in becoming a member for the 2020 season! We are eager for the upcoming 2020 season as the boys have been training extremely hard and are all in for a great season ahead, so we’d love to have you on board during this exciting time! The following options would be your General Admission memberships for the season and I’ve included the benefits that you receive as a member-

The Interchange (general admission) Membership Options are as follows-

–              Either 5, 9 or 18-ticket General Admission passes

                Full Season –  Flexi 5 game  ($85 in total)  

                                         Flexi 9 game  ($144 in total)                                                                                              

                                         Flexi 18 game ($270 in total)                                                       

–              Can spread all games across the season or use all at once with your friends and family

–              An adult membership pack which includes a CCC member’s cap, Vodafone Warriors bumper sticker, 2020 memberships pass and lanyard

–              Access to members-only online newsletter

–              Access to the members’ clubroom

–              10% ticket discount to Vodafone Warriors regular season home games at Mt Smart

–              10% merchandise discount at our super store or online at www.warriorsstore.co.nz

–              Second-priority ticketing access to NRL Finals and State of Origin

If you are able to attend every home game at Mt Smart Stadium, I would consider the Flexi 9 option for $144 for the season. Alternatively, if you needed a bit more flexible of an option and you are not able to attend all of the home games I’d suggest the Flexi 5 option for $85. If you plan on bringing someone else along to every game with you I’d consider the Flexi 18 for $270.

Thanks again Jack and please let me know if you have any other questions and I’d be happy to help.

Notes:

  • Provided options
  • Added a link
  • Added info on membership inclusions
  • Fantastic answer as to why I should sign on as a member

St. George Illawarra Dragons

Thanks for your email and interest in becoming a Red V Member.

Membership is the highest commitment a supporter can make to their club – which we reward for your direct financial contribution. All members would receive exclusive benefits including the best value for home game tickets and away ticket offers, discounts on Dragons merchandise, exclusive access to meet the team through member events, and chances to win member experiences and prizes! You can read more about our member benefits here.

Currently, all members who sign up by the 2nd March will be included on our annual Red V Member Wall. The yearly designed wall will show the names of all members who have signed up prior to that deadline and will be displayed at all Dragons home games and selected member events. Members will also receive exclusive access to an Anzac Day ticket pre-sale next week with 20% off tickets (along with existing 20% off all Dragons home game tickets) and a pre-sale for the NRL Grand Final later in March!

For information and images regarding your membership pack, please click here.

You would have multiple options regarding a GA seat – it would depend on how many games you’d get to throughout the year. Your options would include:

Flexi 3 GA for $70: Access to 3 Dragons home games between Kogarah or Wollongong

Wollongong Pass GA for $135: Access to 6 Dragons home games at Wollongong

Kogarah Plus GA for $135: Access to 5 Dragons home games at Kogarah and 1 at the SCG for Anzac Day

Full Season GA for $240: Access to all 12 Dragons home games

Let us know if you had any further questions.

Notes:

  • Provided a very good response to my question about why I should get a membership
  • Added a link to memberships
  • Provided different options
  • All members signed up before 2/3 also had the chance to be on the REDV wall too.

Sydney Roosters

Thank you for your email. Great to hear you are interested in becoming a Member.

Our coach Trent Robinson describes our Members as the foundation of our club. The support from our Members by turning up to games and paying Membership fees plays a big role in the club’s success.

If you are interested in general admission seating, the Bronze Membership is your best choice. The Membership costs $150, which includes access to 10 home games (8x SCG, 1 Gosford, 1 North Sydney Oval), which is a significant saving in comparison to purchasing a GA ticket ($30/game pre-sale) to every home game. As a Member, you can also purchase tickets with a 10% discount at Central Coast and 30% at SCG home games so that it is also more affordable to bring family and friends with you to games.

The bronze Membership is counted as a Ticketed Membership, which includes receiving your Membership card, lanyard, keyring, stickers and fixture magnet, and a coupon so that you can collect your choice of a cap, scarf or can cooler at a home game, Members BBQ, or from the Spring St entrance at Easts Leagues.

To purchase the Bronze Membership, please visit: https://am.ticketmaster.com/roosters/bronze-membership#/

Alternatively you can call us on 1300 327 871 to purchase your Membership.

Notes:

  • Answered my question about why its good to become a member
  • Provided link to the membership
  • Provided info on what’s included in membership packs

Canberra Raiders

Thanks for your email. Please use the link below to find all our exclusive member benefits for season 2020. Due to a large influx of members this year we recommend purchasing your membership at some point today in order to ensure that you receive a membership pack.

https://www.raiders.com.au/membership/packages/full-season/bronze-general-admission/

We hope to see you as part of the Raiders family in season 2020.

Notes:

  • Provided a link to memberships

Brisbane Broncos

It is great to hear you are looking to become a member with us for the 2020 season!

With regard to your requirements, were you looking at a full season membership or possibly a 4 game membership?

A great reason to become a member with us this year is that we strongly believe 2020 will be a massive year for the boys on the field, and we think it’s not one to be missed. Aside from that though by becoming a member for 2020 you also gain access to a myriad of benefits which include; discounted home game tickets through Ticketek for family and friends, pre-sale access to NRL finals games involving us, access to discounts in our Team Store, plus access to offers from our many sponsors and partners.

By also becoming a member you have access to exclusive member content via our Member Mail email which is sent to you each week. This content also includes member only competitions that you can enter which gives you access to prizes and experiences that non-members and fans can’t get.

For more information on all of our membership packages you can head to our membership website via the link here. If you would like to discuss any of our options as well you can certainly give us a call anytime

Notes:

  • Answered the question quite well and got me excited for the season ahead.
  • Provided heaps of information and a membership link
  • Told me about membership incentives and information like competitions and merch
  • A side note on this. I bought my Broncos membership for 2020 last week and they were equally switched on to helping me out as they were to helping old mate ‘Jack’ out lol. 

North Queensland Cowboys

Hey Jake,

I have link below our Gold Star Unreserved Membership, which is our GA product.

Feel free to have a look over the inclusion and if you have any questions let me know

https://www.cowboys.com.au/membership/packages/full-season/gold-star-unreserved/

Notes:

  • Far out, I love the Cowboys and can’t wait to get up to the new stadium for the opening game but….
  • They got my fake name wrong! haha this actually made me laugh so kudos for that.

  • A few grammatical errors but who cares really about these at least they responded!

  • Didn’t tell me why it’d be great to support the team or any benefits

  • Provided a link to memberships which was useful to look over and get excited about.

  • The most glaring omission is the fact that YOU HAVE A BRAND NEW STADIUM TO TELL ME ABOUT BUT MADE NO MENTION OF IT! A key thing a fan would want to know about. 

  • Still, these things happen and no doubt they are under the pump with the brand new stadium and doing a superb job in getting everything ready for the opening game. As a proud North Queenslander supporter, I still bought a jersey this year too. Up the Cowboys!

Manly Sea Eagles

We have GA Memberships for $205 for the season. This includes all 10 Lottoland home games.

The way our GA seating works is on a first come first served basis, so you would need to secure your own seat.

With this specific pack you have the option of receiving either a cap, beanie or scarf, as well as a Member card, lanyard, sticker and keyring.

One of the best benefits is the cost. A Membership works out much cheaper than purchasing tickets game by game.

In addition to this your receive a 10% discount on merchandise, pre-sale access to different Rugby Leagues events such as NRL finals and Origin. We also hold Member only events throughout the season too, such as our Members Christmas BBQ where all players are in attendance 

That is kind of our Membership in a nutshell, I guess most importantly though it’s the best way to support the Club that you follow!

Please see the link below for additional information about the specific pack it sounds would be most suitable for you:

https://www.seaeagles.com.au/membership/packages/general-admission/the-47s-general-admission/

Another thing to note, is we also have 3 or 5 game GA Memberships if you don’t think you’ll make all 10 games.

Notes:

  • Provided extra info and insights
  • Provided link to membership
  • Told me why its good to support the club
  • Talked about the benefits
  • Told me what incentives and inclusions are in the packs

Gold Coast Titans

Thank you for reaching out to the Membership Team upon your move back home!

If you’re looking to attend home games this year at Cbus Super Stadium, having a Membership with the club is the best financial option in which to do so and you receive an exclusive Member’s cap and pack. In addition to this, if you wish to purchase additional tickets you receive a 15% Member’s discount, an invitation to exclusive member events, free public transport on game-day, a Parkwood Social Membership, and free feeder club entry, amongst other benefits.

We’d love to have you onboard for our fight in 2020 so please see below for a link to the packages:

GA Membership:

https://am.ticketmaster.com/goldcoasttitans/Packages/generaladmission#/

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to respond to this email or alternatively give us a call via our hotline as we’d be more than happy to help.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Notes:

  • Provided membership link
  • Answered question about the cheapest option
  • Told me why it’s good to be a member

South Sydney

Thank you for contacting the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

I have attached the link with details of the General Admission Member Pack https://membership.rabbitohs.com.au/general-admission/.

This Membership is a Full Season Member Pass, meaning that you will have access to all Rabbitohs NSW Home Games Plus Reciprocal Away Games and pick your seat in our General Admission Seating each Match. 

-You will receive a Cap/Scarf (Member’s Choice Item)

-Membership Card

-Bumper Sticker

-Fixture Magnet

-Lanyard

-$20 online merchandise voucher

-10% off Rabbitohs Merch

-Rabbitohs Rewards Pass

-Exclusive Sponsor Offers

-Entry to the 2020 Member’s Tipping Competition

-Access to P&O Member’s Deck at post-match functions

-Choose from a selection of players on your Member card

Scroll through the link to view these items visually.

If you don’t think you are going to be present at all the Home Games, we do have the option of purchasing a Flexi 3 or 5 game Membership which will grant you access to either 3 or 5 Home Games depending on what suits you best.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Notes:

  • Provided merch info and inclusions in the membership pack
  • Provided link to the memberships
  • Didn’t tell me why I should support the team

Canterbury

Thank you for contracting the Bulldogs Membership Team.

That’s good to hear mate  that you are interested in becoming a Bulldogs Membership for the 2020 season.

We are only a couple of days out from our first game of the season and the Club and teams need you and your support for the 2020 season.

Our cheapest General Admission membership is the Blue Zone membership for $145.

The following link contains all the information regarding the Blue zone membership: https://www.bulldogs.com.au/membership/packages/general-admission/blue-zone/

Could you please give me a day and time that suits you best so I can give you a call to renew your membership for 2020?

If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call back on 1300 769 164 or simply respond to this email.

Notes:

  • Provided a membership link
  • Provided a number to call
  • Provided the cheapest option
  • Answered question about membership
  • Asked to follow up with me with a call

Melbourne Storm 

Thank you for your email

Below is a link to our membership packages

https://www.melbournestorm.com.au/membership/packages/

What is your best contact number to call you on regarding this

Looking forward to hearing back from you

Notes:

  • Asked to call me to follow up which was good to see. A genuine call gets a higher chance of a sale every time.
  • Linked in info on membership info
  • Didn’t answer the question about why I should become a member of the Storm but would likely do that over phone

Newcastle Knights

He is a link to our membership website https://knightshub.com.au/membership/, here you will be able to browse the different memberships we have on offer and choose what best suits you. Each of our membership offers discounts on merchandise and ticketing on top of the membership pack that you will receive.

The greatest part about becoming a member is showing your support and becoming a part of a club you feel passionate about.

Please let me know if I can help you with anything further.

Kind regards,

Notes:

  • Answered the question quite well here
  • Provided links and info

Cronulla

  • No response to the initial email
  • No response to follow up email

Penrith

  • No response to the initial email
  • No response to follow up email

Wests Tigers

  • No response to the initial email
  • No response to follow up email

A note on Cronulla, Penrith and Wests Tigers. Even if these three caught on that this wasn’t a real member inquiry the fact that the vast majority are all cut and paste automatic reply emails means it doesn’t take much effort to just reply. The emails have no doubt fallen into the spam, opened and closed or just forgotten about folder. Even after I bothered to follow up with another email. However, whatever the case if you’re a fan of these clubs and myself having done their games days, I’d still 100% sign up for a membership of these clubs as they’re all doing exceptional things in the community and on game days. Plus….suburban grounds, gotta love that!

