In 2020, sports around the world were facing a unique challenge – how to keep fans engaged while COVID-19 restrictions prevented them from attending games in person. In Australia, one initiative stood out as an innovative solution to this problem – The Fan In The Stand.
The Origins of The Fan In The Stand
The idea of The Fan In The Stand was born out of sheer necessity. With stadiums unable to host live crowds, sports teams had to come up with creative ways to fill the empty seats and keep their players motivated. The Fan In The Stand was one such solution.
The Concept Behind the Initiative
The Fan In The Stand was an online platform that allowed fans to upload their photos to be turned into cardboard cutouts. These cutouts were then placed in the stands of stadiums during games. The concept was simple yet effective – it gave teams a way to create a semblance of normalcy by recreating the atmosphere of a live game even without actual fans present in the stadium.
But the concept of using cardboard cutouts in stadiums wasn’t entirely new. In fact, it had been done before, albeit on a smaller scale. In 2012, the Kansas City Royals baseball team had used cardboard cutouts of fans to fill empty seats during a game. The idea was a hit with fans, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic hit that the concept was taken to a whole new level.
Launch and Initial Reception
The Fan In The Stand was launched in May 2020 in Australia, and it quickly gained popularity among sports fans with the initiative receiving significant media coverage making many fans eager to join in the fun.
Soon, other countries and sports leagues followed suit. Major League Baseball in the United States, for example, allowed teams to use cardboard cutouts of fans during their games and some teams even went a step further and added crowd noise and music to make it feel like there were actual fans in the stadium.
The Fan In The Stand also had a philanthropic aspect to it with some teams donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cardboard cutouts to charity. For example, the English Premier League team, West Ham United, donated the proceeds from their cardboard cutouts to a local food bank.
Overall, The Fan In The Stand was a creative and innovative solution to a difficult problem. It allowed sports teams to keep their players motivated and engaged, while also giving fans a way to feel like they were still a part of the game, even if they couldn’t be there in person.
How The Fan In The Stand Worked
There were two main components to The Fan In The Stand – cardboard cutouts and online fan interactions.
Cardboard Cutout Fans
Fans could upload their photos on the relevant team’s website, and their photos were then printed onto a cardboard cutout. These cutouts were then placed in the stands during games, giving a visual impression of a live crowd.
Online Fan Interaction
The Fan In The Stand also featured an online component. Fans could interact with the game as they would typically do while attending it in person. There were virtual cheer squads, crowd noise, and even the option for fans to boo opposing teams.
Revenue Generation for Sports Teams
The Fan In The Stand was also a revenue generation opportunity for sports teams with fans able to purchase their cutouts online, and the proceeds went towards supporting their respective teams. It was a win-win situation – fans got to be a part of the game, and teams received much-needed revenue during a period of economic uncertainty.
The Fan In The Stand was an ingenious solution to an unprecedented challenge. It kept fans engaged with their teams, provided a sense of community, and helped to boost morale during a dark time. The initiative was a testament to human ingenuity and creativity, and it is a model for how sports can adapt and innovate in the face of adversity.
At Betting Sites Australia, we were big fans of the fan in the stand and think it should be preserved to remind us all of the strength and resilience of Aussie sports fans in the face of adversity.