SYDNEY (Reuters) - Seats on the halfway line have long been regarded as the best in the house but four Australia fans will have a glimpse of what might just be the future of prestige sports spectating in this month’s test against the All Blacks.
Wallabies sponsors Samsung have developed a mobile bank of seats, the Slideliner, which will run along the Sydney Olympic Stadium touchline on rails and offer the four occupants an unrivalled view of play.
“On the game day it’ll be behind the LED screens but in front of the seats ... and literally it goes up and down and follows the pace of the game,” Arno Lenior, Chief Marketing Officer of Samsung Australia said during testing of the unique vehicle this week.
“So if the Wallabies are getting close to the All Blacks try line you’ll be right there in the action and at kick off you’ll be back at halfway.”
The occupants of the four seats on the Slideliner for its maiden run in Australia’s opening match of the Rugby Championship on Aug. 16 will be decided by a national competition.
The Slideliner, which is controlled by an operator with a joystick, can move at up to 20 kilometres per hour but it was not reaching quite those speeds in testing at Jubilee Oval stadium in south Sydney this week.
Safety is clearly paramount and harnesses ensure nobody falls out, while the built-in cool box for each seat will contain nothing stronger than soft drinks on matchday.
There is also a tablet screen for each occupant on which they can take pictures from one of four cameras mounted on the Slideliner and post them on social media.
“We want people to tell the world about their experience, and they also get some stats and so forth about the game, what’s going on,” Lenior added.
“So, literally not only the best seat in the house up and down but also the most connected seat as well.”
Lenior said the Slideliner clearly had potential application for other sporting events but for now they were focussing on its debut at the Olympic Stadium and two other outings at Australia tests in Perth and Brisbane.
And despite the mobility being the unique offering of the Slideliner, proud Wallabies supporter Lenior would be delighted to see it brought to standstill on Aug. 16.
“I’d be happy if it was camped on the All Blacks line for the entire match,” Lenior grinned, before taking a ride on the contraption himself.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury