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.
I do not need to tell you how much people love these Daily Deals. In fact, I can’t think of a single friend of mine who hasn’t subscribed at one point or another (except my boyfriend, but I think he’s just being resistant). At one point, these group buying sites were a gold mine – everyone wanted in and each business was worth several billion dollars. Their dominance has subsided recently, but they’re still around with around 45% of Australians subscribing to these services. That’s a big percentage, no matter how you slice it.
One thing I’ve found interesting is that people say the problem with these websites is that they keep offering the same things: meals at restaurants, salon services, tourist activities… you know the drill. People complain because they keep the same offers over and over (and over). So my question is this: why don’t they start a partnership with sports teams?
Think of the possibilities!
For the Daily Deals sites, they get variety to offer their customers, which makes them happy. The leagues/teams get to reach nearly half the Australian population. And when you think about it, the people who subscribe to websites like these are not always the same people who come to games. It’s an easy way to reach a different market. The people I know who subscribe to these websites are women (always a ‘get’ for teams) or people in families (you can hit four people with one email!). And these websites do the work of contacting them – all the leagues have to do is decide what to offer.
The obvious offer is tickets. Many clubs already have cheap tickets to encourage people to come to games, but other than grand finals or games with really popular teams, games rarely sell out. Clearly they could be making tickets even cheaper. This would be especially beneficial during weeks that low attendance is expected – games between clubs with low membership, or on days where other events are happening that could be bigger. It’s not fool-proof, but I’d be willing to bet that they’d sell tickets more than normal.
Think of all the other offers that could be made! A free food or drink item with entry, a supporter pack or other merchandise (every club I know ALWAYS has extra merch – I have a GWS member 2012 to prove it), maybe even an autographed item – all these things would be easily put on these websites and provide great advertising/marketing opportunities.
And I haven’t even told you the best part (well, almost the best part). The league will never have to reneg on a deal! One of the hard things about operating these sites is that if you don’t get enough people, the deal goes away. On the other hand, if you get too many, it’s impossible to redeem. I cannot see that happening at all. No club is going to sell out with these offers, nor will they run out of merch or food/drink. If they do… there’s always another game and another chance for redeeming the coupons. Seriously? This is genius. Set up those sponsorship meetings, guys!
(Photo Credit: goodbusiness.net)