Last week Apple got into the VR game with its purchase of NextVr, this week intel makes its own AR/MR play. When the big guns are seeing the value of some kind of VR/AR/MR in sports, it's time for everyone to take notice and see that there is value in this realm of technology.
Digital Assets are being used to activate without sports but the value going forward is taking advantage of digital to activate your sponsors and engage fans all year long. Lessons and best practices can be taken by the current team activations to eliminate the revenue offseason coinciding with sports offseason.
With the expected shortfall in sponsorship dollars due to the pandemic adn the state of the economy, it's more critical than ever that teams provide and authentic experience for brands that will generate value vs just increase visibility. The sign on the field won't be enough anymore. To create a true partnership with sponsors, teams need to get creative with technology and digital assets and ask themselves how they are providing value at every step of the journey for sponsors. The great thing about digital assets is that you can be nimble and the possibilities are endless for the experience that you can create with brands. With more leagues expanding beyond traditional broadcast into the digital OTT realm, it provides even more opportunities for a full cross-platform authentic experience for brands.
A cashless craze? When fans finally return to sporting events, fewer venues may be dealing in dollars and cents.
With the Covid pandemic, cashless strategies went from "nice to have" to a necessity overnight for sports organizations. This necessity creates an opportunity for fan engagement, data analytics and increased per caps for teams. Always find the silver lining and look for value generating opportunities.
Pre-Covid, VR had started to go out of fashion and was looking to go the way of 3D when discussing new and exciting sports technologies. It suffered from the same issues it always has had, dizziness due to slow frame rate, socially isolating, bulky technology, expensive etc. As more sports come back fanless, it has opened up new options for VR and opens up new viewing options for fans. Apple last week with the purchase of NextVR has only added fuel to the fire. Is VR here to stay or just a passing fad once again?
My personal opinion is that AR is the game changer vs VR as it combines the cool factor of VR with the cool and fun experience that only a live sports event can deliver.
It's undeniable at this point and sports organizations who have not built a technology strategy post covid will need to scale up quickly or risk further devastation to their business.
Nascar is following UFC and Bundesliga and the next sports back post covid. They are making the smart move and focusing on technology to bring the sport back.
The remote production technology being developed and pioneered with the return of sports post covid will have huge applications down the road beyond just the social distancing aspect. It will allow production to be more nimble, reduce costs and increase capabilities by taking out the massive overhead of moving equipment from site to site and relying on local crews and technology to run the production. The virtual studio is here to stay.
Some Great snippets of the sports tech and digital transformation content from the Insider Series virtual conference. Best practices and topics touched on from teams during the lockdown include:
- Bucks Fiserv Forum move accelerated adoption of mobile ticketing
- Dortmund’s online fan party enabled partner integration during shutdown
- Remote production will help free up money to improve the viewing experience
- Real Madrid are weighing up an esports team
- 5G will change everything
With Apple now in the VR game, it will be interesting to see how innovative they can be in bringing the full experience to sports. The problem with VR in sports, other than the not quite ready for primetime technology that can make people dizzy, is the isolation that putting on a headset provides. If Apple can transform VR into a social experience they really have a a huge game changer on their hands. Apple has the resources and the reach to make this happen.