I have complained about the Australian Open once already and unfortunately, this post is no different.
A sporting event should focus on one thing: game day experience. That can encompass many things: food and drink concessions, non-play entertainment, navigating the venue, access to facilities, incorporation of technology, lighting, music… the list can literally be endless and depends primarily on the event host, what they want to focus on, and their goals.
The opening ceremony at the Australian Open is an example of an event host trying to provide a memorable experience for fans. It was a good idea, but I cringed through the whole thing. I even tweeted: “Seriously, @australianopen? What’s with the opening ceremony? This is not the Olympics.”
A girl friend of mine, who is in marketing, said “If I was on the creative team for this, I would have shut it down.” Not even the guys had anything to say about it – and they have something to say about everything.
I can’t seem to find a video of it anywhere (I’d try to keep it off the internet, too) but here’s the jist: a young boy, around 12, came out of the locker room and walked down the hall of champions, paused at Andre Agassi’s photo, then walked to the court, where he sat down. Images of all previous men’s single champions were shown on the court. There was also other interesting lighting and Fantasia-like music.
I like the idea, I really do, but here was the problem: we knew what they were up to. We knew they were trying to entertain us. Entertaining us is fine but you can’t make your efforts so blatantly obvious. The little boy? I just felt bad for him. The announcers were also narrating it – if the announcers need to tell you what you’re seeing… it’s pointless. The photos of the previous champions would have been a nice tribute, but we had just seen them in the champions hall. Not to mention they aired that commercial of all men and womens’ champions about a trillion times over the course of the day.
Like I said, the idea was there, but did it have to be cheesy?
Same goes for the non-game entertainment. There was a segment where Roger Rasheed was giving the key points/what he would do if he were Murray or Djokovic. They had two images of him on-screen, looking like he was playing tennis against himself, essentially, but only one of him was speaking at a time which sort of defeated the purpose, don’t you think? You sort of think to yourself, “I know they’re trying to keep me entertained until the game starts… but was this really the best they could come up with? Just give me a black screen until 7:30, please.”
Next year, Australian Open, try not to be so cringe-worthy. You are a classy sport and you don’t need to resort to cheap tactics.