Lifelong football fans experience matchday at Stamford Bridge once more, as stadiums remain closed
November 9, 2020, London: Earlier this year stadiums around the world fell silent. Turnstiles closed, pie sellers shut up shop, and fans swapped terraces for television.
As we find ourselves in national lockdown once again, getting back to that familiar roar from supporters filling the stands is still a long way off. Therefore Three, Chelsea FC’s official partner and shirt sponsor, gave two lifelong season ticket holders the chance to once again feel the thrill of match day run through their veins. Three stepped in with an immersive recreation of Stamford Bridge that transported the couple back to the place they love, creating an unforgettable experience in celebration of their 50thwedding anniversary.
Dave and Cathie have been Chelsea season ticket holders for as long as they’ve been married and were looking forward to sharing their golden anniversary with 40,000 fellow Chelsea fans at a game. A plan that was soon quashed due to the current pandemic. Consequently, Three decided to surprise the couple by inviting them to a meeting to discuss an upcoming fan project and what happened next was something the couple would never forget.
With a normal Saturday game about to kick-off, Dave and Cathie were quietly watching via their phones until the blank walls around them in the room they were sat in started to transform. First developing into their own living room and then transforming the whole area into a full and buzzing simulation of Stamford Bridge on matchday, using cutting-edge technology and the power of connectivity.
As the noise of the fans began to crescendo around them, they had prime seats to watch the players emerging from the tunnel, and take their positions for the game – Dave and Cathie, for the first time since March, finally immersed in the electric atmosphere of every Blues’ second home. For a full 90 minutes the couple once again experienced the magic of matchday together, from each pass, interception, tackle, shot, and goal scored.
The bustling Stamford Bridge was recreated using lumen projectors to transform a derelict East London warehouse into a full and noisy stadium to create a full 360-degree immersive experience. Each fan in the crowd had to be individually filmed due to Covid-19 restrictions and then composited together to recreate the brimming terraces. The sounds of the stadium were provided by EA SPORTS Atmospheric Audio, the same audio that is used in the iconic FIFA series and now also on broadcast matches, in the absence of the real thing. Helping to enhance the authentic experience and create a day the pair will never forget.
Dave said: “It was an absolutely fantastic experience to be able to be back at Stamford Bridge for matchday with Cathie. Within the first few minutes of the game I really felt like I was back at the Bridge again. Getting lost in the chanting and seeing all the other fans around us. We really thought we weren’t going to be back in the stadium this year but part of me feels like I have now. It’s really made us want to get back more than ever.”
Aislinn O’Connor, marketing director at Three UK, said: “We know how tough a time it has been for fans as stadiums remain closed. They can’t get close to the action, cheer from the stands, or enjoy a pie and a pint with their friends. The whole matchday experience has been lost since the start of this season.
“Sport brings people together. We loved Dave and Cathie’s story and we were thrilled to be able to help them experience matchday once again; we just wish we could have done it for all sports fans! The global situation we all find ourselves in has meant that we aren’t able to enjoy the things we love, and any normality seems a distant memory. It places even more importance on networks like us to keep people connected and provide these richer experiences to support customers as best we can, every single day.”
Guy Laurence, CEO at Chelsea FC, said: “This was an innovative idea from our partner, Three, and through the power of connectivity they managed to capture the matchday experience for this couple’s anniversary which was so special.
“It’s clear to everyone how much the fans are sorely missed at sporting arenas around the world. When it is safe to do so, we look forward to welcoming back our fans to Stamford Bridge and the incredible atmosphere they create.”