Imagine the lights are off and a single spotlight is shining. The crowd is going nuts as the starting lineup is announced. And you’re standing right in the middle of it all. Now anyone can do just that. They can see what athletes experience on a daily basis and smart sports marketers are taking advantage of it. Here’s how they’re doing it.
3 USES FOR VIRTUAL REALITY IN SPORTS MARKETING
Virtual reality is the new buzzword throughout the sports industry. For the past few years, teams have been using VR for coaching purposes – to better train their athletes for game situations. Now departments across professional and collegiate sports are seeing the wide open applications of virtual reality in sports marketing. Every department – from marketing and recruiting to multimedia and corporate sales – can use virtual reality to provide an impactful stakeholder experience. Virtual reality is a marketing tool that should become part of everyone’s toolbox.
Here are 3 ways sports marketers are using VR to take their game to the next level:
1. DRIVE SPONSOR DOLLARS
The quest for every sports marketing professional is to find new and different ways to increase sponsorship potential. You want sponsor activation? Fans flock to a virtual reality station on game day. They want a taste of what it’s like to be inside the action, and with VR you’re in a position to give it to them. The sponsors will love you for it.
Work with a sponsor to create a branded virtual reality experience that shows the unique vantage points that fans want to see. It will be a hit on the concourse and remember, whenever there are fans, sponsorship dollars are sure to follow.
2. IMPRESS YOUR VIP’S
Corporate hospitality is all about providing a unique, upscale environment that other fans don’t get. That’s why they’re willing to pay a premium for upgraded seating, event access, etc. If they’re able to offer their clients and employees a different experience, it helps to set themselves apart in business.
Virtual reality is another way to provide these high-priority customers with behind the scenes access to their favorite team. If sports marketers are able to help these VIP’s differentiate themselves, it’s sure to leave a lasting impression when it comes time to renew their contracts.
3. GO VIRAL
There’s nothing better than free marketing – but every company is shooting for the same thing. They all want to be recognized. So how do sports marketers do something that is different?
Use a virtual reality platform to create the type of 360 degree content for your web and mobile platforms that will stand out from the crowd on social media. Allow your fans to do something they wouldn’t normally get to do. Standing inside the huddle. Running out of the tunnel. The pregame speech. The crowd cheering. Combine a cool VR experience with a passionate fan base, and watch your fan engagement go through the roof.
4. GET BEHIND-THE-SCENES [BONUS]
Everyone knows that fans love behind-the-scenes access. They always want to know what life is like behind those closed doors. Locker rooms, facilities, weight rooms – they eat it up.
But sports marketers are realizing that facilities tours can be effective – not just for fan engagement – but for a variety of other uses. Ensure that top recruits and free agents can experience all that you have to offer, even if they can’t visit in person. Provide key donors and sponsors a look at how you’ve put their money to work. Allow prospective suite owners a realistic look at what the game day experience would be like in your premium club. The potential is endless and only limited by your own creativity.
Want to learn how the reigning NACMA Marketing Department of the Year, Mississippi State is using virtual reality to drive sales and increase fan engagement?