Immersive Tech Holds Key to Fan Engagement, OTT and Sponsorship Strategy

70% of modern-day fans who bring a handheld device to a stadium, ground or arena, intend to use that device throughout the course of the 70, 80 or 90 minutes (or however long the sporting action in question lasts). 87% of us reportedly 'second-screen' when watching a live sports broadcast, many of us doing it without even noticing. 'Second-screening', the concept of engaging with sports content using two devices at the same time, has become the norm.

The Immersive Technology In Sports & Entertainment Summit (London, April 18-19) is about how we make the entire physical world as connected and digitally interactive as the World Wide Web. It lies at the intersection between the digital and physical spaces and is the platform for further engagement and reach.

Advisory Board & Faculty Include
Dhimiter Bozo, SVP Engineering, Native Apps, Games & Web, Viacom
Charlie Neiman, Global Sports Partnerships, Amazon Video
Jason Cohen, Vice President Video Production, HBO
Tom Graham, Head of Commercial Sport & Drama, ITV
Jon Ford, Head of Content, Tottenham Hotspur
Unmish Parthasarathi, Global Head of Digital Sales, International Cricket Council (ICC)
Marco Nazzari, Managing Director Europe, Nielsen Sports
Stephen Wharton, Chief Technology Officer, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
Chris Lencheski, Global Commercial Partnerships Director, MP & Silva
Jaap Kalma, Former Chief Commercial Officer, AC Milan
Christian Sponziello, Director International Brand Partnerships, Electronic Arts
Gordon Kaye, Head of Business Development, Celtic FC

The traditional means by which sports content is produced, distributed, consumed, monetised, and engaged with, is being 'disrupted' or revolutionised thanks to the digital transformation around us. This radical change can be explained by three broad, underlying factors...Firstly, a shift in the viewing behaviours and consumption habits of modern-day sports fans. Secondly, the ever-changing media rights landscape and the proliferation of digital media. The emergence of new technology, how this can be applied and leveraged to create unprecedented levels of engagement is the next piece of the puzzle.

With so many players entering this space, the amount of choice is unprecedented but equally this makes the ability to 'immerse' into the content absolutely essential to maximise engagement and dwell time.

The ability to close the space between physical and digital realities is a fundamental element of fan engagement, reach and brand activation. Storytelling through an immersive narrative has the potential to take engagement and digital advertising to the next level.

This is echoed by German behemoth FC Bayern releasing the latest version of the team's iOS app. This has an AR feature to bring either team captain Manuel Neuer or forward Arjen Robben into their selfies, alongside the option to pick one of the club's three jerseys in the photos to personalise and screenshot the number and name on the back of the jerseys.
"We believe that AR could be key for us in the near future... We're already thinking about the merchandising experience via AR and how that could potentially work with sponsors when it comes to exporting the logos of our partners."
Stefan Mennerich, Director of Media Digital & Communications, Bayern Munich

With this enablement, fan engagement on mobile, in the stadium and then on social media is ready made for AR. This quickly realised capacity to capture, engage and then ultimately commercialise via these platforms is set to be huge business for major sports franchises.

There has undoubtedly been a swing towards fan engagement and how it can be optimised to create an enhanced digital platform for fan and brand engagement, immersive storytelling holds the key.

The Immersive Technology In Sports & Entertainment Summit comes to London on April 18-19 and is about how we realise and define the future and business cases for broadcast, brand marketing strategy and ROI across the sports and entertainment industries.

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