The atmosphere at Raiders home games has changed dramatically in recent times with the inclusion of the Viking Clap and bumper crowds of passionate fans rocking up every match.
One of the more interesting battles taking place tonight at GIO Stadium is not the contest taking place on the field of play, but more specifically, how is New Zealand's mighty Haka going to fare in comparison to the Raiders Viking Clap?
The Viking Clap reverberates around GIO Stadium, getting fans on their feet and pumping up the green machine as they run out. The Haka is similarly goosebump-induced, striking fear into the hearts of opposition sides who watch on.
The Raiders are encouraging fans to turn out in force tonight to cheer on the Kangaroos and Kiwis and make up their own mind whether the Haka raises the atmosphere at our home ground as much as the Viking Clap does.
There are lots of activities and events going on around the ground at GIO Stadium tonight, including pre-match entertainment from the Baby Animals, performances by defence force musicians and heaps more!
Gates open at 3pm, with the Junior Kangaroos taking on the Junior Kiwis at 3.15pm, before the Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns go to battle at 5.25pm, followed by the blockbuster encounter between the Kangaroos and Kiwis at 8pm.
The Canberra Raiders have spent the last few seasons modifying and enhancing their game day schedule, with the iconic Viking Clap Ceremony being the most obvious contributing factor in lifting live game attendance numbers. As well as the Viking Clap, team performance and improved community engagement initiatives (e.g. Huawei mini footy demonstrations, Austbrokers Canberra Members Lounge provision, Dare Double Espresso Deck upgraded seating promo, autograph alley opportunity for junior members and the local dance school competition) have assisted in this regard also.
Raiders Commercial and Marketing Manager, Jason Mathie said it was positive to see the uplift in attendance from 12,183 per game during the 2016 regular season (13,806 including home finals) to 15,606 people per match in the first five home games of the current season.
"We are always looking at ways to involve more members of the community in our match days, for example the dance schools initiative that we have introduced this season has been excellent and very well received" Mathie said.
"The variety of dance styles we are showcasing really makes our game day unique. Already we've had Bollywood, Irish Dancing and Urban Hip-Hop.
"The dance schools are able to perform in front of a huge crowd and each dance school also receives $500 to help benefit their programs.
“The pay back for our club is more people experiencing a game and providing alternate entertainment, not just the match itself."
A further nine dance schools will perform at the Raiders remaining seven home games during season 2017.