In sport, it’s the players’ performance that decides the results. Science tells us as much.

But if that’s true, how do we explain underdogs and upsets? Could it be the power of fan support?

In an Australian-first, at the 2017 AFL Grand Final Virgin Australia, in collaboration with DDB Sydney, introduced a new concept called Fan Report to analyse the impact fan positivity and optimism has on the scoreboard.

The Report is part of Virgin Australia’s new brand platform, ‘Here’s to Looking Up’, which recognises the evolution of Virgin Australia and captures the spirit and values of its people and guests.

In true Virgin Australia style, we created a word that we call ‘Uptimism’. The Virgin Australia Fan Report was designed to determine how Uptimism can contribute to an AFL team winning a premiership, gathering live data about fan behavior and demonstrating how it changes and influences a team’s success.

The results of the Report were tracked during the Channel 7 broadcast, as well as shared on both AFL and Virgin Australia social platforms.

Real-time fan tracking technology monitored the sound, movement, colour and social sentiment of Richmond and Adelaide fans throughout the four quarters of the Grand Final. 19 fan reports were posted during the match.

Fans also had an amazing ability to remain hopeful, regardless of how far their team was behind. Spikes of excitement and belief kept coming from Crows fans even when their team fell six goals behind late in the third quarter.