 

BREWCON 2019: And The Crowd Goes Wild Q&A Recap

Quick post BREWCON note to say thanks to both the Independent Brewers Association and staff for the opportunity to run a session at the conference and to my fabulous panel Nick Truelson from the Western Bulldogs, Danielle Allen from Two Birds Brewing Co, Jenna Godley from Colonial Brewing and Amy Bradshaw from Essendon Football Club who gave up their time to contribute their knowledge, experience and ideas around fan engagement, sports business and craft beer to help continue the growth of the Aussie craft brewing industry.

Plenty of good feedback after the event from those in the beer and sports world too so very happy with that. Well done, thank you all.

More on the Q&A panel here: http://brewcon.org.au/2019-program/ and http://brewcon.org.au/sessions/and-the-crowd-goes-wild/

Keep challenging yourself, keep setting goals and keep ticking them off. Damn it’s a good feeling.

 

150+ Fan Engagement and Fan Experience Articles From August 2016

Here’s a quick round up of 150+ interesting fan engagement and fan experience reads from the sports business world from the month of August 2016.

  1. How the Cleveland Browns Made Their Wi-Fi Network Ready for Game Day
  2. Roland Duchatelet’s Charlton are a club in crisis – but it’s a brilliant time to be a fan
  3. Manchester City unveil futuristic plans to build glass tunnel at the Etihad for fans to glimpse star players
  4. Jets Raise the Bar with Gameday Upfront
  5. Atlanta Hawks to host Shark Tank-esque marketing competition
  6. UberTailgate: Uber teams up with Miami Dolphins to help NFL fans party before games for $250
  7. Gatorade is running a Serena Williams Snapchat video game ad
  8. NFL Selects Lagardère Sports To Help Grow Fanbase In Germany
  9. LA Galaxy and Laduma Unveil VR Series: Here’s Why and How It Looked
  10. eBook: Understanding Sports Fandom, Sponsorships, and Enhancing the Fan Experience – A Guide for Sports Marketers
  11. SportTechie Startup Profile Series: ProHero Connects Fans, Friends And Athletes For Unique Experiences
  12. PSU Athletics EON Sports VR Launch VR Channel
  13. TU expands game-day experience for fans
  14. Here’s How To Walk On Center Court At The US Open
  15. Oklahoma stadium on schedule for first home football game
  16. Hockey Equipment Company Releases Skills App To Help Young Players Learn From The Pros
  17. SportTechie Startup Profile Series: Pico.Buzz Is An In-Stadium Fan Engagement Platform
  18. How Bayern Munich Approached The Launch Of Their Upgraded Apps With A Global Mindset
  19. The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets Bring Fan Engagement to a New Level with SAP and Phizzle
  20. New Orleans Saints unveil new high-edition end zone boards at Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  21. FIVB DELIVERS IMPRESSIVE SPORTS PRESENTATION MASTERCLASS AT RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES
  22. ‘Ultimate Fan Experience’: Seahawks stadium upgrades sure to please the 12’s
  23. Swansea City are ‘in talks’ over expanding the capacity of the Liberty Stadium
  24. NextVR and FOX Sports to Broadcast Bundesliga Opening Match Live in Virtual Reality
  25. Investigating the role of fan club membership on perceptions of team brand equity in football
  26. Infographic: How College Sports Fans Engage
  27. FAN MATTERS: HEART OF ATLANTA
  28. Here’s How the Rams Are Promoting Their Return to Los Angeles
  29. The Top MLB Teams on Facebook & Instagram of July 2016
  30. U.S. Open Draws Crowds to Times Square With Promise of Mega-Selfies
  31. Ford Launches New App Built For Fans To Consume Their Latest Racing Innovations In Virtual Reality
  32. A Philadelphia Union fan wants to bring Ben Franklin to games
  33. Norwich City FC and ADI Transform the Matchday Experience with World Football’s First Revolving LED Stadium Screen
  34. Fan Experience Improvements for 2016 Football Season
  35. Startup nations | Israeli companies hitting a homer in sports tech world
  36. Galaxy score when it comes to fan experience in Southern California
  37. Houston Rockets and Anaheim Ducks Top JD Power Report
  38. Mercedes-Benz Stadium set to deliver SEC fans unparalleled experience
  39. Predators explore dramatic overhaul of Bridgestone Arena
  40. Behind the Scenes at the Dallas Cowboys’ New Home
  41. City, Cougars making improvements to CN Centre
  42. #ChirpChirpFriday Begins Second Season of Engagement
  43. Dos Equis Tackles College Football
  44. Time to settle the score: who has the best football fans?
  45. How Pete Sampras Is Engaging Tennis Fans At The US Open With “The Pro Walk”
  46. Coca-Cola Consolidated and Experience Bring VIP Experience to Darlington NASCAR Fans for Labor Day
  47. Policy change: Nats fans no longer have to wait for stoppages to go to and from their seats
  48. Watch: Virtual Reality Perfectly Replicating Croke Park Fan Matchday Experience
  49. American Express Helps Tennis Fans – Rookies and Veterans Alike – Ace the 2016 US Open Like a Pro
  50. Newly installed video scoreboard to enhance fan experience at Events Center
  51. More College and University Retrofits Happen in Real Time
  52. Minnesota Vikings Open U.S. Bank Stadium With Ambitious Video Plan
  53. Here’s the Best Pro Sports Experience for Your Money
  54. Dawgs Fan Experience One Of The Best In North America
  55. New York Islanders Daily Links: Fan Experience Survey
  56. Red Bulls Rank Highest On Fan Satisfaction
  57. Kansas University Adds Drones To Their Practice Regimen
  58. NextVR To Provide Live International Virtual Reality Viewing For Bundesliga Opener This Friday
  59. Report: Atlanta Falcons teaming with Daktronics, IBM to build best stadium ever
  60. Special Olympics partners with Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers for unique fan experience
  61. New SeatGeek Open Platform Hoping To Make The Sports Ticket Purchasing Experience Digitally Ubiquitous
  62. MLS teams rank highly in JD Power fan experience survey
  63. Avaya network takes fan experience to a new level
  64. Sean Doolittle: My eight favorite MLB bullpens
  65. NEW FOOD AND IN-STADIUM OPTIONS ON TAP AT NRG
  66. Fans will be able to use SunPass to park at Dolphins Stadium
  67. Football: Stadium enhancements designed for fan enjoyment
  68. Tripleplay on product interoperability in stadium installs
  69. Manchester City launches new campaign profiling the stories behind its fans
  70. Engaging The Multi-Channel Fan With The Dallas Mavericks
  71. Mark Bradley: What type of #leadership do we need for a #fanengagement culture?
  72. The ‘Netflix of Sport’ is the game changer everyone has been waiting for
  73. How Cricket Australia uses content to engage its audience
  74. Heineken launches match-finding platform so US fans can catch European soccer
  75. Using Technology to Improve Fan Engagement at Birmingham City Football Club
  76. Beyond The Impression: A Guide to Effective Digital Sponsorship Activation
  77. Virgin Media ‘disrupts’ sports sponsorship model by subsidising away ticket prices
  78. Adidas gives football fans the chance to design clubs’ third kits with Creator Studio
  79. The Packers rode their tiny bikes to training camp
  80. FanVox Study – “The Business of Football & Fan Engagement”
  81. FAN ENGAGEMENT & WHY THE NATIONAL LEAGUE’S FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT
  82. Wilson launches Connected X American football and blurs Virtual and Actual reality
  83. Southampton eyes international growth with overhauled digital strategy
  84. Fan engagement means free beer
  85. Why the Tech-Savvy Fan Is the Carolina Panthers’ New MVP
  86. Oilers disband Octane cheerleading squad after nearly six years
  87. SPORTS LEAGUES FIND DEEPER FAN ENGAGEMENT WITH FANTASY SPORTS
  88. TD Garden and Boston Bruins aim for home ice advantage with SAS® Analytics
  89. HOME SWEET HOME: WEST HAM’S LONDON MOVE
  90. Five Key Trends That Are Driving the Business of Sports
  91. Major League Soccer Is Perfecting The “Beautiful Game” For The Social Age
  92. 7 Emerging Tech Trends That Are Changing the Sports Marketing Game
  93. MORE THAN TITLES AS JUVENTUS TICKET RECORDS BREAK
  94. FOOTBALL SEASON-TICKET SALES ON THE RISE
  95. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs NRL Fan Experience Review
  96. BASKETBALLSCOTLAND GO FOR CALEDONIA PRIDE
  97. Arsenal FC launches new app for young fans
  98. #FanPowerSession: Serie B
  99. The NFL will get a Snapchat Discover channel as part of a new two-year deal
  100. Nottingham Forest announce 888sport sponsorship deal
  101. The Trends that are Redefining the Match Day Experience1
  102. U.S. Bank Stadium: Tech experience designed to entice fans
  103. POKEMON ARE GO!
  104. NBC To Create Digital Olympics Content With Facebook & Instagram Collaboration
  105. Tech boosts the fan experience at U.S. Bank Stadium
  106. Fan sociology: why fans (mis-)behave
  107. Liverpool FC first team in the Premier League to give fans 360° experience
  108. Manchester City announce new fan engagement
  109. The Power Shift To Consumers: Putting Olympic Fans In Control
  110. Chris Jack: Cheaper tickets would make Scottish football better value for fans and more attractive to a TV audience
  111. Pushwoosh Enables San Diego Chargers to Bolt into Digital Lead for Fan Engagement
  112. Charlton Athletic Q&A: After club told fan to collect season ticket with a behavioural agreement – just what has gone wrong at The Valley?
  113. SportTechie Startup Profile Series: ScoreMore Unites The Brand, Fan And Team During Games
  114. LA Galaxy Are Creating A Six-Part Virtual Reality Series That Takes Fans Behind The Scenes
  115. Dodgers, MLB Invest in Xperiel
  116. Can Pokemon Go make baseball fun again?
  117. From Tijuana to Dortmund: LAFC mining soccer world for best ideas
  118. Seahawks and FGI Announce Food and Beverage Enhancements at CenturyLink Field
  119. ARSENAL ULTIMATE FAN EXPERIENCE
  120. Fans and Customer Agree: Mobility Is the Key to Loyalty
  121. SIDEARM Sports And LISNR Partner To Help College Programs Engage Their Fans On Mobile Devices During Games
  122. Column: The broadcast studio, a vital piece of the sports fan experience
  123. For a true hockey experience in St. Cloud, have a drink
  124. Responsible Fans Rewarded at Watkins Glen International
  125. Atlanta Braves team up with Comcast to bring 100 Gbps to new ballpark
  126. A Behind The Scenes Look At Running Social Media For The Dallas Cowboys
  127. Boston Bruins To Use SAS Analytics To Become Smarter About The Fan Experience
  128. Southampton eyes international growth with overhauled digital strategy
  129. Australian Open courtside seating plan will give wealthy fans close-up experience
  130. Schwartz: Red Bull Arena Is The Best Venue You Don’t Know About
  131. University Of Miami Sports Teams To Be Featured In EON Sports VR
  132. New look, sound to greet fans inside Roncalli gym
  133. Wellington’s top craft beers for Hyundai A-League fans
  134. Tackling Tech: NFL, Partners Launch Fan Pleasers for 2016 Season
  135. A day in the life of… Head of Digital at Formula E
  136. Dolphins’ new grass field designed to thrive while canopy keeps fans cool in shade
  137. AFL players could agree to NBA and NFL-style media access in new pay deal
  138. STEELERS SHOW FANS EXTRA CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE LOVE DURING TRAINING CAMP
  139. Huskers take strides to make ticket buying more convenient for fans
  140. Portland Timbers examining new stadium expansion plan that could add 3,500 seats
  141. How NextVR is advancing virtual reality adoption and helping to define the future of TV
  142. Arsenal in engagement push as it launches first Premier League app aimed squarely at kids
  143. Euroleague Basketball Hires Digital Analytics Company To Drill Down On Fan Engagement
  144. REWARDING LOYAL FANS KEEPS NEW YORK JETS FANS COMING BACK TO THE STADIUM
  145. Why Sports Teams Must Raise Their Game To Keep Fans On Side
  146. The Formula One teams who are leading the pack on social engagement
  147. New York Islanders Fan Experience Quick Wins For Barclays
  148. Ten of the best non-Premier League family friendly football clubs
  149. Here Are 5 Amazing Things About the Minnesota Vikings’ New Stadium
  150. Bucs fans get first look at Ray Jay renovations
  151. US Open as wide open as ever
  152. FAN ENGAGEMENT: FROM MATCH DAY TO EVERY DAY
  153. QPR announce specially priced tickets to commemorate League Cup anniversary
  154. Creator Studio gives fans the chance to design third kits for adidas clubs
  155. HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS TRANSFORMING THE SPORTS FAN EXPERIENCE
  156. Digital Domain Studio And The World Surf League Partner To Give Fans A 360-Degree VR Experience
  157. ‘Vikings Voyage’ fan experience opens Friday
  158. Penn State Athletics launching virtual reality channel
  159. Promoting fan engagement: An exploration of the fundamental motives for sport consumption amongst premier league football spectators

 

 

How Sports Teams Are Using Virtual Reality To Enhance The Fan Experience

Even though still in it’s infancy, the rise and popularity of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is permeating into every industry in the world from video games and education to health and the arts with the sports business leading the way in a number of exciting areas.

