A Day to Remember: Layer3 and Wellington Phoenix FC Celebrate an Epic Season

Daniel Bohan
Sales Manager

April 30, 2024

This past Saturday, marking Layer3’s third year as a sponsor and official IT partner of the Wellington Phoenix, we celebrated being the official matchday partner for the last game of what was a historic regular season for the club.

The Phoenix needed a win to keep their hopes of a first-place finish alive and they delivered with a huge 3-0 win over #4 ranked Macarthur FC.

Hayden, Summer, and I were there with a small group of guests to catch the action. As matchday sponsors, our Layer3 group had the privilege of being led through the stadium, and out onto the stadium field to take in the excitement of the big match. Let me say – it was immense and intense from the nervous energy of thousands of fans to the bustle of officials, to walking past a live Sky Sport broadcast, a lot going on.

We then watched both teams warming up from the side of the field. I mean, right on the side of the field, in the Phoenix’s bench (aka technical zone), which coincidentally, has been proudly branded all season with Layer3 signage! It was an incredible feeling out there in the middle of the huge stadium with the buzz of over 15,000 fans in the stands.

For Hayden, Summer, and I, it did kind of feel like we had made it. All three of us have given years to build and grow Layer3 and, I’m not going to lie, this was a moment of pride for us all.

Hayden was given the honour of doing the coin toss at the start of the game in the middle of the field, live on TV, and shaking hands with both team captains. Macarthur won the coin toss, but we won’t hold that against him.

Especially since the Phoenix came out of the gates like a team possessed, shutting Macarthur down defensively while going full attack mode on offense.

I was invited up at half time in the Chairman’s Lounge to do a little Q&A with Phoenix General Manager, David Dome – Domey, as they call him – and had the opportunity to briefly talk about helping to support the club’s success off the field. This year, Layer3 rolled out our innovative new security stack for the club so that they will be protected anywhere world from a secure global network, with 24/7 human response to threats. 

Daniel Bohan from Layer3 explaining all things security with Wellington Phoenix
Daniel Bohan explains all things security and the Layer3 / Wellington Phoenix relationship

The icing on the cake came in the final minutes. Already up 2-0, Phoenix star Oskar Zawada entered the game to wild cheering from the crowd. Zawada, who was previously thought to be out on a season-ending injury was back and ready for action. He made good on a penalty kick to finish the game off 3-0 for the Phoenix!

That wasn’t the only game played at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

Earlier that day I, and my guest, Shanan McKeown, from Munro Benge Chartered Accounts (a Layer3 client who also happens to be a fanatical Phoenix fan), joined a group of other corporate partners tour for of the Phoenix world-class training facility at the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) followed by lunch in the Players’ Lounge.

It’s no wonder the Phoenix have been excelling on the field – their training and support facilities have got to be second to none anywhere in the world.

By the way, NZCIS was partly funded and developed by another Layer3 client, Malcolm Gillies of Gillies Group. Yes, our clients are pretty cool…

Our corporate group was then bussed down to Sky Stadium for the ‘Corporate Cup’ where were broken into two teams for a real game on the real stadium field.

This was no informal scrimmage. The Phoenix went all out to give us the complete professional football matchday experience. We had team locker rooms with personalised lockers for each ‘player’. Everyone got a personalised Phoenix jersey – I drew #6, which in real life is work by experienced Phoenix and All Whites defender Tim Payne! We even had professional coaches – Hope Breslin and Mariana Speckmaier from the Phoenix Women’s squad. My team had Hope for our coach which was great for me because she is from Long Island, which is only about an hour away from where I grew up playing football/soccer in Danbury, Connecticut.

Hope gave us a feisty pre-game speech, even offering to buy anyone a coffee that got a yellow card. In the end, she earned a yellow card herself for arguing with the ref!

The ‘teams’ were lined up and led out through the stadium tunnel by refs to the sound of a live announcer and crowd noise from the loudspeakers! They even had the giant jumbotron screen going and lit off flame throwers with each goal scored.

Unfortunately, none of the goals were scored by me, as sadly, I did not play up to the level my 12-year-old self would have expected. Shanan acquitted himself well though (despite missing a penalty kick at the end and costing us the game, but we won’t mention that…)

All of this capped off what was a truly incredible season for the Phoenix, and for Layer3, who were right there with them in spirit all season.

Here’s a look at some of the club’s achievements across the 2023-2024 regular season:

  • Highest A-League Men regular season finish ever (top 2)
  • Most points in an A-League Men’s season
  • Most wins in an A-League Men’s season
  • 18 homegrown Kiwi players shining on the international stage
  • 14 Firebird Academy players progressing into professional A-League football
  • A record-breaking A-League Women’s transfer record was set for midfielder Macey Fraser
  • 8 female players representing the New Zealand Football Ferns in the last 12 months
  • A 43% increase in year-on-year average home attendance for A-League Men
  • Attacker Kosta Barbarouses became highest highest-scoring Kiwi in A-League history.

Because of their guaranteed top 2 finish, the ‘Nix get to jump directly to the semi-finals of the playoffs. From there, who knows what will happen, but knowing what the Phoenix has achieved this season, don’t be surprised if magic happens.

Layer3 couldn’t be more proud to play a role, a supporter and partner to this truly magical team.

So as the playoffs beckon, we can’t help but feel excited for what’s next. This journey with the Phoenix has been far more than just about sponsoring a team; it’s been about growing together, celebrating each success, and sharing the passion for such a beautiful game with the entire community.

Here’s to more goals, more wins, more fans filling out Sky Stadium, and more moments that bring us all together. Bring on the playoffs, and here’s to hoping for an even more electrifying finish to an already amazing season!

So as they say at the games, “COME ON YOU NIX!”

Check out our 2023 match day post here.

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