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Pool Deck at the Gabba

Keeping fans cool through the summer of cricket

The Commonwealth Bank Day/Night Test Match at the GABBA was a focus event and market for Cricket Australia during the 2016/17 International Cricket Season. It was identified by Cricket Australia  that attendance at, and interest in the GABBA Test Match outside England and Indian fixtures had plateaued and risked further decline unless a strategy with specific activity to address fan engagement in the event was developed to help reverse the trend.

The problem had been identified and Cricket Australia sought assistance from its Fan Marketing, PR and Activation partner TLA to create and implement a strategy for the GABBA Test that would:

  • Drive increased exposure of the Test Match through earned media both during and in the lead up to the Test Match
  • Appeal to new fans, giving them a reason to attend the Test Match
  • Provide a unique experience for those in attendance
  • Provide a platform for broadcast integration and further exposure of the event experience
  • Increase attendance to exceed the attendance benchmark of 52,212.

Working closely with CA, Stadiums Queensland (the GABBA) and the Queensland Government, TLA developed a plan that set out to achieve all of these objectives. The insights that guided TLA’s strategy were based on a combination of Fan Activation experience and some generalisations about the Queensland market:

  • Large scale in bowl activations can effectively attract significant attention from media.
  • Test Matches provide ample opportunity for broadcast integration given the pace and nature of the game.
  • December in Queensland is hot and fans are always looking to keep cool.
  • Unlike traditional, passionate Test cricket fans, new fans are looking for more than just the action on field. New audiences to cricket will be incentivised and attracted by unique match entertainment experiences and the opportunity to be a part of something that is part of an entertainment proposition, rather than a traditional cricket match day experience. .
  • A chance to be a part of a unique experience contributes to ticket sales

The concept TLA and CA developed in consideration of these insights and the strategic objectives was The Pool Deck at the Gabba. A custom structure occupying three seating bays. The Pool Deck provided fans with the chance to experience Cricket in a truly unique way with not only shaded seating decks but a 10m x 8m pool to cool off in the hot Brisbane summer weather – officially the best seats in the house!

The Pool Deck was launched via a media event at the Streets Beach in Brisbane by our appointed Pool Deck Ambassador Stephanie Rice. Steph introduced this exciting new concept to the media and the general public encouraging them to purchase a ticket to the Brisbane Test Match for their chance to go for a Swim at the Gabba Test! This announcement was supported by a variety of tactics on social media, strong PR coverage and a radio partnership with Triple M to increase exposure of the Pool Deck and encourage fans to purchase a ticket to be a part of it.