Crio’s Question: The ‘fan experience’ – did the earth move for you?

The “fan experience” catch-cry continues to bug me.

I know that I am old school…

if I want fireworks I’ll go to Moomba.

if I want music I’ll go to a concert.

If I want spruiking, I’ll – no, why would I?

Yet PR companies make good coin churning out the same drudge.

They’re not really talking “fan experience”. They are trying to “engage” non-fans to an “entertainment experience” in the seasonal events age which has evolved.

In doing so we have occasional consumers, but lose fans.

Even I understand that we’ll never get back to the Saturdays of packed trains disgorging racelovers to the track each week, but the promos for Spring are cringeworthy for long term converts – hats/party/music/glamour…

I recognise the “bang for your buck” intent of hyped adverts, but they’re just creating different versions of the same product.

The sport itself needs to return to the core of the attraction as the “point of difference”.

My early experience as a footy fan revolved around the game. I really looked forward to the match, the company, the “vibe”.

We watched the magoos.

When trainers, in their white overalls, began waddling from the race, we paid attention. Those with a close vantage point would crane their necks. The banner would rise and it was “game time”. The toss of the coin, the handshake, the roar were all unprompted.

At the end of a minor match, we’d stream on to the ground, even pat some backs, get an autograph, have a kick.

For more important occasions, the team would engage us as they left together – none of this HBO boxing style invasion by media “personalities” who bring breathless nonsensicals to the TV audience and leave the attendees feeling like extras in a game show.

I’m not wanting my ticket price to include the lion tamer’s fee.

I go to sport to watch it – that is the fan’s experience.

Any “extras” must be in support of, not a diversion from, the main attraction.

If the product can’t exist on it’s merits it needs fixing not window dressing.


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    Could not agree more. Stick it where the sun don’t shine. Dis-engage from the matrix.

  2. Crio, first time in years I headed down the road to HQ and stood in the public… never ever again, half the course obscured by corporate tents for the features still 6 weeks away.
    14k in attendance on a stunning day with only the vfl footy to compete with,$15 for two plastic cups of Boags and $20 to get in.No wonder no one goes.

  3. sounds like you didn’t find a winner either!
    Your criticism overlooks the “free” L’Oreal products bag that is usually handed to drunk ladies as they leave.

  4. Article on the box this week, asking about why we have the entertainment, before the GF. Is this what has footy come to? We need to have some old, young, middle of the road to get us excited about a GF?? If we do, the the world is suffering more than my mates going to Iraq. Anybody heard of the TAC cup??? Anybody heard of the VFL??? I thought is was a footy day, not a waste of resources that give me the shits when watching. And with all due respects ( I liked meatloaf). Yes, I am old school, but what is the GF about? Go to a country GF as I did last week. Juniors kicking off the dew. Netball girls, warming up. Juniors finish, another one to come. Netball starting to go for it. Reserves/seconds whatever you wish to call it. Netball over, celebrations going. Bring on the big game. If you love sport/afl what a place to be. Don’t need one direction, miley, all that crap. Just give us the game we want. All year we support it and you treat us like idiots on the best day in the world, except for a couple.

  5. Couldn’t agree more, Crio. I love music, but don’t go to the footy to see and listen to music.

    At the Collingwood members’meeting, there was some discussion about the “match day experience.” A good game of footy is what we want, at times that are convenient to attend and seating and entry arrangements are simple.

    Like others I used to love watching at least the second half of the twos before the main game, but that is gone. If they are going to have entertainment, make it footy-related featuring past players and/or kids. Turn the volume down on the PA, get rid of kiss-cam, hug-cam, that stupid bloody chemist thing at the G, put some meaningful stats on the scoreboard early in the breaks and let us watch the footy and talk about it during the breaks – the KISS principle.

  6. Crio
    I’ve filled out a couple of surveys from Richmond recently asking for my feedback on the match-day experience. The surveys tested my knowledge of our sponsors and my views about the different promotions and assorted gimmicks that were on offer. I couldn’t answer most of them. My recollection of such banality is non-existent. I scrolled forward searching for the footy-related questions. There were none. I made a terse comment in the “additional comments” box at the end to the effect that I went to the footy to enjoy – the footy. Somehow it felt like cranium and brick colliding.

  7. Unfortunately the brick wins.
    Don’t Tiges have a “ROARMETER” to encourage enthusiasm?

    The awful truth, most likely, is that this survey was not even a footy club initiative – other than the wasted dough. Great gig for the “butcher’s paper” flogs – they can’t lose on these…if members don’t identify then more money needs to be inserted; if they do somehow “connect”, then the promo has been a success and needs to be ramped up.
    As the great psycho/analyst (albeit Lucy’s subject), Charlie Brown, would say, “Good Grief!”

  8. Peter Fuller says

    Yours sounds like the one I did for Carlton and that was very similar to one dished out to AFL Members. I expect that the company designing the surveys does them as a job lot. Crio is right on the money, just an exercise to be able to claim consultation has been carried out.
    Happily my surveys did not focus (as far as I recall) too much on the match-day experience, where my attitude mirrors yours.
    I fear however that we are on a certain loser. The AFL and its clubs aren’t interested in those of us whose love of the game compels us to continue to fork out and front up because we’re addicted. They are pitching to the theatregoers who might be weaned away from the last big thing to attend the footy, and will soon be distracted by the next big thing.
    Brian Mathews memorably said many years ago: “It’s a great game, it will take some real first-rate bad management to stuff it up.”

  9. kath presdee says

    I think I’ve just done two for the Giants.

    For me and mine the match day experience is mostly about the footy. The best entertainment post game is kick to kick (yes, we have it at the Showgrounds and Manuka). Admittedly one post game entertainment the Giants organised (some Crusty Demons motocross stuff) was after the Richmond debacle and we decided to leave once the siren sounded. Friends who stayed, however were glad they did.

    I don’t want entertainment every week. Special occasions OK but it doesn’t have to be all the time. It’s the footy and the atmosphere of the footy. Not the other bells and whistles.

  10. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the ‘entertainment after the game to stretch out the leaving crowds? The best thing about footy in the 90s was seeing the ressies go round and get a heads up on the young pups coming through. Watching the development of the Scottsdale, Akermanis, Voss, etc, back in the day meant that the ‘ownership’ of the team was that much more real. I’d love to see reserve grade, or at least a support game, finish 30 minute before the main game. Would make the effort to get there early enough to see it, and would then be forced to spend more money on overpriced snacks and drinks.

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