No crowd. No worries. Huawei Virtual Viking Clap.
It has been almost 4 years since the Canberra Raiders introduced the ‘Viking Clap’ at an end of season game in 2016. It was the largest crowd the club had seen for quite some time as they embarked on a crusade towards their highest spot on the league ladder in 21 years.
At the time, the Raiders were looking to reinvigorate the match-day experience for fans by providing experiences and opportunities to support the club regardless of the on-field result. This desire lead CEO Don Furner, Head Coach Ricky Stuart and then Commercial Manager Jason Mathie to a tour of the United States, where the business of sport and entertainment go hand in hand. Take half time entertainment at any NFL or college football game as one example.
Coincidently, the Raiders were also in the early stages of design for a new high tech training facility, which we now of course know as the Huawei Raiders Centre, so the trip to the US also saw the group meet with training and performance professionals from a number of elite sporting clubs, touring their cutting edge training facilities and bringing the best ideas back to Canberra.
A visit to the Minnesota Vikings gave the Raiders the inspiration for the horn and Viking Clap and the concept of having a club legend or VIP to blow the horn was taken from the Seattle Seahawks. Worth noting here that the Minnesota Vikings took the Viking clap idea from the Iceland soccer team who took it from a Scottish soccer side!
Since its 2016 introduction in Canberra, the Viking Clap has become synonymous with the Raiders. Every home game stadium is packed with fans eager to participate in the ceremonial style cheer that brings their team onto the field. The Huawei Viking Horn has been blown by club legends, politicians and league appointed immortals. Charged with emotion, the chant I suspect is also designed to intimidate the opposition.
Possibly the greatest acknowledgement of the ceremonies patronage to date would have to be the 2019 NRL Grand Final where immortal and club legend Mal Meninga lead an 80,000 strong crowd in the famous Viking Clap – spine tingling stuff!
VIKING CLAP GOES VIRTUAL IN 2020
With fans unable to physically attend games due to COVID-19 crowd restrictions Huawei have introduced the Virtual Viking Clap. Launched on 29 May, fans and supporters are encouraged to submit footage of themselves or in groups with family and friends, doing their Viking Clap at home. Clips are then compiled and played at the following Canberra Raiders home game.