New technologies offer opportunities to engage and fully immerse customers in personalised experiences, and the recent Olympics and Paralympics raised the bar for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Sports teams, brands and organisers used new social, mobile and cloud technologies to move global spectators from passive viewers to interactive participants, fully immersed and entertained.
So just what is an ‘immersive’ customer experience? Nick Lowe, managing director of digital production agency Satellite Media, says it’s one where you add value to someone’s day by taking them on a journey to inform or entertain.
“It’s providing something they’ve never seen before or making an existing experience just that little bit easier,” says Nick. “Immersive experiences or ‘activations’ make people stop and take notice, perhaps forgetting about their worries for a moment, and taking the time to go on a journey.”
The sports industry is leading the charge in revamping engagement strategies to make sports more accessible to a wider range of fans and tap into new geographic and demographic groups.
The reason is simple: by engaging with fans in more personal ways and attracting more followers and attendees to events, sports teams can boost revenues for greater growth and expansion and to attract top talent.
Teams are also making it easier and more affordable to be a fan. Attending an on-site sporting event can be pricey and not every fan can make it. New technology enables people to connect over multiple devices – often watching games live on their mobiles or a big-screen TV while streaming live commentary on their computers.
Here are some of the ways the sports industry is changing experiences for spectators in the stadium, and fans at home and ‘on the go’:
Technology is dramatically changing the design and functionality of sports stadiums
Live experience platforms
Brands are taking advantage of technology to develop interactive apps that create a streamlined, fun and engaging delegate experience.
Here in New Zealand, Satellite Media created a mobile game for ASB at the ASB Classic tennis tournament that let attendees play along in real time on their own phone.
“We had most of the attendees using their phones to play a quiz game which ran in sync with the big screens at the venue during the breaks between matches,” says Nick.
Satellite also delivered an interactive running course in Auckland and Wellington for Powerade, called the Powerade Challenge.
“Runners used a smart wristband to register the start and finish of their run on special vending machines placed around the waterfront. This recorded their total run time and let them view and compare their stats.”
New smart arenas combine modern architecture, flexible formats and affordable access to help enrich the spectator experience, improve the venue’s utility and drive new revenue streams.
Mobile apps are one of the most efficient and profitable tools to engage and activate fans. Some professional sports teams have apps that let fans find parking spots, purchase premium seat upgrades, check-in and locate their seats, order food and drinks to their seats, find the closest bathroom with the shortest queue, watch high-definition instant replay and close-up videos, and get traffic information and the fastest route home after the game.
The Sacramento Kings’ app serves as the fan’s ticket, social media and chat platform to connect with friends in the arena. The team previously made the news when it became the first professional sports team to accept Bitcoin, and the first to use Google Glass and streaming live aerial drone video to enhance game footage.