Teams and stadiums, predominately from the US but also in the UK, Europe and here in Australia are realising the potential of AR/VR to engage their fans as this is being seen as “the next evolution of human story telling at a whole new level” and we all understand the value of storytelling for driving home positive and deeper fan experiences. 

This blog takes a look at what sports businesses, teams and stadiums are doing around the world to engage their fans and enhance the fan experience with virtual and augmented reality technology.

Have you seen something else or think I’ve missed a great idea in this space? Hit me up on @MrBlairHughes on Twitter and share what else is happening in this VR/AR world.

USA

HeadcaseVR

This company collects “depth data capture” which uses 360-degree cameras and sensors to help teams access new data and analytics like how many seconds a football was in the air for or how fast it was thrown.

San Francisco Giants MLB

The Giants have teamed up with Jaunt to produce content using 360 degree video technology. At home games, fans have the chance to experience virtual reality by checking out the Giants social media centre where they have the opportunity to try on Samsung Gear VR headsets to experience the club’s new VR. The VR experience allows members to feel like they are at a training game and get an intimate, field level view of the action. Fans are also able to turn 360-degrees and feel like they are in the infield for practice.

Giants VR

Giants VR

Giants VR

Giants VR

Boston Red Sox MLB

The Red Sox have embraced virtual reality by having new virtual reality booths at Fenway Park this season. Red Sox fans have a chance to see the team up close and in 360 degrees. The technology made its debut recently with three dugout-themed booths stationed through the ballpark with each having several VR headsets for fans to get closer into the action. The club have admitted that the future is uncertain as to how they will use VR but that it’s an important piece of technology.

US Soccer

Looking to change their logo, US soccer released the final design on Google Cardboard for fans to experience this in virtual reality.

Rukkus

This new app lets fans browse and buy tickets using virtual reality.

Rukkus

Rukkus

Rukkus

Rukkus

NASCAR

Making it’s debut recently at the Daytona NASCAR,  the XFINITY Virtual Reality Experience simulates an on-track experience for fans.  Fans are able to experience what it’s like to drive a race car and experience the action.

NASCAR has also put fans behind the wheels in this new Mountain Dew virtual reality activation.

 

Cleveland Caveliers NBA

The Cavs teamed up with Budweiser recently to venture into the realm of fully immersive, 360-degree VR videos. The Cavs gave away a limited number of specially designed Budweiser-cardboard viewing headsets to fans at games recently and represents the first team in the NBA to have VR natively built into their official team mobile app and one of the only teams in the league to offer exclusive VR content. The technology debuted with an exclusive VR video that took fans inside the game day experience.

Cavs VR

Cavs VR

US OPEN 2016 Tennis

Fans at the US Open were able to try out this virtual reality experience which saw them try to return a serve from Maria Sharapova

NFL

The NFL teams and stadiums have been rolling out some impressive VR experiences recently with the 50th Super Bowl no exception. VR demos at SB50 enabled fans to transport onto the sidelines, beneath huddles and into locker rooms at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Here’s a quick look at the VR experiences from the Jaunt Super Bowl booth.

On one of my recent US fan experience treks I also played around with SAP’s 49er’s Quarterback Challenge kiosk at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara where fans can use VR to feel what it’s like to be a quarterback under pressure from a tough defence.

49ers VR

49ers VR

49ers VR

49ers VR

49ers VR

49ers VR

New England Patriots

The Patriots have released this new VR experience for Patriots fans that was launched by Google Cardboard, in partnership with VISA and Bank of America, named “Travel Inside The Game“.

The idea was to immerse fans in the reality of last year’s SuperBowl winners, using a 360° video experience that saw 10,000 of the headsets handed out by the club.

NY Jets

The Jets have been experimenting with VR tech since the last NFL season and which has seen fans become immersed into the training sessions.

Here is a good chat with the NY Jets Seth Rabinowitz did with Fanalyse on their audioBoom channel talking about the Jets use of virtual reality. 

Boxing

Through virtual reality, the Jacobs Vs Ouillin bout was broadcast live to fans in VR through the Haymaker 360 App. The company used multiple cameras to create a 360-degree video where viewers were able to pan in all directions and view the match from different perspectives as well as access exclusive VR content on Haye’s workout and everyday life.

Horse Racing- Kentucky Derby

NBC Sports Group teamed up with NextVR at the Kentucky Derby to produce the first-ever live VR horse-racing experience.

NextVR Kentucky Derby

NextVR Kentucky Derby

 

College Basketball

Virtual Reality company NextVR teamed up with Fox Sports to live stream the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games of this year’s Big East tournament.

NextVR

NextVR

http---mashable.com-wp-content-uploads-2015-10-grvr0897

 

NHL

For the NHL All Stars games, the NHL gave fans who could not attend a second chance to experience each event and feel like they were there.

First up was this compilation piece from the 2016 Honda NHL® All-Star Game. Utilizing the Jaunt ONE camera to provide a full 360-degree VR experience of the action, fans received an on-ice position at the Honda NHL® Skills Competition™, a seat on the glass for the NHL All-Star Game and other unique vantage points, including standing next to the press at media day and a look inside the locker room.

LA Kings

Last October I checked out the Staples Centre and the LA Kings fan engagement and got to trial the PictureMe activation from Toshiba. The augmented reality activation enabled me to have the mascot transformed into a picture of us both. Toshiba states that it is bringing a mobile focus to basketball fans’ experiences at Los Angeles’s Staples Center by rolling out an augmented reality application that curates true-to-life pictures of team players with game attendees, allowing guests to enjoy a memorable photo opportunity.

LA Kings VR

LA Kings VR

LA Kings VR

LA Kings VR

LA Kings VR

LA Kings VR

NY Rangers

The Rangers have a goal set up that sees fans try to defend the goals as pucks fly in from the star players as the fan wears a VR head set. 

NY Rangers VR

NY Rangers VR

NY Rangers VR

NY Rangers VR

Stanford University- STRIVR

Stanford University teamed up with STRIVR to develop a virtual reality simulator that is revolutionizing sports training.

MMA- Bellator

Bellator plans to go behind the scenes and let viewers experience fighters’ pre-bout rituals, practice rounds and training regimens.

MMA VR

MMA VR

MMA VR

MMA VR

 

UEFA- Euro2016

UEFA has teamed up with Nokia and their OZO professional VR Camera PC-01 to give VR viewers a 360-degree shot throughout the stadium during multiple games, including some of the England, Wales and Northern Ireland matches.

Euro 2016

Euro 2016

England

MCFC

Manchester City partnered with LiveLike and Sky Sports to bring City fans in London, New York and Melbourne closer to the game through virtual reality. LiveLike had fans put on a Samsung Gear VR headset and enter into a virtual stadium where they could maneuver to see the live broadcast, replays, stats and highlights.

MCFC VR

MCFC VR

 

Liverpool FC

LFC fans from all over the world were able to experience YNWA in full 360 by clicking and dragging the screen below.

England Rugby

England set up a VR experience for fans at the Six Nations recently whereby fans could try out a Samsung ‘School of Rugby’ game on the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Gear VR headsets with the game challenging their reaction speeds against rugby stars Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio.

England: Wear The Rose

England allowed fans back in 2014 to experience virtual reality with Oculus and let fans train with the England rugby team. The Oculus Rift experience put fans right in the middle of the action and gave them a 360 degree view throughout.

Australia

Cronulla Sharks NRL

The Cronulla Sharks unveiled their ‘SharkPark3D’ virtual reality where fans can experience the home ground with Google Cardboard’s head set.

SharkPark3D Virtual Reality

SharkPark3D Virtual Reality

SharkPark3D Virtual Reality

SharkPark3D Virtual Reality

F1 Australian Grand Prix

Apart from offering a wealth of fan experiences, the AUSGP also featured a virtual reality ‘BIG HELMET’ this year which let fans immerse themselves in the helmet of a Formula 1 driver.

AUSGP Big Helmet

AUSGP Big Helmet

Port Adelaide Power AFL

The Power in conjunction with Jumpgate Virtual Reality have created a virtual classroom where players are being educated on skills through the use of  VR head sets. Port has filmed training sessions with three dimensional cameras, with the vision transferred to 3D goggles which offer 360 degree views, sighted through virtual reality goggles. “They (players) can use the goggles and all of a sudden be almost playing football while they’re on the couch, which is helping them educate,” Power coach Ken Hinkley said on Friday.

PAFC

PAFC

Port have also developed the PAFC Renault Virtual Reality Zone which allows fans to use virtual reality to run out through the banner from the team sheds.

New Zealand

All Blacks

The All Blacks Rugby Union team partnered with AIG to allow fans to experience the HAKA up close and personal with these AIG Haka 360º Experience viewer headsets that were given away to 5000 fans.

Australian Open 2016 Tennis

As part of the AO Social Shack, there was a virtual reality activation with the Aus Open 360 World ‘lab’ which let fans experience a sensory explosion from all angles of the on court action.

AUS Open VR

AUS Open VR

AUS Open VR

AUS Open VR

AUS Open VR

AUS Open VR

Netherlands

PSV Eindhoven

The Dutch football champions launched an immersive virtual reality experience which puts fans at the heart of last seasons title winning celebrations.

The new virtual reality film by PSV Eindhoven gave fans from all over the world the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the players, as they re-live the scenes of when they won the championship title last season.

100+ Fan Engagement and Fan Experience Articles From April 2016

FE Monthly Round Up Articles

FE Monthly Round Up Articles

 

Here’s a quick round up of 100+ interesting fan engagement and fan experience reads from the sports business world from the month of April 2016.

Plenty of food for thought here such as the implantable microchips being rolled out to one Argentinian clubs fan base. Now that’s one way to collect fan data!

