CX Strategy for the most innovative sports stadium in the southern hemisphere


In 2018 the West Coast Eagles AFL team needed to transition from their home of 30 years at Subiaco Oval to a brand new stadium Optus Stadium, the most innovative stadium in the southern hemisphere.  

There were 2 key customer challenges:

1.    Easing anxiety of the move for fans & create excitement
Many of the members and fans were anxious about the move. Due to the location of Optus Stadium there was no parking so all members and fans were forced to use public transport or ride sharing, which required a big shift in mindset. There was also a lack of awareness of the new location including places to eat and drink before and after the game.

2.    To significantly increase the fan energy and engagement during games
The crowd atmosphere at Subiaco was dull and the members and fans were often described as the “Chardonnay Drinkers” ie posh and boring who go quiet when the team isn’t going well. There was a risk this dull fan energy and atmosphere would be brought across to the new stadium.      

Solution 1: Gameday mobile app feature

To ease anxiety of the move & create excitement the GameDay feature was added to the app which included:·      


By the time the season finished fans were well and truly satisfied with their new stadium which was evident by:

  • App downloads more than doubled during the season
  • App engagement massively improved by 4.6 times compared to the previous year

Solution 2: Coaches Address and Join The Huddle

Coaches Address
To overcome this dull fan energy, it was critical make to fans understand how much impact they can have on the game and give the West Coast Eagles team a competitive advantage.

The coaches address was created to bring the fans deeper into the inner-sanctum of the club than ever before.  Adam Simpson the head coach gave a season address via video to players, members and fans, giving each group a role to play on game day explaining how unlocking a new level of energy from fans was critical for success this year. This was sent to all members and fans and supported by a campaign in local media.

Join The Huddle
The second part of the concept was to give fans one big unifying action to help intimidate the opposition. The players naturally huddle together straight after the captain tosses the coin two minutes before the game starts, so this moment was leveraged to connect the fans to the players on the ground as a sign of unity. The hashtag #JoinTheHuddle also included for fans not at the game. Which meant fans on social media rallied each other and also talked about where they would be joining the huddle from.


For all home games during the 2018 season over 50,000 fans each game joined the huddle creating an enormous roar. One game reaching 112.1dB which if sustained for one minute of exposure without hearing protection would breach workplace safety standards.

AFL media experts around the country were also taken back by the shift in crowd energy for example Gerard Whateley, Fox Sports (AFL360) said “The Eagles crowd is the best in the competition. They’re creating an environment which is unmatched by the rest of the competition.”  

We also achieved an AFL attendance record, with eight consecutive attendances over 50,000 (AFL record - never before been achieved in the history of AFL/VFL competition.

Join the Huddle is now a pre-game ritual that still exists today 5 seasons later.