“We’re living in The Jetsons’ age and about to push past it”

As the second piece in our content series for the World Virtual/Augmented Sports Innovation Summit we caught up with Advisory Board member and Sports Brand & Marketing Guru Matthew O’Neil.

Matt is the founder and CEO of Ichi Go, a content, branding, and marketing agency based in New York, serving brands, teams, and leagues in the sports and entertainment industries. Matt most recently, oversaw all aspects of the Dallas Cowboys brand; including all branding, marketing, and advertising; all media and content creation, including TV production, radio, internet, social media, mobile, and print publications; and all Event Presentation/GameDay Entertainment at Cowboys games and 3rd party events at AT&T Stadium. Previously, Matt was the VP of Marketing at the New York Red Bulls, of Major League Soccer. In addition to running all the marketing, video production, and game entertainment, Matt was a liaison for Red Bull, the energy drink, charged with infusing the Red Bull brand into the entire soccer fan experience, on the pitch and off.

Matt talks about how the ephemeral nature of the fan experience and the continual need to create great content is essential in creating a platform for Immersive Technology to take off. Augmented Reality is also perhaps the best choice to maximise the here and now.

Check out the full interview below...

(1) First of all, tell us more about your background, from your work with the New York Red Bulls then the Dallas Cowboys and then now as CEO at Ichi Go - your philosophy, the clubs you work with and what excites you the most moving forward.

My career has taken a lot of turns. But I would say that my 8 year failed screenwriting run, more than anything else, has helped me in my career. Breaking-down scenes, an understanding of story-telling, and how to build characters, and how that translates to on-screen. My overall philosophy on work and life comes from a Japanese phrase called ichi-go ichi-e. It came out of Zen Buddhism. And directly translates to one-encounter, one chance. It means that every single moment with someone is unique. And then it disappears. And it’s gone forever. We have one moment with our kids, or our spouse, or a good friend. And then we never get that moment back. How we maximize those moments is what is most important. In marketing, and in content right now, there is so much noise out there. That if we miss on our moment. We could lose a customer, and a fan, forever. If we capitalize on our moment with the best piece of content they’ve ever seen. We may have made a fan for life.

(2) Where do you see the greatest opportunities for immersive technology in sport and how great is its potential?

Ultimately it’s in the live event coverage. Being totally immersive at the World Cup, or the Super Bowl, or the NBA Finals. To feel that energy. To see that passion of the crowd. We’re a little ways away from this being an amazing experience. But that is the greatest opportunity.

(3) What utilization of technology in sports has recently blown you away and why?

Look, we’ve all seen a lot by now. I’m kind of blown away by all of it and by none of it, at this point. If I think about it, the fact that we have mobile ticketing is pretty amazing. But we’ve seen so much. We’re living in The Jetsons’ age right now and we’re about to push past that. Which is amazing.

(4) How critical is the ability to consistently create excellent content as a platform to optimise the opportunities within immersive technology?

It’s the most critical thing. Otherwise, immersive is a novelty. Create excellent content or you don’t have anything. You will never capture your fans.

(5) In your opinion, what do you think clubs and leagues need to do to fully realize and capitalize upon the commercial potential within Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality?

The commercial potential will be realized when the fans are flocking to it. Create content that all your fans want or really need to see, and the fans will come. If the fans all come, the brands will be right behind them.

(6) If you had to invest in one technology that would enhance sports fans’ experiences at games, what would it be and why?

AR. I think that’s the most ready to add value at this point. Can really add information. With the initial explosion of PokemonGo. And a few others, people are used to AR. It can add value.

(7) If you had to project 20 years into the future, how will most fans watch their favourite sports teams?

Fully immersive rooms. But produced VR, with camera switching and direction. I’m not sure we ever get full usage of the glasses.

(8) What are you looking forward to most and hope to take away from the World VR/AR Sports Innovation Summit?

Meeting and talking with the most cutting edge VR and especially AR minds in the business.

The World Virtual/Augmented Sports Innovation Summit held in San Francisco on November 15-16 is the intersection of sport and technology and brings together the leaders from across the entire sporting ecosystem. With the very latest in immersive technology being showcased alongside the leading commercial, marketing and performance strategy from the global sports industry it is the decisive event for the sports performance and entertainment industries.

Visit www.virtual-reality-sports-innovation.com for more information

VR, Sports Innovation, AR