1. 5 Sports Stadiums That Score Big With CX

2. Here’s how a Charlotte startup helped launch Turner Classic Movies’ fan club

3. Churchill Downs Launches New Mobile App To Enhance Fan Experience At The Racetrack

4. This Company Lets Sports Fans Know If a Stadium Ran Out of Hot Dogs

5. 2016 NFL Draft Fan Experiences Feature Smartspeed Timing System

6. USL Productions Aims to Elevate Fan Experience

7. Trisect Wins AOR Duties for The Chicago Bears

8. Bengals give loyal fan draft-day experience

9. THE RELAUNCHED RUGBY.COM.AU WEBSITE SHOWS FANS RUGBY FROM ALL SIDES

10. Mountain Hawk Rewards app implemented to increase engagement

11. Pirate fans excited about stadium renovations

12. Express your Virginia Tech spirit with the new Hokiemoji keyboard

13. Spotless Stadium voted best AFL venue for fan experience, beating Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium

14. Dolphins Season Ticket Members To Receive Exclusive NFL Draft Experience

15. Bud Light Levels Up The Esports Fan Experience With The Introduction Of A New All-Star Program

16. Responsible NASCAR Fans Rewarded at Richmond International Raceway

17. Hornets jazz up fan experience to improve home court advantage

18. Sports Fans and Social Media, Part 2: Perils, Pitfalls and Best Practices

19. How We Got Here: Major League Sports And The New Frontier Of Broadcasting

20. New $3.3M video boards at Mackay, Lawlor go before Regents

21. Redblacks add ‘experience zone’ to TD Place

22. Can the FIFA Interactive World Cup fan experience compare to a live game?

23. What is one trend you’re watching in sports facility design and construction?

24. Toronto Raptors fans flock to Jurassic Park for ‘crazy’ experience

25. The Detroit Pistons Are Using Traditional Emails In A New Way To Engage Fans

26. IoT disrupts the Tour de France

27. Why Rutgers coach Chris Ash wants to enhance the student-fan experience

28. NBA teams can still pack in the fans, even if they don’t win

29. Fans flock to Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for fast cars, food, fun

30. SportTechie Startup Profile Series: Dasdak Turns Stadium Mobile Services Into Mobile Sales

31. Warriors Ground Tailgate— a foodie, fan-friendly experience

32. Dallas Mavericks Head Into The Playoffs With A New Emoji Keyboard App

33. Video Walls by Userful Enhance Fan Experience at Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena

34. Here’s why football clubs are in a digital arms race

35. Improving the fan experience at The PLAYERS Championship

36. Why winning global fan league has become a priority for football clubs

37. 4 Data Points All Sports Teams Should Be Using

38. ARU CEO says no alternative to Allianz

39. Jersey Over Apron: Virtual fan experience

40. Sporting KC Uphoria app expands to include new ticketing features in 2016

41. Fandom Daily Changes Fantasy Sports for the Better

42. The FANchise Will Be The World’s First Fan-Run Professional Sports Team

43. Can The NFL Deal Improve User Engagement On Twitter?

44. Building a Fan Base: Yard Goats sell baseball ‘experience’ to lure fans

45. New Vikings app will provide all the comforts with just a tap

46. Diamondbacks register lowest cost to fans for 10th straight season

47. Red Sox to offer fans virtual reality experience at Fenway

48. At Calfee, it’s all about the ‘fan experience’

49. SportTechie Startup Profile Series: Hopscotch Helps Teams Launch, Manage And Monetize Mobile Apps

50. Big crowds mean lots of work for Kauffman Stadium lost and found

51. U.S. Cellular Field to Unveil High-Definition LED Spectacular in Center Field

52. How the Portland Trail Blazers are embracing technology to engage fans and sell more tickets

53. IBM Tees Up Digital Birdie’s-Eye View of The Masters

54. Van Zeyl confident BMO Field will provide more pleasant fan experience

55. Celtics Announce Playoff Sponsors, Fan Activities

56. Mitchell Johnson talks about his relationship with Virat Kohli and IPL fan experience

57. The Detroit Pistons Are Sending Emails That Change Every Time Fans Check Them Movable Ink powers dynamic game-day communication By Erik Wander

58. How a Major League Baseball stadium decides what crazy food fans will eat

59. Kings Host Tech Night at Sleep Train Arena

60. Will Deal To Stream NFL Games Undermine Twitter’s Social Experience?

61. Washington Redskins Partner With Buzztime To Provide Redskins Fans With Interactive Entertainment Year-Round

62. Sports Sponsorship in India up by 12 % last year

63. La Liga aims to grow fans’ experience

64. Fans experience NCAA Championship game from all levels

65. Associated Bank’s “Grand Slam Challenge” fan experience at Miller Park is a hit!

66. Turn Sports Fans Into Fans Of Your Brand

67. Vikings, VenueNext Announce Partnership to Enhance Fan Experience at U.S. Bank Stadium

68. Colorado Springs Switchbacks investing in facility improvements to enhance fan experience

69. Texas Rangers Enhance Fan Experience and Energy Efficiency at Globe Life Park with Eaton’s Advanced Ephesus LED Lighting and Controls System

70. Play ball: Nats deploy software, social media to boost game experience (Video)

71. Major upgrades for fans to enjoy at Busch Stadium

72. Jacksonville Suns owner Ken Babby creating new experience at ballpark

73. Why sponsors want more out of sports sponsorship

74. Mitel to Power Seamless, Real-Time Communications for San Diego Padres

75. MLB exhibition at Victory Field a fun experience for players, fans

76. What’s new at U.S. Cellular? Video boards, cheesy beefs and homecoming

77. Four reasons why every cricket fan must watch a match live in the stadium

78. Magic App Update Will Allow Fans To Select Team Lineups

79. Kings Fan Spin Class to Power 4K Center-Hung Video Board in New Arena

80. San Francisco Giants Ready To Give Fans Unique Virtual Reality Experience At AT&T Park

81. Olympique Lyonnais Blazing A Trail For Fan Experience Apps In Europe

82. Breaking down the best fan experiences in Vancouver sports

83. The Lady Bears’ Success on Court Boosted by Strong Fan Support

84. Tripleplay and Triple Jump Technologies partner to deliver unique connected stadium experience

85. ’Shoe refitting on tap at Ohio State

86. Great example of how new style of communication can acquire new fans!

87. Argentine football club Tigre launches implantable microchip for die-hard fans

88. Bengals give loyal fan draft-day experience

89. What the shortening human attention span means for marketers

90. Demographic segmentation: How 7 football organisations target the next generation online

91. SEAT London 2016 – a boat-load of learning!

92. Defining fan engagement

93. DENVER NUGGETS LION KING CAM FAR SUPERIOR TO KISS CAM

94. I Want to Know, Want to Go, Want to Share Fan Engagement at Warp Speed

95. Know the 5 Secrets of Formula E to Build Real Fan Engagement | Hangout Resume

97. A Game Plan for Enhancing Fan Engagement

98. PART TWO: Measuring fan engagement: an introduction

99. Inside Real Madrid’s Game Plan For Digital Domination

100. The Orlando Magic Becomes First NBA Team to Deploy and Integrate iBeacons Via Team Mobile App in Amway Center

101. WTW: Discussing Fan Engagement with Bas Schnater

102. Australian Rugby Union dives into data in new deal with sports marketing group Perform

103. Why Microsoft invests in sports: Marketing chief says ‘it’s about people’s passions’

104. How this Hollywood vet is using virtual reality and storytelling to disrupt the sports world

105. Argentinian football club begin implanting fans with season ticket microchips

 

 

 

 

100+ Fan Engagement and Fan Experience Articles For March 2016

FE Monthly Round Up Articles

FE Monthly Round Up Articles

Here’s a selection of some of the stories from March on fan engagement and fan experience that made headlines in the sports business.

  1. New FIFA President Ushers In Refreshing Era Of Fan Engagement And Technology
  2. Analysis: Why F1 should take a page from the NFL’s playbook
  3. Stadiums Boost Wi-Fi, Apps to Improve the Fan Experience — and Revenue
  4. Everton team up with Verteda to boost fan experience
  5. Converting fans to paying members is an untapped market for AFL clubs, writes Michelangelo Rucci
  6. Floating fans in Frisco’s outfield: Lazy river construction underway at Dr Pepper Ballpark
  7. Sacramento Kings To Host Tech Start Up Competition That Embraces Entire Community
  8. Hawthorn Football Club re-engages fans with personalised videos
  9. Keeping the Fans on Your Side
  10. Missy Franklin brings fans along for Olympic ride with GoPro
  11. Bayern Munich’s Digital 4.0 project could revolutionise how clubs engage with fans
  12. America’s First Pro Rugby League Wants to Convince Millennials It’s the Sport for Them ‘New attracts young,’ CEO says By Christine Birkner
  13. Motorcyle racer app MotoGP wins by treating games as a media business
  14. Avaya, San Jose Earthquakes Make Major League Soccer’s Best Stadium Even Better
  15. Liverpool FC unveils new social portal intended to drive fan engagement
  16. AFL kick-to-kick confirmed at MCG, Etihad Stadium in 2016 as part of fan engagement
  17. SportTechie Startup Profile Series: Sploops Is A Video Sports Forum For Mobile
  18. Powering the Next Generation of Boxing Fans: How Facebook and Facebook Live Grows Premier Boxing Champions’ Digital Audience
  19. South by Supporters: MLS fans bring supporter culture to SXSW
  20. Bundesliga miles ahead in fan engagement
  21. SportsGuru Gives A Voice To The Fans With Their Video Sharing App
  22. Fans can now find shortest lines for bathroom, beer in real time at The Palace
  23. Sloan Sports Conference 2016: Boston Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on handling Liverpool ticket controversy
  24. South Bend Cubs looking to enhance fan experience
  25. Pac-12 mailbag: What makes a great game experience?
  26. How to engage the next generation of football fan
  27. Metricon Stadium completes Wi-Fi roll out
  28. Responsible Fans Rewarded at Phoenix International Raceway
  29. Scoring Big with Fan Engagement
  30. Bayern Munich’s Digital 4.0 project could revolutionise how clubs engage with fans
  31. Why attendance keeps falling at soccer stadiums
  32. Why Live Sports and Social Media are just at the beginning of a fabulous love story
  33. Is Snapchat becoming sport’s most exciting marketing channel?
  34. KCK startup’s new app simplifies game-day experience for fans
  35. U.S. Soccer’s Rebranding Gets an Assist From Virtual Reality
  36. Watching sports in virtual reality: Q&A with NextVR chairman after startup inks deal with FOX
  37. Burst Teams With FOX SPORTS Australia to Bring the Passion of Mobile Fan Video to Live Sporting Events
  38. Digital transformation in sports: from diamond to gridiron
  39. ACC Tournament and beer, together at last
  40. NBC Sports Brings Immersive Fan Experience to SXSW with the NBC Sports Lawn
  41. Samsung surprises Rugby fans with very real virtual reality experience
  42. ExteNet Systems Enhances Mobile Experience at the 2016 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments
  43. Free photo booths at March Madness Experience will make hoops fans stars
  44. Cousins Subs, Milwaukee Bucks team up to award fan
  45. ICC World T20: Twitter to drive fan experience
  46. Avaya Giving San Jose Earthquakes Digital Boost For In-Stadium Fan Experience
  47. Ultra-modern fan acoustics for Al Bayt Stadium
  48. You’ll be able to watch this year’s Big East tournament in virtual reality
  49. Build It And They Will Come? A Cautionary Tale Of 3 Cities
  50. Audi And MLS Debut Player Tracking System For 2016 Season
  51. Fan experience soars with arrival of Wi-Fi at Montreal Canadiens’ Bell Centre
  52. Cousins Subs, Milwaukee Bucks Award ‘Super Sub’
  53. MLB Players To Snapchat Live From Spring Training Games For The First Time Ever
  54. The crazy technology that could change NBA players in the future
  55. Growing the fan base is still a challenge for Royals
  56. FOX SPORTS HOPING TO MAKE VIRTUAL REALITY THE NEXT BIG THING
  57. AFL and AFLPA must not forget the fans in CBA talks
  58. FanConnect Enhances Fan Experience Through Digital Marketing
  59. Tracking Harps – find out about the new media experience
  60. FANS GET CLOSER TO RACE ACTION WITH VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE
  61. LA Galaxy launch partnership with Uber
  62. MLB Expands Snapchat Content Partnership
  63. Sacramento Kings will host a startup pitch contest during an NBA game
  64. Beer sales may help plug budget gap
  65. Transforming the Fan Experience
  66. Buffalo Bills – Transforming the Fan Experience
  67. How big data will influence ice cream sales at the next Washington Nationals game (Video)
  68. How to fix F1
  69. Football: Premier League fans still look on enviously towards fan focused Bundesliga
  70. Cambridge United Community Trust aim to widen scope with fan experiences
  71. ESPNcricinfo introduces four digital video series for World T20
  72. Bruce Allen says Redskins fans were much happier with game-day experience in 2015
  73. Improving game-day experience a major focus at Business of Sports summit
  74. Official MotoGP Mobile Game Will Decide MotoGP Fan World Championship
  75. Take a look at the giant flags that will greet every Cardiff City goal as club follow Chelsea and Arsenal’s lead
  76. 49ers Plan to Extend More Rewards to Loyalty Program Members
  77. Ted Leonsis Wants His Arena Football Team to Be “Millennial-Sensitive”
  78. Data Analytics Drives New Fan-Team Relationship for NBA’s Orlando Magic
  79. Sox Lunch Looks To Cut Through The Social Media Clutter And Unite Red Sox Fans Through Email
  80. Are the Buffalo Bills embarrassed by fan behavior at Ralph Wilson Stadium?
  81. As March Madness begins, Hopper update lets Dish users watch 4 channels on one screen
  82. Mexican GP organisers consider crowd capacity increase for 2016
  83. 6D Global Technologies, Inc. Launches Fan Engagement Mobile App for NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder
  84. Interview: Steph Curry Teaming Up With Nike Alumni To Develop A New Social Platform
  85. Football Fan Zone to add fun to match
  86. WVU stadium upgrades to be complete in time for season
  87. FSU To Install New True HD Video Boards For 2016 Football Season
  88. MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: The Future Fan Experience Is Customized, Mobile
  89. AFL fans outraged after Ticketek system failure leaves them stranded outside the MCG
  90. DIY fan buses: NASCAR hotels on wheels for true fans
  91. PawSox focus on improved fan experience heading into 2016 season
  92. Follow LA Galaxy II on Snapchat and you can win a swag bag from USL
  93. Seattle Sounders FC LAUNCHES NEW VIDEO APP WITH DESKSITE
  94. Cigars, not Cracker Jack: The scene in Havana as the Rays defeat Cuban team
  95. West Ham Submit Stadium Wrap Plans
  96. Top 10 Sports Business Trends to Watch in 2016
  97. New NRL CEO Todd Greenberg highlights digital as a priority to get fans watching
  98. Why the sports industry should pay more attention to podcasts
  99. HOK Reveals Design Details for FC Barcelona’s New Palau Blaugrana Arena
  100. Man City launch WhatsApp group
  101. Record with David Guetta below and you could win tickets to UEFA EURO 2016!
  102. Major League Baseball is making some serious moves in fan engagement
  103. Fan Engagement | How to get bums on seats and keep them there
  104. Team by Team: 2016 AFL Fan Engagement and Fan Experience Activations
  105. FSU will add new True HD video boards to Doak Campbell Stadium
  106. Boring athletics needs radical change, says Lord Coe
  107. Ritas, Chick-fil-A & ‘Bizarre’ Sandwich New to Phillies Fans at Citizens Bank Park

