US-based fans of Liverpool FC were able to get an authentic taste of the world-famous atmosphere of the English Premier League club’s home stadium, Anfield, at a recent experience in New York.
The free two-day event at the Lightbox venue allowed fans to step into Anfield through the use of 360-degree light mapping, multi-room digital staging, immersive video technology and programming lighting.
Fans were able to embark on a matchday journey as if they were actually in the English city, en route to watch the Reds in action. Attendees could explore Liverpool city centre, travel to Anfield and walk around the stadium to witness memorable sights such as the statue of club legend Bob Paisley or the famous Shankly Gates – all from more than 3,000 miles away.
Behind the scenes
The principle behind the project was simple: most Liverpool fans do not have the opportunity to travel to Anfield for a match. Indeed, with well over 100 million followers across social media platforms, it is easy to see why it is a matter of demand as well as distance that many fans worldwide are unable to embark on a real-life trip to 54,000-capacity Anfield.
“The club has an extremely large fanbase here in the States, and in particular in New York, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to engage the local supporters in a way that allowed them to feel more connected to the team,” Danielle Prior, vice-president of client activations at Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing, tells Fan XP.
“We sought to bring to life a digital Anfield experience for Reds in New York that virtually transported them to the streets of Liverpool on a matchday to take in all the sights, sounds and emotions that Reds fans live on a weekly basis.”
Preparations for the event began in October, some five months before the vision became a reality. With its 360-degree digital stage, hundreds of brands – from Amazon to Unicef and Coca-Cola to Spotify – have used the Lightbox to provide visitors with an immersive experience since the purpose-built venue opened in 2013.
With Liverpool fans, the high-tech venue offered the chance to join in singing the spine-tingling club anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, and approach the famously intimidating ‘This is Anfield’ sign that greets players as they walk down the tunnel to the pitch.
“Our focus was on the little details that fans in the States don’t get to see when watching a match on TV,” adds Prior.
Quotes from the likes of former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and current head coach Jurgen Klopp were incorporated in all of the programmed spaces, while fans were able to stroll through the dressing room to see the players’ kits ready to be worn.
Several leading clubs across the globe, including Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF, have started hosting virtual stadium tours in recent times, building on the accelerated adoption of digital platforms by consumers over the past two-and-a-half years.
However, the merger of the physical and digital worlds at the Lightbox in New York brought a new dimension to the virtual experience, giving fans a tantalising taste of what it is like to visit one of football’s most iconic destinations.