This exclusive insight into Eden Park’s glamping initiative is part of Fan XP- a newsletter designed to keep you abreast of the latest innovations, strategies and more regarding fan experience across the globe. To sign up, please click here.
When it comes to making a stadium feel like a ‘home from home’ for fans, Eden Park’s latest initiative takes some beating.
The iconic 60,000-capacity Auckland stadium, which has twice hosted the Rugby World Cup final, recently teamed up with Airbnb to launch a ‘Staydium Glamping’ experience, offering visitors the chance to stay overnight in custom-designed domes situated in the facility’s north-eastern corner.
The domes provide guests with a floor-to-ceiling view of the pitch, as well as a bed, television, bathroom and heating, while visitors also receive a welcome basket and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Eden Park.
The domes are located on an elevated platform overlooking the entire field. For bookings on match days, dedicated premium seating is allocated within the seating bowl to offer a full fan experience.
The initiative is reportedly the first of its kind for a mainstream sports stadium. However, interestingly just weeks after the partnership was announced, the famous Goodyear Blimp, a feature at college American football games, was also listed on Airbnb in the lead-up to a University of Michigan v Notre Dame clash, illustrating the potential of the idea.
Nick Sautner, Eden Park’s CEO, highlights the continuing evolution of the sports and entertainment landscape that means stadia are “challenged to combat consumption of sport through non-traditional channels”.
He adds to Fan XP: “Staydium Glamping is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the ultimate ‘Instagrammable’ experience. Sports fans can add a variety of additional experiences to their stay, including dinner in the changing rooms, photos on the field, a personalised stadium tour by our historian and even a private zipline and rooftop tour.
“A number of bookings have been made to stay during international events being held around the globe, including the Super Bowl, FA Cup final, AFL grand final and Wimbledon.
“Auckland’s unprecedented growth in recent years demonstrates the city’s global appeal and diverse multicultural communities. Eden Park is for all of Auckland and New Zealand, not solely for supporters of rugby and cricket.
“Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and along with its European, Asian and other diverse ethnic communities, there is now interest in all sporting codes, as well as recreational, musical, and cultural events.
“Eden Park is the first in the world, in a stadium context, to deliver Staydium Glamping and since our announcement we have fielded enquiries from venues around the world about joining the network.”
Owing to the operational requirements of such an initiative, there were a number of key issues that had to be ironed out before embarking on the venture.
“The Staydium Glamping domes sit in a prime position within the Park’s gates, so there were factors to consider given we continue to run as an operating stadium throughout the year when guests stay,” Sautner adds.
“If staying on a match day, a security guard is provided to ensure luggage is safe while guests watch the game from their allocated seats. The check-in process is managed between our immediate team and our on-site security.
“Additionally, guests are treated to a complimentary stadium tour during their stay which is vastly popular throughout the week with our local and international tourists.”
The Staydium Glamping experience represents an expansion of Eden Park’s efforts to open up new revenue streams and, most importantly, engage fans in new ways.
In recent years, Eden Park has hosted weddings, gender reveals, engagements and receptions. As New Zealand’s most famous sporting venue, it is also on the bucket list of many sports fans.
Eden Park currently runs stadium tours on weekdays, twice daily, with over 90% of attendees being overseas visitors. Recent statistics show that around 35% are from France, 24% are from the UK, 18% are from India and some even hail from Zimbabwe.
In this context, the Staydium Glamping is a natural – if innovative – extension to a strategy that is already reaping rewards.
“Hirers and partners have immediately seen the potential to engage fans and activate the domes through exclusive promotions over the next year alone,” Sautner says.
“There isn’t a more unique way to experience a stadium than staying overnight at one.”