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

Portsmouth FC and Fratton Park Fan Experience Review

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

I’m currently in London for a week of work with our audioBoom UK office but with a Sunday and Saturday free either side, I’m making sure I can get to a couple of stadiums to check out some more football fan experiences across England.

Today I’m in the south western English seaside town of Portsmouth, home to current football league two team Portsmouth FC or ‘Pompey’ as they are known more affectionately. Today is my 28th football ground visit in England since I first moved here in 2006 so I’m slowly ticking all 92 of them off as Pompey take on AFC Wimbledon today.

I head off for this away day to Portsmouth at 830am by grabbing a tube (£2.20) from London Bridge to Victoria Coach Station where I catch a two hour (£9 return) coach ride to The Hard Exchange in Portsmouth.  

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

When I arrive just after 11am it’s wet, extremely windy, cold and grey and the seagulls are out in force trying to eat my chips (£1.20) and Cornish pastie (£1.90) that I’ve just purchased from a proper chip shop, the delicious pastie of which comes second only to the one I had at Glastonbury 2008. 

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

I find a local home team pub in the Ship and Castle in town and settle down to a few pre-game beers (Hobgoblin pint £5.90 and something called a Fosters for £2.80- sorry Australia!) and read up on some research I’ve collected on what Portsmouth do for fans on match days to improve the fan experience. Some good reading here on that: 

How Portsmouth FC are leading the way in Fan Engagement

Portsmouth FC – Mobile First

Government sets up group to improve fan engagement

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

It looks like I’ve arrived at just the right time for stadium transport as Uber was only legalized here on Friday and at 1pm I grab one from the Ship & Castle to Portsmouth’s Fratton Park stadium and talk to my Romanian driver about Portsmouth, Uber and football in general. Ben is a Manchester United fan and thinks the fan experience at Fratton Park is quite good but he hates the team so is only judging this from having sat in the away end.  

Ben drops me just outside the south stand gates where I chat to a teenage program seller about the Pompey experience. The young chap talks up the things the club does to engage young fans and shows me the excellent specially produced £1 kids only 100 page match day program. I believe from what sellers were saying to fans that this is the only kids specific match day program in the football league. 

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

As I walk around this classic old school 1898 stadium through tiny alleyways surrounded by residential housing I’m thinking about how for some fans, fan engagement is just about making sure things like transport, ticketing and concessions are road block free on match day. The Fratton Park and Portsmouth FC experience is not a glossy polished technologically driven day out with cup holders,  free WiFi (or any WiFi for that matter) or big screen digital activations but of bovril and curry chips to singing songs and sitting under historic stadium tin roofs while taking in the game. 

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

After purchasing a £3 program I make my way to my general seat (£20) in the North stand but I’m surprised to see it is a restricted view seat yet there was no mention of this in the booking process nor did the club reply to my email asking for help with purchasing a ticket when the address function drop down bar on the ticketing site only allowed for five countries with Australia not being one of them. I figured it out by using a fake address but it shows the importance of clubs having to make sure they listen to their fans. Now while I also know that these old stands weren’t designed with all fans sight angles in mind and that thats part of the charm, I can imagine another fan getting frustrated at paying (AU$50) for a ticket with a restricted view but not being told about that in the first instance. And what of £20 for the fourth division of a competition? Is football too expensive in England? It was a sell out here today so it’s obviously not a problem amongst Pompey fans? Time will tell….

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

It was a nice idea to see that Pompey fans occupy the number 12 spot in the team listing on the back of the match day program. 

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

I entered through turnstile 5 in the North Stand by scanning my paper ticket that I printed back in Melbourne. Sigh. Look at this. What has become of the great physical ticket design. I’ve collected 95% of the tickets from gigs and games since 1996 and always try to buy a physical ticket whenever I can. Any club who produces these paper tickets should find a way to at least make these customizable with fans faces or profiles on them or with team livery designs to bring a bit of personalization and memorable collectability to ticketing. Its the fans ink and paper after all. 

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

Food options at Fratton Park are pretty basic but the pies sounded nice. Beer prices are affordable at £3.50 considering I paid double for a pint at pretty much every stadium in the US recently and at this price are on par with Aussie beer prices, albeit we don’t have pints at out stadiums. 

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

I do find it intriguing that in English football  even though clubs and stadiums make every effort to stamp out abusive language with text lines and stewards on hand that fans get away with the level of swearing that they do. Cries of ‘Fook off you daft muppet’ and ‘eww durty basterd carnt’ here from one fan barely raises an eye from fans but in Australia I think while its expected at sporting matches the world over, that fans don’t tolerate it as much with kids present as they do here as in a way its all part of that quintessential English football experience. Its also a bit of the bystander effect in practice as no fan wants to dob in another fan just for swearing. 

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

There was some creative street art adorning the mens and women’s toilets that was a good use of space as seen here.

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

With Remembrance Day only a few days prior to this game and Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the club plays the last post before a minutes silence. Listen here: 

There was also a young navy man carrying around an old Pompey rally sign in the form of a 30’s/40’s design to ramp fans up in the pre game which was a simple and creative yet respectful idea. 

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

While the youth program was a cool idea it was also interesting to hear how the club’s older fans participate in walking football as well.

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

 

The Pompey fans are out in fine voice in the Fratton End as they belt out chants with drums, bells and whistles. Listen here to the Portsmouth FC fans. 

The game is an exciting free flowing and attacking spectacle with both teams firing shots off while the goalkeepers struggle to kick the ball straight as its held up in the wind like a balloon.  

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

I know I harp on and on about the exciting advancements and best practice fan engagement examples that I come across on my travels but sometimes all you really need is a good chat with fellow fans, a cold beer, a decent seat and a sing song to have a great stadium experience as a fan. Nothing compares to the English football experience from the pre game pints in either the home and away pubs and the walk to the ground to the singing and all the good vibes that go with this however I do  wonder what older purist fans will think when better advancements in seat ordering, drones, beacon and virtual reality technologies eventually start proliferating into the English game as they have done in the US and as they are now in Australia. Will English football fans of all ages embrace these new technologies? I for one hope that the football fan experience here retains its simple and pure charms as I experienced here at Portsmouth today. 

Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC

PortsmouthFC

PortsmouthFC

 

San Francisco 49ers and Levis Stadium Fan Experience

49ers

49ers

It’s 2am and I’m up to catch a 5am flight from Kansas City to San Francisco for today’s 49ers game in Santa Clara. Today is going to be a long day of travel and probably one of the longest ‘away days’ I’ve done. I had a 530am flight to Phoenix, Arizona with a two hour lay over and then a direct flight to San Fran. By the time I make it to San Francisco it’s 10am. I make the quick trek to my hotel, dump the bags and then hit the ground running for what would prove to be another two and a bit hours of travel to the 49ers Levis Stadium. 

49ers

49ers

Transportation

I make my way to San Francisco’s Union Station in downtown San Fran and pay US$20.50 for a day return which takes me to Levis Stadium. The huge CalTrain disembarks at 1pm packed with fans heading out early to the 5.35pm Thursday Night Football game and passes through 20 odd stations before we all disembark and cross the tracks for a small light rail type train to then take in another 20 odd stops to Mountain View station where Levis Stadium is located. It surely is a decent effort (100km or so) to get from downtown San Francisco to the stadium however with fellow NFL fans to talk to and a clean, safe and smooth ride in this modern transport it’s really quite a breeze. 

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

Parking and Tailgate Set Up

I step off the train at Mountain View station, walk across the platform and the car park ($60 US per car to tailgate) and stadium are in full view and it is a sight to behold. This is a stadium which greatly defines what an outstanding fan experience is all about and as I had heard a lot about it, it was thrilling to finally be able to experience it. As I walk in I start to feel thirsty so kindly ask the first tailgater I see in if I could buy a beer off him. Without hesitation he reaches into his huge esky packed with beers, soft drinks, waters (any good tailgater knows you have to be smart with the fluids!) and the biggest Grey Goose I’ve ever seen and hands me a beer and a handshake. It’s this type of hospitality that the tailgate is famous for as within the next few minutes we’re both being offered BBQ meats, seafood and other football food staples I stay for an hour or so talking about the success of Jarryd Hayne, fan engagement, life in the US and the tailgating experience before heading into the stadium but not after the guys had given me a few more beers to get set for the night.

As I leave the car park tailgating area and head into the stadium I notice that there’s a substantial bicycle area for fans who have chosen to ride to the stadium. I remember seeing something similar at Aston Villa’s Villa Park in Birmingham in the past so it’s great to see that the stadium is accommodating to those fans who chose a healthy way to get here today.

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

Levis Stadium and 49ers App’s

I had previously downloaded both the extensive 49ers and Levis Stadium app and was excited to test these two out today, especially as they are integrated with one another on game day. 

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

Mobile Ticketing

After extensive security procedures that included walking through the metal detector followed by a metal detector wand search and finally a pat down I was able to continue entering the stadium. Opening the Levis Stadium app I was able to view my ticket and scan the QR code at the electronic check point to enter the stadium. 

Using today’s hashtag and the app, my name was then displayed on the screens inside the stadium which was a very cool feature, especially as the app sent me a notification informing me that my ‘check in’ was coming up on the screens. As other’s have mentioned the beauty of this is that fans can be rewarded for their first, 50th or 100th visit for example by the NiNerds.

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

NiNERDS

Just as you pass through the mobile ticketing area you are greeted by the NiNerds reps who are on hand to help fans with any stadium related queries they may have. From finding your seat to where you can purchase a gluten free vegan hotdog these guys are helpful, tech savvy and are here to look after  the needs of fans. I had a great chat at the gates with Michael and Noemi but also later noticed them running around during the game helping fans with queries.  

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

Way-Finding 

One of the best features in the app is the way-finding element which directs you right to your seat inside the stadium using GPS. While I normally get a kick out of doing a full inside and outside walk around a stadium, this was a great feature that gets fans to their seats quickly.

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

WiFi

Free WiFi which was super fast all day long even with 70,000 here today. It made ordering food and drinks, way-finding, mobile ticketing etc all very easy. The only thing this stadium or future stadiums need now is retractable USB charges under or in front of your seats.

Cup Holders

Every seat has a cup holder. Just brilliant to keep your beer cold. 

49ers

49ers

Food

The food options inside Levi’s Stadium rival that of some of the best stadiums for food that I’ve visited in the past such as Yankee Stadium and the MCG. 

