The days of passive consumption of sports programs over TV channels are gone. Constant connectivity has taught fans to expect a personalized experience at the stadium and at home, and for it to beavailable 24-7.
Augmented realitymakes it possible for teams, sponsors and event organizers to transform their physical points of touchinto multimedia content channels.
So how will AR change the sports industry? Rather, how is it changing the sports industry? It can be used to harness the power of mobile instead of giving major social media channels the value. This can drive everything from app downloads to fan engagement, data collection, and merchandise sales.
Closer connection with fans
Merchandise is a major revenue stream for many teams. Whether it’s increasing sales with a value-adding post-buy proposition or helping fans visualize their favorite player’s jersey before they buy it, augmented reality could play a major role in increasing merch sales for sports teams at and away from the stadium.
For example, San Francisco 49 uses AR to increase sales of their limited edition merchandise. Using the “49” app on their smartphones, fans can unlock video highlights from the 49ers Hall Of Fame. This way, AR increases the value of this merchandise.
Enhancing the stadium experience
Augmented reality can also be applied to the stadium experience. It can change a fan’s journey from their arrival to their departure in dramatic ways. Their experience becomes more immersive, engaging, and memorable.
Why is this so important? The stadium experience is the amphitheater of modern times, a shrine to the most beloved players, the biggest trophies, and the best games of a team.To capture this, people are using AR to give team fans short, fun experiences to bring them closer to the game. A series of NFP franchise used AR face paints on the own apps, as did a few soccer teams during the2018 soccer World Cup, adding some great and fun moments.
Of course, AR’spotential goes way above and beyond this. AR-enabled programs can drive app downloads. A lot of teams have put apps at the heart of their sponsorship value strategy and long-term fan engagement. AR can be used as a retention play, motivating sports fans to come back and keep interacting, but it can also lead to a higher number of app downloads.
In sum, we can definitely claim AR is transforming the sports industry. The stadium experience and connections with fans are only two examples.