Zoom partners with the AFL for the Toyota Fanzone in lieu of live crowds during games

Zoom is the latest partner to join the AFL, providing its video conferencing technology to live broadcasts of games.

To make up for the lack of crowds in the stadiums, Seven’s AFL broadcast cuts to fan celebrations in their homes via the ‘Toyota Fanzone, powered by Zoom’.

Toyota FanZone powered by Zoom has kicked off across Seven’s AFL broadcast

The Fanzone is the first of its kind worldwide to be adapted by an entire league. It kicked off during the first match of round two, which was the AFL’s return following a COVID-19 enforced pause, between the Richmond Tigers and Collingwood Magpies.

The match received 1.002m metro viewers and 1.275m viewers nationally, according to OzTAM’s overnight figures.

Up to 18 households of selected AFL club members can join for each match. Members who wish to be a part of the initiative can register their interest with club membership teams.

Managing director of Seven Melbourne and head of network sport, Lewis Martin, said fans were the most important ingredient to live footy.

“Zoom has played an important part in helping us fill the void left by crowdless stadiums, giving fans at home a sense of connection and comfort. And through the tireless work of our AFL team, particularly executive producer Gary O’Keeffe and Tara Carlon, our broadcasts have been able to capture all the one-eyed passion, colour and tribalism that underpins our collective love of the game,” Martin said.

Michael Chetner, head of APAC at Zoom Video Communications, said: “We’re thrilled to bring spectators into the stadiums through Zoom and simulate the in-stadium visual atmosphere and give the players the support they deserve in the long-awaited return of AFL. We truly believe this has the potential to revolutionise how fans engage with live sporting events in the future, particularly those who live in rural areas who might not be able to access the matches as easily and can feel they are part of the action.

“In addition, this also introduces new opportunities for clubs and broadcasters alike to engage their fan base wherever they are, as well as enhance the viewing experience. We’re also proud to be keeping Australians connected and to drive an experience that many would not have been able to take part in, even before the public health crisis.”

AFL general manager for growth, digital and audiences, Darren Birch, added: “Zoom’s technology has allowed loyal fans to still be an integral part of matches with social distancing restrictions in place. Providing AFL club members with an opportunity to be a part of the broadcast and cheer on their favourite players via the LED in stadiums is just one of the many ways we are aiming to enhance fan engagement.”

The next match to feature the Toyota Fanzone powered by Zoom will be on Thursday 25 June between the Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs.


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