Fans have the option of over 180 items such as garlic fries, pizzas, burgers, pretzels, hot dogs, curries, steamed buns, burritos, asian style rice bowls and BBQ fare as well as having the option to either have their food delivered to their seat or grabbing it through express pick up. It was also interesting to see a over 14 vegan food concessions and other healthy options throughout the stadium as well as plenty of craft beer varieties to choose from. 

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

49ers

In-Seat Ordering 

An aspect of the app which I was keen to test was the in-seat ordering for food and drinks. While I have tried these a few times in the US in the past, this was by far the best example of how to do this. 

I started by going into the app’s in-seat ordering section. Food was fairly priced for stadium food with a fee of $5US attached to in-seat ordering which does seems a bit high (but not if you’re ordering a stack of stuff).

While there are only about 15 options to choose from (drinks, hot food, snacks) I was able to select a hotdog and gatorade, punch in my credit card details and see where the food would come from. I hit one hurdle in that I had to fake a US postcode (11111 worked) where it asks for the address details that match your credit card because my 4 digit Australian postcode was not allowing the process to continue. It obviously makes no difference though as my order was processed. This part of the app is incredibly user friendly and all in all took 90 seconds to order (after I realised I needed to make my postcode 5 digits. I guess though if you didn’t know US postcodes are 5 digits then you’d have an issue). I set the timer on my phone and watched as the app screen moved from ‘order processed’ to ‘being prepared’ to ‘en route’.

I’ve got to say that it was a pretty cool sight to watch as the Levi’s Stadium staffer walked down the aisles with a bag holding my food and drink. As Shane Harmon mentioned in his look at Levi’s Stadium a few months back, this whole process still involves a human and the one issue that that human has is that after they come down to your row they then need to identify you and get your items to you. I was in the middle of the row, about 15 seats in and although I had been watching her walk down the aisle I was able to gesture to her ‘Yep, Blair? Yep that’s my order’. The issue here and it’s obviously not a massive one, but the delivery person then needs to come all the way into your row/seat and check your phone’s order screen to see that they are delivering the items to the right person. In a way this means that they get in the way of other fans however this was a 5 second job and I doubt that it affected fans sight angles.

So how long did it take for me to order, the food to be prepared and then delivered right to my seat? 18 minutes and 31 seconds! Outstanding in my opinion and an element every stadium needs so that fans never miss any of the action or have to wait in lines. The hotdog was tasty, piping hot and came with mustard, ketchup and relish while the gatorade was ice cold. The $5 fee is probably a bit steep for just two items but if you’ve got a group of mates ordering a stack of food and drinks then it’s nothing. 

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Restroom Way-Finding

A cool function of the Levi’s Stadium app is the way-finding function in the ‘Around Me’ section of the app to show you which toilets are the closet and which have the shortest queues. I asked some of the NiNERD’s how they work out which lines are the shortest and input that into the app and was amazed to hear that there is a person standing outside each restroom area who feeds this information into the app. Again a process that needs a human to facilitate the task however a very cool feature that is thinking about fans first. 

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Fan Engagement Activations (Around Levi’s Stadium concourse)

Two hours until kick off and the concourse fan zone areas are pumping with people running around between sponsor activations and picking up freebies left, right and centre. The 49er’s sponsor stands are complimented by food trucks, bars and diverse fan zones. 

I start by checking out the ’Ninerfier’ Levi’s activation which has fans put a piece of their 49er’s gear on a mobile conveyor belt type contraption (I mean seriously, how do I describe what this thing is!) and watching it pass through various odd but colourful elements before coming off the conveyor belt and being ’Ninerfied’. Fans receive a ’Ninerfied’ pin and then have their photo taken as a memento. An interesting bit of fan engagement that really goes back to the idea of fan culture and being granted approval (‘You’re now Ninerfied!’) of sorts by the team.

I pick up a free sign and calendar from CSN and then move on to the SunPower stand where I score a free set of 49ers sunnies just by playing a bit of trivia with their quiz activation. While I wasn’t a 49ers member, 49’ers members are able to earn points by checking in every 20 minutes at the Faithful 49er’s stand. I couldn’t see myself doing this every 20 minutes to earn rewards but I’m sure hardcore fans would be taking advantage of every chance to gain points in this program to then put towards prizes and upgrades. 

Next was the SAP ‘Quarterback Challenge’ which was the first of a few virtual reality activations that I would see today. Fans had the chance to use Oculus goggles to play a game as a quarterback while over at the Toyota fan zone fans were participating in raffles and a wheel of fortune type game for prizes while TV commentators did a live outside broadcast surrounded by fans. This stand also had dedicated phone charging stations while I also counted heaps of ‘Juice Bar’s’ throughout the stadium that were often surrounded by fans charging their devices and what appeared to be making new friends. 

Continuing throughout the various stands I noticed more opportunities for fans to win prizes, enter competitions and receive freebies like packets of chips. At the NRG stand fans could pick up another pair of 49ers sunnies and have a go at snapping their photo with a players face cut out. The photo theme is a constant in fan engagement and there were another two sponsor stands that had prizes for fans who had their pictures taken. The Yahoo Sports stand were giving fans free ‘ Go Niners’ 49er’s rally towels while Intel were encouraging fans to ‘Be The SuperFan’ and have their photo taken with super hero type colours put over the top before being showcased on big screens around the stadium. 

A feature that I have seen at a few stadiums was the designated driver stand where fans can opt to be a designated driver and in return they receive a free soft drink and the chance to win prizes. The Levi’s Stadium one was called Good Sports and is sponsored by Bud Light. 

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Fan Engagement Activations (Inside Levi’s Stadium)

I made my way inside the stadium and started walking around the venue to see what was on offer for fans. 

Making my way to my seat I found a note in the cup holder telling me that our section was going to be participating in a bit of TIFO fun. It was a great sight to watch the banner come down over our heads in the stadium. 

I captured the noise meter at the stadium reaching 112.1 which was by far the loudest I had heard at any stadium where they employ this. It was actually that loud that it was almost unbearable in terms of noise, even if it was a good sight to see fans going crazy with their war cries and screams. Every effort is made in these US stadiums and arena’s to ‘Make Some Noise’ and these noise readers really help facilitate that with fans. 

Listen to the 49ers fans here

The 49ers offer merch ‘item’s of the game’ throughout the day, show fan’s selfies on the big screen, have a 49er’s band, a fire twirling squad and have game day and post game (provided they win) offers on food and even haircuts too. 

There were some more virtual reality activations inside the stadium such as this giant helmet contraption however from my observations, it seemed as though more people just wanted a photo with this than actually participate in the VR feature. 

Sponsor’s Verizon had a section for upgrades, SAP had interactive quiz machines while Yahoo had a fantasy sports touch screen wall with trivia and photo opportunities however it was a bit odd to see kids playing this when it’s a gambling type activation. 

Listen to the 49er’s drumming band here

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While the actual team needs to start winning on the field, it’s clear that this is one of the best stadiums in the world right now for providing fans with an exceptional fan experience. There are things here that fans can’t get at home therefore Levi’s Stadium are providing interesting aspects that hopefully means more fans are making their way out to the stadium and switching off from their home sports cave experience. From the beacon technology to VR work to the in-seat ordering and toilet line feature and all the little things outside of their impressive app, it’s evident that 49er’s fans have something very special here on game day and I for one can’t wait to get back here to try it all out again. 

Sporting Kansas City and Sporting Park Fan Experience Review

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

I’ve seen a lot of great fan engagement around the world, participated in some great global fan experiences and met some creative sports business people over the years but tonight at Sporting Kansas I witnessed next level fan experience. It is incredible here and the fans love it. I have never met such passionate fans in all my travels. The fan engagement was outstanding. From the MySKC photo, their SKC app, the healthy food options to the TV’s in the toilets and local Kansas craft beer and coffee collabs, the fan zone and the way they let their fans pass a recent winning trophy around the whole stadium resulted in an epic fan experience.

Backtracking slightly and it’s 1am in NYC and I’m up and roaring to go for a 3am flight first to Chicago with a two hour stop over and then another two hour flight into Kansas City for today’s MLS game. I’ve heard a lot about the SKC fan experience at Sporting Park so I’m running on excitement as I navigate La Guardia, Chicago O’Hare and Kansas City airports on this gorgeous Wednesday morning in America.

This was one of the pictures I snapped of the landscape from up high.

SKC

SKC

I caught an uber from my Kansas airport hotel to Sporting Park around 4pm and I could not have had a more knowledgable driver on Kansas and it’s sporting teams. Having talked to my driver, Abdi on the half hour highway journey out to the stadium, it sounds like theres a real community spirit here amongst SKC, Chiefs and Royals fans.  

Listen to our chat about Kansas and its sporting teams here: 

After being dropped off at Sporting Park, I picked up my pass and started to soak up the atmosphere as fans were streaming in for this MLS fixture against the Colorado Rapids. 

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

It was really nice to see that the stadium was supportive of their local teams as they played the Royals MLB game on the big screen before the game got underway. Its something I’ve seen a bit more of on this trip with teams throwing their support behind other local teams like Mr Met’s appearance at the Devils game.  

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

The SKC App

The SKC app is one of the best around from a sporting team or stadium. Why? Developed by Sporting Innovations just down the road here in Kansas, the app has some very cool functions. 

Fans can access 360 degree view game replays for key moments, view play by play details and view a heat map of the team. As well as this, the app allows fans to take their personalised picture with the MySKC function that has a new pre-loaded background template in the app which then when accessed by the club enables fans to have their pictures shown on the big screens. Fans also have access to buy food, drinks and tickets through the app as well so the convenience is there for all fans to utilise.     

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Fan Zone

I was instantly impressed with the fan zone around the stadium that featured inflatable jumping castle type kids activities, a smaller football pitch and free giveaways from a local hospital. The wall feature is also a good photo opportunity for fans. 

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City

Sports Bar

Walking around at half time I also found a sports bar which was one of the biggest I’ve seen in a stadium before. Complete with scarves, big screen TV’s and comfy seating you’d think you were in an actual bar and not a stadium.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City

Local Collaborations 

One of the really neat things about Sporting Park is that SKC has a few exciting local collaborations with coffee company The Roasteries producing their special ‘Sporting Blend’ and Boulevard Brewing’s Boulevard beer which was delicious! (Is the worst thing about travel being that you can’t really lug around a 6 pack? I’d be buying cartons of these if it was easier) 

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Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Food

There are plenty of tasty options here from healthy vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options like salad wraps and carrots and hummus packs to endless BBQ fare varieties, gourmet hot dogs and even meat pies!

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

The Fan Experience

While at Sporting Park, I was able to talk to SKC’s Digital and Comms manager, Jonathan Kaplan who talked extensively at half time with me about the fan experience here. It’s the little things that make the fan experience at SKC so special as for instance before the game started fans had been encouraged to arrive early for a special pregame ceremony where the club owner addressed fans thanking them for their support. It wasn’t one of those generic thanks though, fans seemed to really love this owner and the way he genuinely speaks to them as here it’s obvious that everyone is apart of one big soccer family. Jonathan explained that at Sporting KC they really try hard to cater for every fan’s needs and that it’s all about the kids and getting them hooked from an early age. 

 The team do these great pre-game videos as well which informs fans about all the key info ahead of the game

I was also very fortunate to chat with Andy from Boulevard Brewing who shared his story about what the term fan experience means to him. It’s a great story so I encourage you to listen in here: 

I loved how all the way finder signs and toilet signs had little soccer men and women figures kicking soccer balls around as their image. The little touches go a long way for fans. They also have HD TV’s and surround sound in the toilets so you don’t miss any of the action! 

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

In game Fan Engagement 

The crowd at MLS needed no extra fan engagement fun as they were one of the most rocking vocal crowds I’d witnessed across my sport travels. Hear the SKC fans now: 

The SKC team did a few of the same things that I’d witnessed at other US games like ‘guess which ball or where the ball is’ and trivia on the big screen however they took it a step further with the wiener race that saw fans race 50m then try to kick a goal while holding a hot dog. It sounds ridiculous and odd but I swear this had the most laughs and was strangely hilarious to watch. That’s the thing about fan engagement though as it can be free to set up, fun for fans, random to watch yet all it needs is creativity. 

