As the seasons change in Australia it is becoming more and more apparent that the global sports scene is waking up to the massive opportunities to engage fans across the continent.
The latest example was just a few weeks ago, when the International Champions Cup hit The Melbourne Cricket Grounds and took international soccer to a new level. A record crowd of over 99,000 turned out for the final match between Manchester City and Real Madrid after similar crowds filled MCG earlier in the week. Once thought of as a place for just cricket, and Aussie Rules Football and the Australian Open, the Australian audience is growing with the help of the digital space and the savvy groups bringing more global events Down Under.
“At TLA we see tremendous opportunity in bringing high-quality global events to the sports-savvy consumer in Australia, and the unprecedented success of the ICC is the next step in making that opportunity a reality,” said Mike Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency who partnered with Nine Live and Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, to produce, market and deliver the Australian event to a worldwide audience.
“Australia has a long and storied history of sport and is a growing market in terms of fan and brand engagement,” he added. “We are working to create new chapters in that history by helping the best in the business make the trip ‘Down Under,’ and deliver a successful experience for any wide number of properties in the coming years. This was just step one in a series that is coming, and we are excited to be a part of the process.”
The MCG’s previous recorded attendance for a soccer match was the 95,446 who saw the Melbourne Victory v Liverpool match in 2013. That overtook the 95,103 between the Socceroos and Greece in May 2006. On September 30, 2000 at Stadium Australia (Homebush/Olympic Stadium/Telstra Stadium now ANZ Stadium) a crowd of 104,098 watched the 2000 Olympic Games football tournament gold medal match between Cameroon and Spain which remains the record for the largest crowd for a soccer match in Australia.
Some of the key sponsors who came on board as part of an extensive brand activation platform in and around the games included: Audi, VMEC, Telstra, HostPlus, Crown Resorts, Crownbet, CUB, Samsung, Nike, TAG and Indeed.com.
Plans for the next Australian event are already underway while both the United States and Australia prepare for a matchup back in the U.S. on September 5, when the Qantas Wallabees meet the USA Eagles in a historic rugby matchup at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Along with USA Rugby, TLA is a key business partner in that event as well. With MLB taking more interest in live events, the soccer success, increasing interest in hockey and basketball and the growing fascination with American football, the conversation around sport and Australia, especially American and European mainstays, is just getting started.