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5 Ways to Engage Sports Fans Through Event Technology

Technology has changed fans’ expectations of how and where we engage, and what and when we share—making it harder for live sports to compete with a well-equipped couch. (It’s hard not to watch the screen in AT&T Stadium—it’s like the biggest living room in the world!) So as event marketers, we need to leverage the right technology to create compelling engagements that add value for fans. Here are 5 engagement strategies to consider.

 

 

1. Trigger location-based engagements

iBeacons and location-based services can trigger in-venue and at-retail engagement, letting brands reach fans both at the game and throughout their lives. This will be the future of the in-stadium experience: enter a drawing as you walk into the stadium, receive merchandise specials as you pass by the vendor, and get coupons to a local bar or restaurant on your way out after the game. The technology is there, and the uses are just getting started.

2. Extend the real world

It’s not new, but augmented reality still has a lot of offer—both through content and through live experiences. AR allows content to come alive from real-world assets and POS both within venues and at retail. Brands can deliver meaningful engagement by providing the type of in-depth and exclusive content that fans can’t get enough of. Take it to the next level by allowing fans to ‘interact’ with their favorite players and come away with personalized, shareable content. A great example: Make & See’s virtual skills match between fans and their beloved soccer stars:

3. Blend the physical and digital worlds

Sorry second screen, we love you, but you’ll never displace the satisfaction of tactile experiences. Nike has done this well on more than one occasion, especially around soccer. First they offered “street football anywhere”—and showed up at night to project a court onto the pavement. Then their “House of Deadly” combined projection mapped walls and tracking spotlights to act as real-time virtual defenders. Very cool stuff.

4. Use what you have

Two things brands forget to leverage for content: the totality of their sponsorship assets + their products and services themselves. Brands doing it right:

  • P&G leveraged their sponsored Olympic athletes with a custom app, letting athlete families and corporate guests track team P&G in real time during the games.
  • REESE'S, as the official candy partner of the NCAA, doesn’t just show up at games: they use activations and events across the country to create content celebrating and connecting with fan passion.
  • SAP uses their own technology to make the fan experience richer, serving up big data and stats galore, such as at America’s Cup and NBA.com/stats

5. Help fans share their passion

Fans come to a game because they love what they’re there to see—so if your brand can help them share that passion, you’re building a positive connection. Many of the above examples did this well by capturing the experience in personalized, branded, share-ready photos and videos. But even if content capture isn’t baked into the experience itself, if it’s cool enough, compelling enough, and relevant enough, your fans will share it on their own. When that happens, you’re doing it right.

 

Miss Our Speakers?

GMR's Event Marketing Summit presentations also included:

 

‘Addictive’ Activations for Intangible Brands and Products

Chris Lee, Senior Manager of Brand Partnerships (Esurance)

Dave Mullins, Director of Brand Development (GMR)

 

14 Ways to Use a Hashtag

Bryan Rasch,Chief Digital Officer (GMR)

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