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The Future of AR/VR in the Sports Industry
The gaming industry is usually the first industry that springs to mind when discussing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). However, aside from interactive entertainment, both technologies also lend themselves particularly well to fields such as real estate and sports.
Augmented reality has actually been around in the sports industry since 1998, when the first virtual down marker was seen on television during a live football game. Today, those bright yellow grid lines are second nature to football fans, seen during every televised game. AR, due to its massive inclusivity, is the first logical step before fully jumping into the virtual world. Many sports teams are embracing AR technology including the San Francisco Deltas, who recently announced a partnership with Verizon, which will allow fans of the soccer team to engage with an augmented reality jumbotron. The Deltas' stadium does not have a jumbotron and due to the cost, the product management team decided to forego the traditional route of buying one. Instead, by utilizing AR technology, fans will be able to use their smartphones as personal jumbotrons to access instant replays, live video feeds and other live in-game content. The implementation of AR is the latest use case in the sports realm, and is just scratching the surface of what is possible.
Aside from widespread AR adoption, the sports industry has found many different ways to incorporate VR into live games - from recruiting future team members to training. Both the MLB and the NBA have utilized VR to enable fans to enjoy live games from the comfort of their own homes without losing the authenticity of attending a game. The VR experience brings fans closer to the action, with multiple cameras placed throughout the court or field, allowing the freedom to choose where to watch the game. Bringing virtual reality into the sports world enables fans to have a more personalized viewing experience that is unique to every game watched. Virtual reality streaming also opens another avenue for revenue for the sports industry. While the MLB did not charge consumers for the live VR game, the NBA took advantage of this previously untapped market by making VR games free to those who subscribed to their League Pass service. As on TV, virtual reality can use advertising to its advantage, in a much more customizable way. Allowing users to interact with ads throughout the live game will give agencies pertinent information to be able to tailor unique ads to specific people.
The incorporation of AR and VR in the sports industry is not just happening at live games. The company, AR Sports incorporates AR into the Fantasy Football drafting process. While this will not replace the draft, it will enhance the drafting process while also encouraging users to get outside. The app works similarly to "Pokémon GO", in that certain NFL players will be able to be "caught" or drafted by having a football thrown at them rather than a Pokeball. Fans will be notified when a particularly in-demand player is near and it is up to them to secure the player for their team. Due to the app's reliance on location, advertisers will be able to use this to their advantage by localizing ads when users are in certain areas. Should a user swipe on an ad a certain number of times while in the app, they may receive discounts or free items, which is a win-win for all parties.
Ever since that first virtual down marker on the football field, it was clear that augmented and virtual reality were going to make waves in sports. Since then, as this technology has grown, it has not only enhanced the sporting world, but also opened up new possibilities for fan engagement and revenue.
Neil Mandt is an Emmy Award-winning producer, and the CEO and founder of both Los Angeles-based production companies, Mandt Bros. Production and MANDT VR. Neil has a wealth of experience delivering award-winning content to television, film, internet and mobile audiences, and is now parlaying his expertise in the field to immersive digital content. In addition to creating over 3,000 television episodes, Neil owns and operates a turn-key production facility in the heart of Hollywood. Neil's notable credits include the development and creation of the hit ESPN series "Jim Rome Is Burning," ABC's "Frozen Christmas Parade," the Syfy Channel's hit series "Destination Truth," Food Network's "The Shed," Speed's "The Car Show with Adam Carolla," Versus' Sports "Jobs with Junior Seau" and daily coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial for ABC News. Most recently, Neil produced the full-length feature film, "Dog Years," starring Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase and Ariel Winter, which had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017. In 2014, Neil was a co-producer and developer of the Walt Disney Pictures feature film "Million Dollar Arm," starring Jon Hamm and Alan Arkin. Neil has also produced and directed a number of award-winning short films starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew Perry, Justin Timberlake, John Hamm, Seth Meyers, Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell, among many others.
Related Keywords:Augmented Reality, AR, Virtual Reality, VR
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