Over the past few years, we’ve watched in wonder as immersive marketing has overtaken the world of NFL sponsorships and promotions. The advent of integrated mobile networks inside NFL stadiums has opened new realms of possibility for both established big brand sponsors and innovative disruptors. We’ve seen some amazing applications for mobile technology, as well as some creative new takes on more traditional real world brand activations.
As we head into prime tailgating season in 2017, the team here at TGSM can’t wait to see all the new immersive marketing efforts that brands are putting together for the season ahead. Here’s a quick look at five different areas of immersive marketing that we’re watching in 2017:
#5 – Immersive Marketing in The Social Landscape
As more and more venues get their own signature mobile apps up and running, we’re expecting to see some exciting new integrations with popular social networks. Going into 2017, every NFL stadium is wireless; and almost every stadium has its own app. But those were only the first phase of this exciting new landscape.
As venue apps mature and differentiate, we’re going to see some creative social media integrations that encourage fans to share their experiences in real time as the game progresses. Venue apps already allow fans to order gear and refreshments right from their seats, find the shortest restroom line, and get special offers based on accumulated membership points. Now, we’ll see each of these features beginning to pop up on Sunday in shared pictures and comments across all social platforms. We’re also expecting the themed “selfie booth” to become a mainstay in stadiums around the league.
#4 – Immersive Marketing through Augmented Reality
The first phase of augmented reality in NFL stadiums was all about food and restrooms. Beacons and sensor nodes were put in place to gauge the length and speed of lines at restrooms and concession stands. That was a great start, but we think there are going to be some awesome new developments coming up in this area.
Imagine sitting in your seat and using your phone’s camera to scan the crowd – with every tweet, every mention, every share displayed in real time from its real-world location. Scan the field, and the players’ game stats and fantasy stats will appear over their heads. That’s where we’re headed.
As a side-effect, we think we’ll also start to see bigger and better open concourses and terraces, as active fans will gather together to create social hotspots. Augmented reality in NFL stadiums will create more immersive marketing opportunities because fans will be able to visually see when a social buzz is being created by a brand activation anywhere inside the stadium.
#3 – Immersive Marketing in Alternative Reality
While augmented reality is just beginning to find a home in the NFL, we think that alternative reality is what’s up next. Movies and video games have pioneered this new frontier, where various digital components are overlaid to create an immersive experience for the end user. Real world features can be worked into an alternative reality, to bring the experience even closer to home for users, consumers, and fans.
The NFL has a head start in alternative reality, with fantasy football having already been widely adopted by its fan base. When popular fantasy football platforms become fully integrated with social media and each venue’s mobile apps, we’ll see alternative reality in the NFL begin to take shape.
#2 – Immersive Marketing with Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has been a long time coming, but we think it’s safe to say that it has officially arrived. The New York Times is offering subscribers immersive VR content – and VR moved within the reach of average American budgets with the advent of Google cardboard and Samsung Gear.
We’ve already seen some great virtual reality brand activations in the NFL, and we think this type of activation will soon be commonplace as stadiums are investing more of their budgets in state-of-the-art video capabilities. Of course, new virtual reality experiences will come along with more sponsorship opportunities, and we’re likely to see some great immersive marketing activations as a result.
#1 – Immersive Marketing IRL – In Real Life
Obviously, we’re big fans of mobile technology here at TGSM. Mobile networks are the foundation of our flagship interactive tailgating trailers – allowing us to capture and target the most ideal demographics in any NFL crowd. But, we must admit, real life activations are still our favorites.
Some of the best brand activations in NFL history have applied cutting edge technology in real physical spaces to create amazing experiences that are absolutely changing the face of immersive marketing. When Verizon immersed fans in a simulated game and allowed them to throw a game winning pass at Super Bowl 50, we thought it was one of the best brand activations we’ve seen yet. We’re definitely expecting more of the same in 2017, and we can’t wait to see the immersive marketing experiences that NFL fans are going to be treated to over the season ahead.