The ACT Brumbies have overhauled their game-day experience in the hope it will give fans extra incentive to reverse an alarming crowd trend.
The Brumbies will begin the Super Rugby campaign with a clash against the Queensland Reds in Canberra on Friday night, marking the start of the competition's 25th season.
They will be chasing their ninth win in a row at home after setting a new record last year, but crowd figures haven't mirrored their one-field success.
Average attendance numbers were slightly up last year, but were still the second lowest in the club's history.
Chief executive Phil Thomson says this season is a "line in the sand" moment, conceding the club needs fans in the stands to ensure it stays financially viable.
To spark change the Brumbies have decided to add game-day extras for supporters, including a sensory lounge, pre-game entertainment, kids zones, an autograph ally and "Brumby Jill", the daughter of mascot Brumby Jack.
Former Brumbies front-rowers Ben Alexander and Josh Mann-Rea will take over as game-day hosts.
"Obviously our crowds were fairly poor last year ... we had to look to see what fans wanted to get them back to the game," Thomson said.
"We've taken that feedback to try to make the event of the rugby an experience for everyone.
"The look and feel will be different from the moment fans walk through the gates.
"It's a pivotal moment for rugby this year. It's been well document the past four years have been a struggle for several reasons.
"This is a bit of a line in the sand, we have to get some positivity in rugby on and off the field. We need to get the community back engaged with the game.
MORE BRUMBIES NEWS
- Neville's nine-year wait for a Brumbies opportunity
- Noah Lolesio gets first shot in Brumbies No. 10
- 'I won't change': Allan Alaalatoa's captaincy pledge
- McKellar calls for cool heads as hooker re-signs
- NRL convert ready to make Super transition
- Brumbies set to keep round one in Canberra despite smoke
- Lealiifano nominated for best comeback in world sport
"We have to make rugby relevant to people's lives again, and to get them to enjoy the experience of being at games.
"We can't hide from the fact it's tight financially, we need people out there supporting us and for them to vote with their bottoms. That will help the organisation remain viable."
The Brumbies aren't alone in their struggles for Super Rugby crowds. Most teams across the competition have struggled to build momentum with supporters in recent years.
The Israel Folau saga last year and the demise of the Wallabies at the World Cup certainly had an impact, while axing the Western Force three years ago sent shockwaves through the game.
Some teams in South Africa saw crowd numbers drop by as much as 60 per cent between 2015 and 2017. Some New Zealand teams also suffered, while the Brumbies were the best-performing team crowd wise over that same period.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar hoped building a winning fortress at home, especially in the first three rounds of the season, is the start of fan re-engagement.
Super Rugby has shifted night-time kick-offs from 7.45pm to 7.15pm this season, while the Brumbies will also have tow afternoon games.
"I really think 2020 can be an exciting year for the club," McKellar said.
McKellar has also built hours of community work into the weekly schedule for players, rewarding them in mini-team challenges.
"We're really passionate about our engagement with the community and the boys have been unreal doing that by themselves," McKellar said.
"If we want people to come to watch us play, they need to feel that connection to us. We've always done [community work] well, but we're taking it to another level this year.
"That's being driven by guys like [Tom Cusack]."
The Brumbies have also tried to rebuild a bridge with amateur clubs, hosting a forum to find out why Canberra rugby players weren't attending matches.
It lead to clubs teaming up with the Brumbies to push memberships, with percentages of sales being reinjected into community rugby.
"We all have to work together. We need to understand their position to help them, but work together so we can all benefit," Thomson said.
"It's about small steps. We need to get the team playing well, get people to the games and then give them something they enjoy."
SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE
Friday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.