While other activations also included a photo booth, face painting, commemorative scarf giveaways and autograph signings, the best fan engagement activation on the night wasn’t from a sponsor but was when the US Open Cup trophy which SKC had recently won, was passed around the whole stadium. Every fan in every stand got to touch it and take a photo as the game went on as a SKC rep kept a close eye on the cup from a distance. This was truly a great idea but having talked to Jonathan later on in the night he informed me that they also let select fans take home another trophy for a day each and allowed them to do a trophy takeover style bit of fun on the clubs social media whereby some fans took the trophy out to dinner. It’s really obvious that the fans here love soccer and this club such is the devotion they have but also as the club listens to them and goes out of its way to be creative and supportive of fans needs and ideas. 

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

WiFi

The stadium is serviced by free high speed WiFi which was very fast throughout the game even though they were having some issues on the night where it was dropping out, but it sounded like this was a one off. Again it was good to see another club and stadium with an impressive interactive and integrated app. 

SKC Fan Engagement

  • MySKC in app function allowing fans to take a picture and have it personalised with a foreground overlay shot. This game featured the two team jerseys.
  • Local collaborations with a coffee company and beer brewery to produce two SKC styles of beer and coffee. Sporting Blend from The Roasterie and Sporting Boulevard from Boulevard Brewing. Both nice drops!
  • Experience upgrade offers in the SKC app for fans to score upgrades
  • Ability to add credit in the app to make purchases inside the stadium for food, ticketing, merch.
  • Skills tests for kids. Inflatable soccer field as well as smaller fields for football fun
  • Free zip bag giveaways from a local hospital for Breast Cancer Awareness month
  • TV’s in the loos so you don’t miss any of the action
  • Loo’s all have funky soccer type pics on them which is a nice fan touch
  • Healthy options including vegan food. The stand and food looked fresh and healthy.
  • Salute to service and hero’s of the game. Defence veteran respect
  • Trivia on the big screens for fans
  • ‘Weiner Race’ where fans had to run with a hot dog and kick a football into the net. Was random but strangely fun to watch.
  • Raffles for prizes
  • ‘Where’s The Winner’ fans have to guess which ball on the big screen is the winning ball. Bit of fun for kids.
  • Freebies deals for fans post match if team hits a certain target like 2 goals or a win.
  • Fans were able to pass the US Open Cup around the stadium so every fan was able to get a picture and see the cup up close. This was one of the best ideas I’d seen.
  • Face painting 
  • Autograph signing
  • Photo booth
  • Commemorative scarf celebration and giveaways

The SKC fan experience is one of the best I’ve seen in the MLS as not only are the club continuing to do some exciting things and set the benchmarks for world class fan engagement but the fans here are very loud and passionate and they want to and do get to have their say on club matters. While the NYRB and LA Galaxy stadiums both have great set up’s for fan engagement and those teams provide a really fun day out however Sporting Park for a SKC game feels like you’re apart of a big family who are all passionate about not only the team (which every team does) but also apart of contributing to the stadium experience for fellow fans. It feels like every fan here (with female fans making up a larger than normal presence for a teams membership base) has greatly invested into this fan experience for the betterment of soccer in Kansas and the US. The culture here is one of support and respect for fans and where fans are able to access smart fan first technology which greatly adds to the fan experience. 

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Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City

Seattle Sounders and CenturyLink Field Fan Experience Review

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Just like Levis Stadium, I had been looking forward to this moment for a long time as today I was finally able to experience a Seattle Sounders game at CenturyLink Field and witness the incredible best practice fan engagement that so many of my peers have talked about in the past.

Staying nearby in Seattle’s Chinatown district, I started the day early with a pre-game walk around the stadium at 11am and it was good to see that while the Seahawks might be the bigger team in town, the stadium pays homage to both them and the Sounders with wall features and fan photo opportunities throughout the stadium’s exterior. Although with 55,000 fans here today it’s obvious that Seattle loves it’s sports teams.

The Occidental Road that the one of the main stands is on features no less than three merchandise stores and on game day sees local food trucks and Seattle food dominate the strip. Compared to an EPL game in the UK, one thing you’re always going to get in the US at an MLS game on a match day is better quality food on your walk to the stadium or around the stadium. This area would later see roasted corn, dumplings, BBQ meats, gourmet hotdogs and much more which is all allowed into the stadium and which is something that is not normally a given at stadiums around the world. A bonus for fans this might be but the food inside the stadium was equally impressive and tasty with garlic fries, hot pastrami sandwiches, BBQ Ribs and rice bowls all on sale.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

After talking to some fans over some tantalising Washington craft beers at a local bar, I ventured back to the stadium to soak up the pre-game fan engagement that was on offer.

Today was going to be a pretty epic day in terms of fan engagement if the game day info note that the Sounders put out on Twitter earlier in the day was anything to go by. This is what the Sounders had on offer for fans today in terms of just giveaways:

Presenting sponsor of the match SUBWAY® Restaurants of Western Washington is giving away 10,000 SUBWAY® Sounders FC beanies and 30,000 SUBWAY® yellow cards at stadium gates (while supplies last). Additional Fan Appreciation Day giveaways include the following:

  • Twenty (20) $15 Starbucks Gift Cards
  • 200 adidas full-size soccer balls
  • One (1) autographed Lamar Neagle jersey, provided by adidas
  • 250 CenturyLink & Sounders FC scarves
  • 250 Chipotle buy-one-get-one Burrito certificates
  • Twenty (20) McDonald’s $25 Arch Cards
  • Twenty (20) Starbucks $15 gift cards
  • Twenty (20) SUBWAY® $5 gift cards
  • One (1) SUBWAY® $250 gift card
  • One (1) Tirebuyer.com $500 credit toward a set of new Continental Tires
  • Two (2) Tirebuyer.com $150 credits toward a set of new Continental Tires
  • 100 Free ‘zaw Artisan Bake-at-Home Pumpkin Patch Pizza Certificates

I was able to pick up a free Sounders shirt from sponsor Jeep, some free sunnies from sponsor Microsoft, a free coconut water and free lip balm as well as some free Sounders stickers all of which were added bonuses and mementos from what would prove to be an exceptional fan experience and day out in Seattle. The free shirt giveaway gave fans the chance to win a car by being chosen at random by wearing the shirt in the stadium.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

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Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

I took in the talented Sounders big band ’SoundWave’ who performed to a delighted crowd outside the stadium and had a few good chats with fans about the fan experience here. Many fans noted that while they could watch the Sounder’s games at home and had done so in the past, coming here was better as ‘you’re feeding off everyone’s energy’.

Listen to the Sounders band, ‘SoundWave’ here:

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

At 3pm I left the stadium area and made my way to Occidental Park which was about three blocks away from the stadium. Here is where the whole culture of what being a fan is all about takes place. This is the epicentre of fan love for a team as it’s the place where the Sounders fans have their famous march to the stadium. I’ve participated in many team marches in the past from A-League and EPL teams however this Sounders march was something to behold. The noise was almost unbearable as I joined the march at the front of the line and started the walk towards CenturyLink Field singing songs that I was learning on the spot from a helpful fan who handed me a chant cheat sheet.

These are some of the nicest and most welcoming fans as they grab fans and get them to join in the marching and singing to the stadium. The march has become famous in the sports business and fan engagement world and I was grateful to finally experience this in the flesh. Banners were waving, kids were screaming ‘Go Sounders’ at the top of their lungs and smiles were on every face I checked as I wandered along in front of the pack.

Listen to the Sounders pre-game march to the stadium:

Listen to more of the Sounders marching to CenturyLink Field:

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

While the forecourt area around the stadium was pumping albeit in some wet and windy weather, it was now just after 3pm and I decided to make my way to my seat inside the stadium to lap up the pre-game entertainment. I could not believe that of all the famous Seattle bands, that Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready performed the US national anthem solo on electric guitar. Of all the national anthem’s I had witnessed in the past fortnight, this was the best. It was fun, it was unique, it was rocking! It’s these type of moments when fans are left with that unexpected but delighted look on their face. That money can’t buy experience that you can’t get at home on your TV screen. You had to be here to see it as it was fantastic.

Listen to Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready perform the US anthem here:

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Inside the stadium there was an inflatable soccer field for the kids, a skills test wall where fans could try to slot a ball into the corner, a giant Sounders jersey useful for a photo opportunity, free programs which were being handed out along with a Subway ‘Yellow Card’ offer for a free meal. While I love the informative and lengthy £3.50 EPL programs, it’s always nice to walk into a stadium and be able to receive a free program and some other sponsor offers not to mention all the other freebies I picked up. Here’s a sponsor giveaway idea for stadiums…..a grocery type recyclable bag! My pockets were jammed at many of the matches I went to on this trip and a small recyclable bag would have been good.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Scarves Up! was the call and Sounders fans rallied together to raise and shake their scarves in the air as the team came out to play. 

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

I purchased a craft beer (always good to see inside the US stadiums instead of the general beers) and noticed the fans purchasing food and beers with their Sounders ‘Match Pass’ which enables them to rack up points and use their membership card to buy drinks, food, merchandise and tickets. Fans can also earn points and redeem these for one of a kind Sounders experiences. Select fans were also given free stubby coolers (or Koozies as they call them here) with the use of a special Sounders and American Express card. The Match Pass Sounders app also lets fans view play by play and stats from each game which comes in handy for fans during the game.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

As the pre-game entertainment started to cease before the match I thought it was great to see the crowd participation between the ground announcer and the crowd as he announced the Sounders team line up and called out their first name while the crowd yelled back the player’s surname. It was something small but it greatly added to the positive vibes and the decibels. The same could be said for when the announcer called out the Sounder’s goal scorers (The Sounders were up 3-0 inside 20 minutes!) and the crowd responded with the surnames. It was loud here and these fans, all 55,000 of them, were energetic, passionate and enthusiastic which all makes a teams job a bit easier on game day.

Listen to the ground announcer and fans here:

There were loads of fun fan engagement activations throughout the game. For instance, as a result of the Sounders scoring three goals, all fans were awarded with a free haircut from a local chain hairdressers. I’ve seen these sponsor led deals before however I’ve never been sure how they work. There were 55,000 fans here today, so do 55,000 fans get free haircuts on Monday? I’ll research this and update the blog but suffice to say I was not able to get mine due to flying to Las Vegas early the next day. Fans were able to participate in trivia and guessing games on the big screen, a fan was celebrated for designing the 2016 Sounders scarf design, fans were encouraged to donate a scarf to a charity appeal and the ‘Smile Cam’ was a cool take on the tried and tested ‘Dance Cam’ which focused in on fans smiles around the ground. This again illustrates that fan engagement can be as simple as focusing a camera on fans smiles and there’s nothing more positive than seeing a smile!

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Fans were also able to participate in the cross bar challenge with one fan able to hit it which garnered a large applause around the stadium while other fans were awarded with prizes for being in ‘lucky seats’. Selfies from Instagram were also showcased on the big screens over the course of the day while the SoundWave band performed from their dedicated area to the cheers of the Sounders faithful.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Everything that I had heard about the Sounders fan experience and that of Bart Wiley’s exceptional leadership in this area proved to ring true. This was fan experience and fan engagement at its best from the Sounders. I’m grateful that I was finally able to witness the march to the stadium and experience the fan appreciation round which showcased the very best of the Sounders outstanding fan experience.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

Listen to the fans cheering on the Sounders:

LA Kings and Staples Centre NHL Fan Experience Review

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

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. 

BAD IDEA!

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:

LA Kings NHL

LA Kings NHL

LA Kings NHL

LA Kings NHL

LA Live Area

LA Live Area

LA Kings digital outdoor activations

LA Kings digital outdoor activations

LA Kings NHL

LA Kings NHL

Fan Pics- show us your game face

Fan Pics- show us your game face

Text Help Line

Text Help Line

Hockey themed art around the centre

Hockey themed art around the centre

Auctions and merch for sale in The Gallery

Auctions and merch for sale in The Gallery

Staples Centre food

Staples Centre food

Free gear giveaways

Free gear giveaways

Free gear giveaways

Free gear giveaways

IMG_3221

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

StubHub commemorative ticket activation

Tequila stand and a McDonalds!

Tequila stand and a McDonalds!

Interesting merch!

