The group stage is over and the FIFA Women’s World Cup is now into the early phases of the knockout stage which promises to continue and bring us more drama, stories, and football.
We had the chance to go to Reims, France, for the final match of group E between the Netherlands and Canada at the Stade Auguste-Delaune. We’ll now take you through the fan journey and the business side of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- FIFA Fan Experience- situated a short walk from the city centre and its cathedral, the noise from the fan zone could be heard but minimal directions to be seen (more on that later). The area was packed with mostly Dutch fans and a great atmosphere. What was on offer? Football activations, fan painting, women’s football history exhibition, Champagne tasting. Unfortunately, we only arrived as the area was getting ready for the march to the stadium. Overall it seemed that a good experience was provided for the fans.
- Digital Communication- We’re not app designers but our main source of information was the FIFA app. While it provides with all you need to know about the games, apart from basic historical information about Reims we couldn’t find any information about the Fan Experience area. We did, however, receive a very detailed email a day before the match highlighting key information such VISA payments only, link to print the tickets, finally information about the fan experience area and stadium information. We found out after the match that there was actually an official host city Twitter account. A day after the match we received another email from FIFA thanking us for coming and sharing information about where to see the highlights, call to action to buy tickets for more matches and a link to an online fan portal.
- Host City Signage- We drove from a bordering country and the first evidence of signage of the World Cup were a few flags hanging from lamp posts on main roads leading to the city centre. One of the city’s main pedestrian areas had minimal signage in our opinion. Apart from bars and pubs to the side that were celebrating the tournament only an occasional outdoor advertising asset was used to share information about the tournament taking place in the city. The road we took to the fan zone had only small signage.
- Sponsors Presence- We’ll focus on around the stadium activations here. The most notable FIFA Partner were Coca-Cola, VISA and a National Partner, recruitment company Proman. Coca-Cola’s presence was clear as only Coca Cola brands were sold in the concessions area and a few drinking and eating areas were also Coca Cola branded. VISA’s presence was notable firstly thorough VISA Customer Service Representatives walking around the fans and helping anyone who needed a bit more clarity about paying options which were strongly stated at any point of sale. Proman’s stewards were assisting with crowd control and movement and also offered to face paint fans.
- In Stadia Entertainment- in an era of fan engagement, and depending on how soon you entered the stadium, the usual chatting with fans and asking questions by a camera crew attempted to pass the time towards kick off more pleasantly. The usual event partners promotional videos were played. Eventually, the highlight of big-screen entertainment came in the form of a noise activated game where fans had to cheer upon a virtual Ettie (tournament mascot). The louder it got the faster Ettie ran. Lastly, not precisely entertainment but a nice touch, both nations flags were distributed on the seats.
Lastly, some general notes, there was a bit of seating chaos as fans were sitting where available rather than where they should caused a bit of unnecessary disruption. The stewards in our area were quite passive about it and let fans sort it out on their own. In the security check before entering the stadium there was too much fuss about fans trying to bring in small flags and banners. FIFA does provide information on its website about banners regulations though.
One final question though…how come there’s no official beer partner for the tournament? Surprisingly, only by a visit a day after the match to the Taittinger cellars we found it that it is the official Champagne of the tournament.
This was our experience of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Obviously rather subjective but a positive one nonetheless. What was yours? Share with us below