Over the last few years there has been a steady decline in live game viewership of major league sports. While many sources point to a number of factors - including lower television ratings, attendance at games and sports bars not “buying in” - there are several reasons why engagement with live games is being impacted. One of the most interesting factors to me is this next generation (the one younger than “Millennials”) and their interest in engaging with games. If they don’t play it, they generally don’t become fans of it. If they aren’t actively engaged with a live event - through social engagement, 360° sports videos, virtual reality and more - they seek engagement elsewhere.
I entered into Sports Marketing with the iPhone 3GS being released and the debut of Apple’s HTTP: Streaming. I worked with all of our sports teams in Vancouver, across Canada, and moved into hot spots like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. In those early days of smartphone adoption, I would often receive push back from leagues that were saying ‘No one wants to watch sports on a phone!’ Sponsors wanted involvement in apps, but didn’t quite know how - and the clubs and leagues weren’t sure how to monetize such apps. Mobile click ads became popular quickly, but were never quite ready for primetime. The one thing that mobile apps could provide (besides quick access to scores and stats) was a feeling of being connected with the team. This was done through social aggregation, mobile-only content, push notifications, and providing customized experiences to users.
Almost a decade later, most clubs have been through hundreds of iterations of their team apps, yet the same need remains - brands want to connect with fans in a unique and meaningful way. Along the way, we’ve learned so much - the most important of which is how fans are absorbing and engaging with the game and the team.
When it comes down to it, fans want personalized, engaged experiences. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with 360° sports videos.
Our video production partner has been delivering amazing VR/360 experiences for a number of years, focusing on building content that give fans the feeling of being involved in the game and in close proximity to their favourite players. Radical’s BeThere360 mobile app platform is google cardboard headset-ready and utilizes the amazingly intimate experience of VR/360 video to deliver a unique fan experience. We can even add elements like multi-audio tracks, letting the fans choose who they want to hear from as they watch from the field next to their favourite players. It’s like being on the field, pitch, rink or court when you’re actually watching from the comfort of your home. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.
Think about watching a golf game on TV. You get one perspective - that of the camera person who is taking you through various shots. With 360° sports videos, you now get to choose what you want to see, when you want to see it, with commentary from experts along the way.
Then, imagine this: have you ever pondered where to sit in a stadium because you’re not sure what the views are like from your prospective seats? We can provide pano seating charts, which take out the guess-work and increase the speed of purchase. Direct links from video content to ticket purchase make the process more efficient, moving fans from their headsets to in-stadium seats.
Allowing fans to pick and choose how and what content they absorb opens up better opportunities to generate ROI. Taking this personalized virtual experience and connecting with real life experiences, like being behind-the-scenes of a game, is a true game changer (no pun intended!) for leagues and clubs - and we can’t wait to support the next generation of fan engagement strategies.
Ready to explore the possibilities of increasing engagement with your fans? Give me shout.