The exact definition of the word 'football' is an issue of hot debate.
In some parts of the world (we're looking at you Europe and South America), people associate it with soccer. In other regions, it's become synonymous with rugby. Here in Australia, however, there's no confusion, and footy only means one thing.
Just how footy mad is Australia?
— #AFLGF (@AFLGrandFinal) October 3, 2015
Australia's fascination with footy culminates, of course in the AFL, with millions of fans from around the country supporting their local teams from the sideline, attending custom exhibition fan zones or cheering them on from home. In fact, AFL is the most watched sport (not including major events such as the summer Olympics) in Australia, with around 7.83 million people viewing the games 'almost always' or 'occasionally', according to figures collated by research firm Roy Morgan.
In terms of viewership numbers, this puts the AFL ahead of other sports such as cricket (7.42 million), tennis (6.83 million) and NRL (6.73 million).
While watching the finals on a big screen is fun in its own right, it pales in comparison to attending a match in person. This year's event, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), was no exception, attracting a crowd of almost 100,000 people who witnessed one of the most one-sided grand finals in history.
A brief recap of the AFL grand finals
As merciless as they were clinical, the Hawks stomped the Eagles with an impressive 46 point win, allowing the Hawthorn side to walk away with their third premiership in a row. In case you somehow managed to miss the game, you can catch some of the highlights in the YouTube video below:
How did the Hawks win by such a large margin? Well, there were many factors at play, but essentially it boiled down to the Eagles failing to capitalise on early opportunities. The Hawks took full advantage of the fact, pulling ahead to a convincing 31 point lead by half time, as noted by Fox Sports. West Coast came bursting out the gates in the third quarter, but it was ultimately too little too late, and the rampaging Hawks were able to increased the score margin to 46 points by the time the final whistle blew.
While it was the Hawks' synergy that allowed them to assert such a strong dominance over their rivals, there were some particularly standout players. News.com.au surmised that Cyril Rioli had a particularly big impact on the game, kicking two goals, taking 12 marks and helping set up a slew of scoring opportunities for his teammates. In fact, his impressive contribution to the match saw him win the Norm Smith Medal.
How did Proj-X contribute to the footy festivities?
— Melb Cricket Ground (@MCG) September 26, 2015
The atmosphere during the grand final was electric, but footy fans were thrilled to find that the buzz wasn't confined to the stadium. In the lead up to the event, the Foxtel Footy Festival served as an all-encompassing entertainment hub, providing AFL fans with live music acts, food stalls, movies and a range of fun footy festivities.
To help the company create an engaging space that would generate a sense of excitement, Foxtel approached Proj-X to design and create a customised mobile event. Dubbed 'Foxtel HQ', the space would act as something of an entertainment nerve centre for the greater festival.
As you can see in the image, we heavily modified one of our shipping containers to achieve Foxtel's vision of creating a flowing, inviting and attractive area. Incorporating Foxtel's iconic bright orange colour scheme into the design allowed us to create a seamless branding experience that boosted the company's profile and caught the eye of the thousands of attendees who passed by over the course of the event.
Part of Foxtel HQ was comprised of another shipping container that we customised extensively to create a performance area. With Foxtel branding and topped off with a Hollywood-style red carpet and velvet rope, the stage acted as a focal point and attracted many curious onlookers.
AFL.com.au noted that many TV celebrities graced the stage over the course of the event, including famous faces from The Real Housewives of Melbourne, Australia's Next Top Model, Pawn Stars Australia and more.
How did the festival help Foxtel to boost its profile?
— AFL House (@AFL_House) October 2, 2015
The festival ran for four days from September 30 to October 3, and was located in Yarra Park, situated directly outside the MCG. This prime location and its direct proximity to the grand finals meant that the event saw a tremendous amount of foot traffic, giving the Foxtel brand an incredible amount of exposure.
This was undoubtedly helped by the fact that the festival was completely free to attend. Despite this, the facilities were of a premium quality. For example, telecommunications giant Telstra provided free Wi-Fi hotspots at various locations amongst the custom exhibition stands, allowing attendees to connect with friends and share their festival experience in the digital space.
In addition, the grand final was show on big screens, fostering a fun and festive environment for people who weren't able to watch the game in the flesh.
In summary, it's fair to say that the Foxtel Footy Festival was a resounding success, and we're proud to have played a part in it. By extensively modifying a number our mobile shipping containers, we are able to create a beautiful, engaging and functional space for Foxtel that enabled the company to gain exposure and ultimately increase the brand's visibility during the excitement of the AFL grand finals.