Gridiron Tech is a weekly feature here at Succeed In Football that takes a look into how technology is influencing the football landscape. In this edition, we investigate how NFL teams are utilizing new fan engagement technologies to help enhance the ‘stadium experience’ and creating software aimed at attracting loyal fans.
Augmented Reality next for NFL: The Pokémon Go brand put augmented reality (AR) on the map last year, which prompted the NFL to ask itself, how do we incorporate the latest phenomenon into a user experience? Mobile developer Yinzcam and digital agency Float Hybrid may have the answer. They’ve created software that enables fans to ‘virtually’ paint their face with their favorite team’s colors or put on an NFL helmet and take a selfie, which can then be shared on social media instantly. The Broncos were the first team to offer this on their team app at the end of last year. This season, the Texans and Eagles have also partnered with the mobile developers, according to a statement. “We are hyper-focused on leveraging innovative technologies to create memorable moments that drive emotional connections with consumers,” Keith Bendes, Float Hybrid’s VP of marketing and strategic partnerships, said in the statement. The new AR software has drawn an official sponsor in Bud Light and has since caught the attention of other NFL teams. It would come as no surprise to see all 32 franchises with this offering by next season.
“Fan Cams” meet football: NFL teams are constantly exploring for additional ways to supplement the stadium experience and make it more interactive for the fans. In today’s “Look at me” culture created by social media, it’s crucial to keep fans entertained and involved. Boston-based company Brizi recognizes that, which is why it created robotic cameras capable of taking a fan’s picture on demand. With Brizi’s technology, a fan using a smartphone can control the robotic camera in the venue and have a picture taken that can be shared in near real-time. Thus far, the company has partnered with the NBA, U.S. Open and Australian Open. However, due to larger stadiums, Brizi is still trying to figure out the logistics of partnering with NFL teams. The solution seems to be using more than one camera. Brizi claims that 74% of fans who attend a sporting event snap a photo, and while several teams currently offer panoramic fan shots, they usually aren’t available until the next day. The ability to take a picture or video on demand and instantly upload it to social media is an enticing stadium enhancement but also a way to increase revenue. The camera also records user data of each fan that requests a photo, which can then be used later on to send them future offerings such as a game ticket or merchandise.
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