The Sydney Swans have set the benchmark among AFL Clubs for on-field excellence in recent years, making regular finals appearances and consistently featuring among experts’ premiership tips. Administratively, they are making their mark too with a league-best approach to their match day output and fan experience.
A focus on fan-led content creates engaged followers
In traditional Rugby League heartland, the Swans consistently draw big crowds to their home matches out of the SCG, with marketing chiefs committed to making the ticket proposition a compelling feast of fan-driven content. Social is spearheading that philosophy, with the Swans crafting their match day experience around interactions that promote social engagement.
In conjunction with commercial partner HCF, the Swans gave fans the opportunity to be part of the big screen program with Crowd Convergence social walls – branded Instagram and Twitter live social media displays. Social walls have been a regular feature of the Swans home matches in recent seasons, with engagement metrics showing fans love the opportunity to see their face on the big screen in-stadia (participation has doubled since 2014!). The UGC from that effort and related hashtag promotion, feeds into the Swans dedicated social hub – a visual bank of the best earned media, showing fans enjoying the atmosphere at matches and other Swans-led marketing executions.
This peer-driven media is driving fans to feel connected to the brand and therefore to feel compelled to attend matches. Market evidence shows people are more trusting of UGC promotion than traditional advertising which was a key driver for Swans partner HCF to get on board. 2016 was HCF’s third season investing in Crowd Convergence’s social platform as part of their match activation strategy to leverage their broader partnership of the Swans. The strategy is kicking goals with 14.95% of all in-stadia match day social media posts directly interacting with the HCF brand through the #hcfgoswans hashtag.
A more informed audience is a more engaged audience
The Swans fans are an informed audience – they love metrics on the performance of their players and the opposition. So when Crowd Convergence launched our stats package in 2015, it gave the Swans the mechanic they needed to give fans broadcast-level insight at a never-before-seen level in the stadium environment. Crucially it means they can also capitalise on key moments in-play by delivering real-time statistics and compelling data to fans even as the live match progresses. Commercially too, the Crowd Convergence stats package is a neat sponsorable asset which the Swans are leveraging with partners.
AFL fan tweets stats showing Sydney Swans dominating play
Fans are fed a full suite of live and historical statistics with content decisions made on the run, and steered to capitalise on the progress of the live match. Stats appear through pre-match as full screen boards and side panels; in-match over the live feed as a ticker display; at half-time through full screen and side panels supported by commentary from the MC; and post-match through full screen outputs to support interviews and the MC.
Crowd Convergence stats output of the Round 17 game of 2016 vs Hawthorn
Responsive to global trends and market evidence to ensure they remain at the cutting edge
The Swans are certainly leading the charge on best practice match day presentation showing a clear and purposeful will to respond to evidence that social is now defining the course of sport presentation. And it’s not just a fan-led objective, but is also revealing valuable new commercial assets in their marketing inventory, which ultimately provide additional opportunities for partners to contribute to their bottom line.
Across 11 home games at the SCG there were 44,346 social media posts (4,031 posts per game)
Through the Social Wall activation HCF had tremendous social engagement results using the hashtag #hcfgoswans:
9,005,562 brand impressions (818k per game)
14.95% of all in-stadia, game day social media posts used #hcfgoswans
1.05% of total game attendees posted #hcfgoswans (A similar comparison can be made with Click Through Rates on display advertising where the average CTR in Australia is 0.08%*. This shows the power of social engagement.)