The way we consume sporting events has changed over recent years. Attending a sports event is no longer about watching the spectacle itself, but the social experience associated with it.
With fans having access to news and information at their fingertips, alongside increasing competition from other sporting events and in-home experiences, sports fans' demands continue to grow, and organisers are now expected to provide an enhanced fan experience.
While most sporting events and venues have been providing pre- and post-match entertainment for years, the fan experience is becoming more structured and sophisticated to cater to this ongoing demand.
What is a fan zone?
Fan zones are increasing in popularity, with most major sporting venues and events having an established fan zone on-site, and with more smaller grounds adopting the concept within their venue.
Usually, fan zones are open several hours before the main event gets underway and reopening following the final with bars, eateries, live music, entertainment and merchandise on offer. Family-friendly and on-brand experiential activities are a regular fixture at many.
The goal of hosting a sporting fan zone is to engage and energise fans before and after the event to drive a more energetic atmosphere during the event, as well as increased social content and revenue.
Shipping Container Conversions for Fan Zones
Whereas in the past, tents, canopies and food trailers were typically used, more sporting events and venues are turning to event shipping container conversions to construct their fan zones.
Unlike other event structures that have limitations when it comes to providing hospitality and managing the effects of poor weather conditions, shipping container conversions are versatile, robust and highly secure when not in use.
Whether a temporary or permanent fan zone fixture, shipping container conversions are portable, allowing you to relocate to different locations when required. Great for sporting grounds away days or sporting events that occur over multiple locations.
Shipping container conversions are incredibly versatile, capable of being fitted for a range of different fan zone applications, from catering to retailing and creating areas for family-focused or experiential marketing activities to take place.
Here are three different ways event shipping container conversions have been used by sporting events to create fan zones:
2019 Cricket World Cup Fan Zone
Labelled the "greatest ever celebration of cricket", the 2019 Cricket World Cup delivered incredible off-pitch fan zone activations and sports presentations on all walking routes to hosted stadiums across all match days to energise the in-match atmosphere and generate social content.
Alongside a whole host of experiential and interactive cricket activities, food and drink vendors from around the world and entertainers such as magicians, stilt walkers and costumed characters, were our Studio and Impact Premium event shipping container conversions. Labelled "World Stage" the event shipping container conversions hosted live acoustic sets to excite and greet fans while walking into the venues.
Netball World Cup 2019 Fan Zone
When the Vitality Netball World Cup came to Liverpool in 2019, there was a host of free-for-all fan zone activities for fans to enjoy outside the arena and soak up the atmosphere. While the netball matches streamed live on a giant screen, fans could partake in netball activities or enjoy an exciting programme of music and entertainment.
As the official sponsor of the England national women's team Vitality Roses, Nike hosted a Netball World Cup fan zone activation using two Gallery Plus event shipping container conversions. The event shipping container conversions showcased the official Vitality Roses sportswear range while hosting netball activities and a chill-out area.
Chelsea Football Club Community Shield Fan Zone
Another example of a well-executed fan zone was when Chelsea faced Arsenal in the 2017 FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium. Using a Studio Premium event shipping container conversion, Chelsea FC hosted a fan zone activation, allowing fans the opportunity to have their picture with the Premier League trophy, get a free personalised programme and watch football highlights.
The fan zone shipping container conversion helped create a real pre-match buzz, engaging fans of all ages and demographics, while helping amplify word-of-mouth recommendations through exciting customer content.