People Watching at the Cronulla Sharks NRL Derby

About This Project

We were recently invited to join the internal facing Digital Media & Communications team to the first Cronulla Sharks home game, which was last Sunday afternoon at the Sharks Park in Remondis Stadium, Woolooware.

As the game unfolded The Cronulla Sharks scored an emphatic 30-points-to-2 win over local rivals, the St George Illawarra Dragons.

On an afternoon where the stands and hills at the newly-named Southern Cross Group Stadium were bursting at the seams, the home crowd was treated to a performance and a result that reflected the Sharks dominance across the 80 minutes.

In what was a first period polluted by drop ball and the sound of the referee’s whistle, it was the Sharks who looked most likely to trouble the scorers first.

Valentine Holmes’ bust early on in the match looked reminiscent of one of the many he produced in 2015, but unable to capitalise on the break, the scores would remain locked at nil inside the first ten minutes.

Soon after, fullback Ben Barba went close to a one-on-one showdown with his opposite number Kurt Mann. Barba, in half a gap, couldn’t collect a Mick Ennis short ball, with only Mann standing in his way of the opening four points.

Full time at the Southern Cross Group Stadium, where the Sharks proved far too good for local rivals the Dragons – running out 28-point victors and retaining the Monty Porter Memorial Cup.

Our involvement on the day wasn’t about watching the boys steal the win – we were invited to ‘People Watch’ as to help the Sharks innovate future games, applying our Customer & User Experience disruption techniques on, pre and post game-day as to engage and activate members further (assessing each of the various demographic segments and behaviour) throughout the stadium.

Firstly, our feedback to the Sharks board was mostly about the atmosphere and how the stadium felt as the day unfolded. How members of all shapes and sizes entered the stadium, held themselves during the game and engaged in post celebrations throughout the evening, across various Cronulla night hot spots.

It became evident very quickly that the atmosphere of the stadium made you feel right at home, that nostalgic childhood feeling, being totally comfortable to bringing along your family and friends, to watch a bunch of mates rivaling for a win. No matter the victor it was a celebration of a community coming together at a local venue supporting and enjoying a few cold beers with close friends or family.

Sharks Game Day Derby

The stadium felt like a truly regional home match with your closest 28,000 friends which made us feel quite romantic about being apart of this amazing event. Perhaps it was due to the average sound system, or tuck-shop gourmet style food or full strength drinks which if altered would break the family vibe of a local community coming together is what made our ‘experience’ authentic and genuine.

“We’re extremely grateful for being invited to participate and applying our approach to such a large sample of consumer data across various integrated channels. The opportunity for /AVOCA will be to disrupt the way humans behave and interact pre, post and on match-day when going to major sporting events, and we’re excited to be working with Scott and his Digital Media team at the Sharks.” – says Bart Jawien AVOCA Ventures Founding Partner & UX Lead Strategist.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress so make sure you tune in at the next game or at

Communications, Creative Strategy, Cross Channel Planning, Cross Channel Strategy, Customer Experience, Enterprise CMS, Human Behavior, User Experience, UX Design