Interesting merch!

LA Kings Game Day Notes

LA Kings Game Day Notes

LA Interactive stand

LA Interactive stand

Digital touch screens with air hockey, schedule, mascot puzzle and more

Digital touch screens with air hockey, schedule, mascot puzzle and more

Virtual Reality fun with the Toshiba ‘PicturesMe’ booth

Virtual Reality fun with the Toshiba ‘PicturesMe’ booth

Virtual Reality fun with the Toshiba ‘PicturesMe’ booth

Virtual Reality fun with the Toshiba ‘PicturesMe’ booth

Virtual Reality fun with the Toshiba ‘PicturesMe’ booth

Virtual Reality fun with the Toshiba ‘PicturesMe’ booth

Kings Royal Treatment- honouring staff members

Kings Royal Treatment- honouring staff members

Kings Royal Treatment- honouring staff members

Kings Royal Treatment- honouring staff members

Fans get to ride the ice truck!

Fans get to ride the ice truck!

In seat ordering

In seat ordering

LA Lights- Lighting up the arena with fans smart phones and LA Kings app

LA Lights- Lighting up the arena with fans smart phones and LA Kings app

Hero of the game- Honouring USA service men and women

Hero of the game- Honouring USA service men and women

Fan Pics- show us your game face

Fan Pics- show us your game face

Word Association

Word Association

Fitness Challenge- sit ups

Fitness Challenge- sit ups

Lucky Row

Lucky Row

Kiss Cam

Kiss Cam

Read For Rewards

Read For Rewards

LA Kings Running Club

LA Kings Running Club

Free StubHub earphones

Free StubHub earphones

Polls

Cross team support for the LA Dodgers

Cross team support for the LA Dodgers

Season ticket member of the game

Season ticket member of the game

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!

 

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.

An Australasian Perspective: Fan Engagement Down Under 2014 Review

2014 Australian Fan Engagement Review

2014 Australian Fan Engagement Review

Fan engagement activations from sporting clubs and stadiums are taking the US and UK by storm but are also becoming ever more creative and exciting down in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia and New Zealand. Fans young and old are enjoying the experience of being able to watch the game on the field but also engage with the same game on their second screen and in turn fan loyalty is being rewarded with extra incentives like seat upgrades, prizes and digital media activations coming to fans from every angle. Subsequently there are impressive fan engagement lessons to be learnt from Aussie Rules to rugby league and netball to football from what is taking place in the world of fan engagement down under.

Pie Beacon at MCG

Pie Beacon at MCG

 

It’s clear from my experience travelling the length and breadth of the country in 2014 that every sporting team and stadium in Australia and New Zealand are doing very impressive fan engagement initiatives for their supporters and have the interests of these fans right at heart as they know that this will lead to creating the ultimate spectator experience as well as get more people through the turnstiles. From the gluten free food stand at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium and Melbourne and the MCG’s immense selection of food outlets and use of iBeacon technology to Sydney’s connected free WI-FI at ANZ Stadium and Adelaide Oval’s state of the art audio and visual experience it is clear that our stadiums down here are working hard to give fans more bang for their buck and more valuable lasting memories.

 

SlideLiner at ANZ Stadium

SlideLiner at ANZ Stadium

Within my role with audioBoom I’ve been lucky enough to travel frequently around Australia and New Zealand in 2014 talking to sporting teams and stadiums about how they can use our audio platform for their fan engagement strategies. As I’m passionate about being a sports fan but also in learning what these teams and stadiums are doing with fan engagement for their supporters, I’m also very enthusiastic in promoting and showcasing the exciting things that the talented digital, marketing and fan engagement reps are doing down under for their club or stadiums fans.

2014 has been a huge year for fan engagement activations around Australia and I’ve been lucky enough to take in around 80 events here across football, AFL, rugby league, cricket, rugby, netball, hockey, motor racing as well as major events like the fan engagement overload that was both the MLB Opening Series in Sydney and the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

AUS GP Melbourne

AUS GP Melbourne

As a way of shining a light on how well I think Australia and NZ are doing in the fan engagement ranks I have listed a selection of some of the best fan engagement activations that I was able to witness in 2014. There are probably a thousand other ideas from clubs and stadiums far and wide however that are equally as good, however these are just some of the best ones from examples that I was able to witness on my travels.

In March I attended both the Australian Grand Prix Formula One in Melbourne and the Opening Game of the MLB series in Sydney at the SCG. The AUS GP is a fan engagement mecca with a multitude of activations on offer for fans from the #AUSGP twitter hashtag stand for fan photos, classic car roadshow, free Daniel Riccardio face masks, live music on festival type stages, fan zone bars with public access, free kids face painting and action zones featuring race car simulators.  At the Major League Baseball opening game at Sydney’s Cricket Ground the sheer scale of what the event organisers Moore Sports pulled off with this event from securing the correct dirt for the pitching mound to make the stadium look like an American baseball ground was incredible to witness. However it was also all of the fun fan engagement on offer for baseball fans that really was impressive and definitely enhanced the day out at the ground. Outside the ground there were photo opportunities with the MLB trophy, batting cages and pitching zones to merch tents with free giveaways. Once inside the ground there were special zones set up including the ESPN Fan Deck, which featured free merch for fans like inflatable ESPN foam hands and customized beer holder cups. The event also provided a smorgasbord of American food varieties including giant 60cm hot dogs, bacon on a stick and ice cream in baseball helmets, which definitely had fans excited.

ESPN Freebies at the SCG

ESPN Freebies at the SCG

MLB at the SCG

MLB at the SCG

The National Rugby League (NRL) had an impressive year with fan engagement activations from the Brisbane Broncos and Manly Sea Eagles giving away free flags to fans at games, to Allianz Stadium and the Kangaroos test match rewarding fans with a ‘Seat and Eat’ offer where fans could eat as much as they could during the game. The Newcastle Knights teamed up with SportsBet to feature fans twitter names on the back of their jerseys while the NSW State of Origin rugby league team changed the sponsor words of beer Victoria Bitter on the front of their jerseys to feature fans names. The North Queensland Cowboys gave out free cut out headgear masks of star player Johnathon Thurston to fans while the Broncos also developed an away day cinema room for fans at their club house and gave out a prize to all members at their final home game through a lucky dip bin. The Penrith Panthers had a novel idea by letting fans buy cheaper jerseys if they traded in their old ones which then went to a worthy charity and the Melbourne Storm held a 31 day Instagram challenge which encouraged fans to tag a photo and follow a new theme like try celebration or tickets for example. Five NRL teams also engaged fans by donning special super hero jerseys featuring Wolverine, Captain America and more that were sold to fans and worn during games.

Seat and Eat at Allianz Stadium

Seat and Eat at Allianz Stadium

Newcastle Knights

Newcastle Knights

Broncos members lucky dip

Broncos members lucky dip

Storm Instagram Challenge

Storm Instagram Challenge

 

The Australian Football League (AFL) also rolled out the fan engagement royalty for fans with the Hawthorn Hawks having a fan guard of honour and Port Adelaide Power continuing to build on their theme song by getting fans to sing the INXS classic ‘Never Tear Us Apart’  in unison at home games. The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns also had two of the best fan zones I witnessed on my travels in 2014 with Brisbane’s ‘Lions Park’ having skills and drills activities and photo stands whereas the Suns featured a live music area called the Fifth Quarter and loads of fan incentives like seat upgrades and food offers as well as allowing members to present players with their jerseys at the fan day. The Sydney Swans offered fans a 2 for 1 ‘Bring a Buddy’ deal to home games as a smart marketing tie in with their star player Buddy Franklin. Many teams emblazoned their jerseys with their members names while the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons featured a women’s exhibition game before a main game and the Richmond Tigers used a photo-tagging platform to enable fans to tag their location at the match. Carlton Blues also used audioBoom to record player biographies, which were then linked to QR codes that were placed around their headquarters so that fans could tour the ground and learn and engage with the history of the club. The home of AFL, the Melbourne Cricket Ground also featured new iBeacon technology which saw roving meat pie sellers fitted with “iBeacons’’ that send messages via Bluetooth technology to supporter’s smart phones as they move around the stadium. Fans who have downloaded the MCG app have a message telling them a pie boy is nearby and are then handed a free Four’N Twenty meat pie when they show their mobile notification message. The MCG also encourages fans to ‘tweet the crowd’ whereby the fan that is closest to the correct crowd figure wins a special rewards. As can be seen from these examples in fan engagement, the AFL and its teams are enhancing the spectator experience of fans.

Gold Coast Suns

Gold Coast Suns

Australia’s domestic football competition, the A-League also featured many diverse fan engagement activations which included giveaways like free shoelaces for fans, digital activations like trivia at the A-League All Stars game and double header matches featuring the women’s teams playing before the men’s at plenty of stadiums around the country which was a good way to build support and engagement with the women’s game in Australia.

The Football United tour of New Zealand featuring West Ham and Newcastle United at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium showcased a tantalizing range of food and beverages at their newly opened fans public bar that would rival some of the member’s bars at stadiums around the world. The Football United App and use of TagBoard at the ground were also good digital activations in Wellington that got fans engaging on their second screens at the double-header match.

Football United Tour of NZ

Football United Tour of NZ

Perth Glory utilized QR codes to have fans vote for their man of the match while the Western Sydney Wanderers encouraged fans to share the footage they record at games to the teams Instagram and Twitter accounts as a way of bringing fans closer to the club. Brisbane Roar held a group fitness day for fans and the Central Coast Mariners constructed a beach bar at one end of their ground where fans could swim behind the goals and take in quality food and drinks all while the main game was taking place. The Mariners also held a Superhero Saturday, which encouraged fans to dress up as their favourite superhero on game day. The Australian national team, The Socceroo’s teamed up with Twitter to show their appreciation to fans with a personalized and signed team photo in the lead up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Socceroo’s also published a ‘leave pass’ for fans to give to their bosses in the hope of getting off work early to see the team play some of their games in 2014.

Mariners beach bar

Mariners beach bar

Perth Glory

Perth Glory

 

Socceroos Leave Pass

Socceroos Leave Pass

 

But it’s not just the AFL and NRL leading the way with the Australian Rugby Union using the innovative experience of the SlideLiner at both ANZ Stadium and Suncorp Stadium. The SlideLiner was a four-person fan bench structure that sat on an 80-metre track near the pitch and moved along the field, following the game as it happened. The SlideLiner was equipped with Samsung technology so fans can share images through social media. The Queensland Reds Super Rugby team also featured personalied player mascots and enrolled the services of a cute red heeler puppy which were both a big hit with fans young and old. The National Rugby Championship (NRC) competition also featured match day programs,which could be downloaded via QR code direct to fans phones or tablets.

NRC Rugby QR Code program

NRC Rugby QR Code program

The SlideLiner

The SlideLiner

QLD Reds mascots

QLD Reds mascots

 

The Australian Baseball League (ABL) also offered fans some very appealing activities with the Brisbane Bandits and Melbourne Aces leading the way. The Aces have set up a dedicated fan zone at their stadium while the Bandits have incorporated food trucks on game nights as well as all you can eat incentives for fans. Another interesting activation by the Bandits was their speed dating ‘singles’ night which could possibly now give Tinder a run for its money for single sports fans to meet that special someone over an authentic ballpark hot dog!

The ANZ Netball Championship also saw plenty of exciting fan engagement with free giveaways at games but one of the more impressive things I noticed was the free healthy and nutritious raw food recipes being published by the Queensland Firebirds team which was certainly a refreshing thing to see in terms of healthy living education. Hockey Australia also engaged fans with their #12daysofhockey campaign which was run across the Hockey Australia, Hockeyroos and Kookaburras social media channels, website and digital platforms and saw fans engage with the national teams via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and audioBoom in order to win prizes.

Netball Fan Engagement

Netball Fan Engagement

12 Days of Hockey Fan Engagement

12 Days of Hockey Fan Engagement

 

Fan engagement is on the rise in Australia and New Zealand with teams and stadiums constantly looking to improve the match day experience for fans. This review has only touched the surface of all the impressive activations that are taking place down here however there are many valuable and creative fan engagement ideas which can be learned from what the hard working club and stadium sports business marketing and digital media reps are doing to get fans back into the stadium and create these lifelong memories for sporting fans.

 

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