1300SMILES Stadium hosted its last NRL game on September 27 when the North Queensland Cowboys defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs.
For the 15,141 fans in attendance at the final game, the victory was bittersweet. While it was a great win for the Cowboys in what has been a disappointing season, it marked the last time that they would watch their team from the terraces of the Willows Sports Complex, which has been at the heart of Townsville rugby league for over two decades.
But on the flip side, those fans, and 10,000 more, will be able to indulge in the new fan-centric experience coming with the North Queensland Stadium in 2020. The 25,000-seat stadium that’s currently under construction will open on February 29 for Sir Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour, before becoming the new home of the North Queensland Cowboys. While details of the build has been somewhat limited thus far, we have seen recent significant announcements which elude to the North Queensland Stadium offering one of the best fan experiences in the country, in line with other recently-built venues, Optus Stadium and Bankwest Stadium.
Keeping the fans involved
One of the big steps that the North Queensland Stadium team took in trying to keep the fans involved was releasing an official stadium tour app. Released when the stadium reached its 50 percent complete milestone, the NQStadium app allows the public to look around the new stadium. In the app, users can go to stadium hotspots and get a 360-degree view as well as comparing the views to those from the old 1300SMILES Stadium.
Fan engagement has been a core part of the process for the North Queensland Stadium, with the app being one of the more high-tech examples of the build trying to get the community involved. They have also, via the City of Townsville website, posted an open public form on which people can propose names for the three new streets around the stadium.
Meeting new high-tech standards
One of the biggest questions for any new stadium is if it will come with an integrated Wi-Fi service. Many older stadiums simply can’t provide the infrastructure for such a network, but as the everyday lives of the modern fan revolves around the internet – a stadium Wi-Fi network has become a must. Luckily, North Queensland Stadium will boast free high-density Wi-Fi, marking a first for the state.
Having free Wi-Fi is key to the fan experience, and it enables fans to enjoy themselves at all phases of the event. With more tech becoming available on the market, advanced technology means that most industries have been welcomed into people's homes and in the palms of their hands.
For example, more customers are attracted to watching the latest game for much cheaper from the comfort of their couch. Another such example is the iGaming industry, where traditional tabletop card games such as roulette and poker were once seen to be outdated, but now many more customers are being drawn to sites because of their high-tech commodities and special offers, with online pokies real money no deposit offering an abundance of games and promotions.
But stadiums like the North Queensland are changing the game for many sports fans. The new commodities are fan-focussed, and the stadium is presenting itself as a much more attractive choice for prospective customers - with high-tech commodities like stadium-wide Wi-Fi appealing to tech-hungry consumer bases.
Quite possibly the most important part of the fan experience, with exception to the event at hand, is the seating. Uncomfortable, faded, rough seats can greatly hinder the experience, but not only will the North Queensland Stadium feature stylish and functional seats, but they’ll be utilizing a UV-tested, marine-grade vinyl to ensure that they can withstand the tropical climate. By the looks of it, they will also be fitted with cup holders, which will be a great perk.
North Queensland Stadium is set to be a world-class venue, and with the fairly small amount of information that we have so far, we can already see that fans are to be given star treatment.