Sports rivalries can get pretty intense when fans take to the streets, but Microsoft has found a way to make a series of rugby matches between Australia and Wales into not just a peaceful exchange between rivals, but one of the coolest fan interactions ever.
To celebrate a series of matches between the Australian and UK rugby sides, the Seattle-based tech brand is using its Skype technology to enable a virtual “Hole in the World” that allows supporters from both countries to look into an eight-foot-wide “hole” and see fans from the other side, in real-time, thus creating an opportunity for exchanges between the two groups.[more]
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) June 28, 2013
The Australian “hole” is in rugby-mad Melbourne while the UK end of the tunnel is in Cardiff, Wales, through June 29, while rugby fans on social can virtually participate via the #holeintheworld hashtag and on the MSN UK Sport portal. In addition to local performers and entertainment at both ends, former Welsh star Martyn Williams and ex-Aussie player Michael Lynagh will spend time at the holes to lead a trivia contest and other challenges between the two fan bases, ITV.com reports.
A non-sports related benefit of the stunt was inviting primary-school children from both countries to come to the hole and visit with their counterparts in the other location, Wales Online notes. “We love giving children any opportunity we can to develop their communication skills and get out and be at events like this—it’s a life experience,” deputy head teacher Will Howlett commented. Surely, those are exactly the kind of fan—and brand—connections Microsoft was hoping to make.