The ‘New Normal’ Matchday Experience
With the significant changes to the normal matchday experience for sport, primarily with the loss of crowds, we’re intrigued to see how rights holders and brands will be looking to engage consumers through the ‘new normal’. Broadcast, digital, virtual, and at-home channels are set to be leveraged by brands involved in sport and we’re here to take a look at some rights holders and brands doing it the best.
Borussia Monchengladbach has been challenging the big two in German football on the field in the Bundesliga title race and innovating off the field to be the first sporting organisation globally to coin the idea enabling fans to buy cardboard cutouts of themselves to maintain their physical presence at the game, even though they can’t attend. The NRL has seen the success that the German club has had, and has built on the idea by creating the ‘Fan In The Stand’ online portal, where supporters can upload a photo of themselves and have a cut-out made for $22, as well as create their own banners and music playlists to be played at the breaks.
With the NRL being the first major Australian sport returning, Kia has re-ignited the season and its partnership with the Brisbane Broncos by creating the ‘Drive-In Footy’ experience allowing fans to drive their cars in and watch the big game on a giant screen, 15 minutes drive from the Brisbane CBD.
One of the most recent major deals signed in the Australian sponsorship market was between Menulog and Sydney South Rabbitohs, which sees a thriving brand and category partnering with a leading Australian sports organisation to leverage the passion and engagement of the fans. Menulog is looking to own the matchday experience by offering 25% off for all 30,000 Rabbitohs members to enhance the return of footy. The partnership also sees the brand collaborate with Commonwealth Bank by offering CommBank Rewards customers $15 cashback when they spend $30 or more using their CBA credit or debit Mastercard when they activate and redeem the offer.
While brands are leveraging the return to play and innovating the matchday experience, so are major rights holders across the country. AFL is working with its partners to develop unique at-home experiences to make the ‘new normal’ viewing experience much better than just normal.
Likewise, Netball Australia is looking at how it can bring fans into the matchday experience of the arena by replicating the 2014 Google and Manchester United ‘Front Row’ collaboration that enabled fans to share in the magic of being at Old Trafford through Google Hangouts. Netball Australia is also exploring ways in which it can use the broadcast and LED signage to drive fan engagement through live social feeds, live stats and online polls; while working with partners to take their physical concourse activations online.
It’s great to see the ‘new normal’ coming to fruition and it couldn’t be further from normal as brands and rights holders look to find unique ways to improve the matchday experience and bring communities together. We can’t wait to help our clients bring these new experiences to life to celebrate the return of sport.
By Nick Sloman – Senior Commercial Strategist
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