Account Executive

in Sport

June 9, 2023

Gemba’s Account Management team descended on the Sunshine State in May for the 2023 NRL Magic Round. For those not in the know, Magic Round is a three-day festival of footy – with all eight games of the round played at one venue, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Caxton St was abuzz with footy fans from far and wide, made even livelier by the home state pulling off a clean sweep over the weekend (#PhinsUp). The weekend proved to be a tourism goldmine, reportedly bringing in $28 million to the Queensland economy, along with 140,000 fans. While the Gemba team was there to activate on behalf of Westpac, they took some time to scope out what other brands and NRL partners were doing over the weekend.



As one of the newest partners (and official match ball sponsor) of the NRL, Westpac made its brand presence known with a number of in-stadium activities. For the first time, Westpac’s Catch & Keep allowed any fan who caught the match ball from a conversion, penalty, or a kick into touch to take it home as a souvenir! While normal NRL etiquette calls for the ball to be thrown back, fans embraced this new concept thanks to in-stadium signage and on-ground announcements. To further leverage fan excitement on the day and get the Westpac-branded Steeden in fan hands, a large inflatable ball was launched into the crowd for fans to bounce around between games. We may be a little biased, but this was definitely a highlight of the Sunday!


Harvey Norman

A long-time partner of the NRL, Harvey Norman showcased its camera and printing tech with free fan photos and the opportunity to win a Harvey Norman Entertainment pack. In addition to their printing setup, the Harvey Norman team offered limited edition, customizable NRL mugs, stubby coolers, and coasters – a great way for fans to further show their support and love for their teams. These were a huge hit over the weekend!



Leaning into their tech capabilities, the Telstra pop-up featured a simulated kicking activation where fans lined up to take their kick, as well as simulated running drills. This proved to be a popular activation with fans keen to test their NRL skills. There was also an appearance from the Telstra Premiership Trophy, which provided a great photo opportunity for fans (and the Gemba team…).


NRL Ball Exchange

Such an easy activation, but one that was executed well by the NRL. Fans could bring their old NRL ball down to the fan zone and exchange it for a new Westpac-branded Steeden. That’s it. Simple, effective, and a huge win for NRL fans.


Our key takeaways:

  1. Brands that executed well played into fan passion and love for the game, including memorabilia and experiences.
  2. Activities that were aligned with the NRL had a better response and cut through with fans (e.g., kicking, photo opportunities, match balls).
  3. The best activations were also the simplest and easiest to execute.