The RFU have been very active in bringing the online and offline experiences closer together over the last couple of years. They’ve managed to foster a really engaged audience on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RFUTV and the ‘O2 Inside Line’ behind the scenes magazine show.
How do you top 2012? Well, following work this summer Twickenham is now the first stadium in England and the first rugby stadium in Europe with full 360 degree mid-tier LED displays and they’re using them primarily to build atmosphere during games.
The match day experience is something that has been much discussed. How can fans engaged using mobile, and social media generally, become more involved when it comes to the big games? Many have tried with Foursquare initiatives, Twitter handles on player shirts (and pitches), tunnel cams and pushing fan messages.
So how are the RFU using their new 360 degree LED displays to tap into the fan experience? Tom Hines, Digital Content Strategist at the RFU, explains;
“One of the ways we want to do this is by asking for messages of support for the team via Twitter using the hashtag #fanfortress. Fans can send in their tweets all week and we’ll then pick the best and display them on the mid-tier LEDs during the match along with the @ handles of the fans who sent them in. It’s also a neat way for fans who can’t be at the match to get their voice into the stadium in some form.”
This is a really nice initiative and be a great reward for those at the game, and watching on TV, to see their messages of support appear. On top of this they have been building up to the game by running Twitter Q&A’s with players during training sessions and pics showing the players preparing for the visit of Scotland on Saturday.
They’ve also been giving fans the opportunity to post questions on Facebook to the likes of Brad Barritt. This has received almost 200 comments from their 480k fan page. The best questions are then asked to Brad, recorded and the final video posted onto the Facebook page.
Tom promises that; “If we get a good response this week and it’s well received by the fans on Saturday then we aim to do it for each of England’s home games during the 6 Nations.”
Its also been getting support from Twitter as the platform works ever closer with sporting names, teams and events.
If you want to keep up to date about all things England during the 6 Nations, then make sure you visit the RFU website. It’s very slick and has loads of top content for you to find your way round. It also showcases tweets from their two official accounts; @Official_RFU and @RFUchampionship.
So get Tweeting now!!! and enjoy the start of the 6 Nations.