Fan engagement and marketing for football teams right now is affected by the lockdown due to COVID-19 since all social gatherings are postponed or cancelled, which includes matches. Teams have to think of new ways to reach both distant and local fans. Here comes the XR-industry with its many options for mixed-media solutions to reach fans. In this post we have prepared four ways in which volumetric video can contribute to fan engagement and football marketing.
XR in the football industry
One of the biggest trends in the today's’ sports marketing is XR technologies. Due to COVID-19 and the lockdown during the first half of 2020, all public social gatherings were cancelled. This of course included football matches, which led to the need for more football-related content that fans could consume at home. The pandemic is a chance for a new generation of fan engagement through virtual experiences. Fans want to engage with their favourite teams and players in any way possible and XR technologies are offering a new range of possibilities For example, during 2018 FIFA World Cup AR Snapchat and Facebook filters were introduced.
4 Uses of Volumetric Video in Football Marketing and Fan Engagement Trends In this article, we will give you more insight into volumetric video and how it can be used in sports. With volumetric video, it’s possible to capture a moving and talking football player in 3D. When you combine this with AR or VR football players can appear anywhere at any time you’d like.If you are curious to know what volumetric video is all about, click here!
1. Social media effects
Effects, (or filters) on Instagram and Snapchat have been gaining popularity in the past few years. A few football clubs have taken opportunity from this trend and have created their personalised XR effects to engage with fans. Fans have been enjoying the face paint effects in the colours of their favourite club, but we can go a step further, or should I say a jump further! With volumetric video technology, it is possible to create a realistic digital copy of clubs’ legends. That way when the effects loads, the football legend will pop up in front of fans, whenever they want and wherever they want.
4DRStudios example: Image of the PSV snapchat filter
2. Create moments with fans (make a sharable and memorable environment, like the PSV tour and the End-of-season message Taking pictures with players or their hologram because pictures are easy to share) The Dallas Cowboys already experienced with fan engagement through an AR Boot, ‘Pose with the Pro’s!’ where fans can take pictures with their favorite players. When the worlds of physical and digital collide, a whole new world for fans (abroad) can be fulfilled with this type of technique. After the picture is taken it is easy to share through social media channels.
Creating memorable moments with fans is very important in sports and making sure that fans can share them is even more important. Because emotion is one of the reasons why people watch football and what better to connect with fans than through emotion. Using tools as visual storytelling is very effective in combination with compelling content, it can create a strong strategy for brand awareness of the club. Also, it is a strategy to strengthen the connection between teams and players and their fans around the world.
Besides match days, a lot of football fans are visiting stadiums for guided tours: from dressing rooms to the dugout, almost all important places are shown during a stadium tour. Only you rarely see a player or club legend. But together with PSV, we made this possible. At four locations during the stadium tour, there is an augmented reality experience with volumetric video. At each of these locations in the stadium tour, one of these three people will pop up in 3D and tell you more about this specific spot. Of course, you can also go on a picture with them. This way great locations are connected to club icons which makes the stadium tour more personal and interactive.
3. Training (helping players to cope with stress through VR; practice without being in the field) There is nothing better than training on the field and virtual can never compare to real training. However, according to Raúl Peláez, Head of Sports Technology, Innovation and Analysis for FC Barcelona, XR technologies seem to be very promising and could be a good complementary option to field training. In order for a simulation to give the best result, it should not be like a video game, but it should be as realistic as possible, Peláez says. For Peláez, video footage in football is essential and what would really improve coaching is 3D footage that you can view from any angle. Volumetric video could really bring value to football since coaches will be able to follow every movement at any point of time from any side. That way they could pinpoint best what needs improvement.
4. Bringing the stadium at home Reaching fans is more difficult than ever with all the different channels available and the constantly changing behavior of fans. Mass broadcasting does not allow them to personalize enough and usually limits to specific camera angles and timetables for example. With volumetric video, a new way of viewing football is possible to be introduced in the next few years. A 3D digital twin of the game pops up in front of a fan on their coffee table or a living room carpet, allowing them to observe the game from any point of time from any side. This could not only revolutionize the viewing of the game but also the possibility for the team to evaluate performance and improve gameplay based on the 3D twin. Per example, there is an AR-prototype that conveys Youtube video into 3D holograms.
Closing The XR industry can be really helpful in football for multiple reasons as described above. It’s a great opportunity to reach more fan engagement and bring fans digitally in touch with their favorite team and players. Social media effects can create photo moments with fans whenever they want. It’s all about the emotional connection that can create memorable moments for fans to share and bring awareness to certain teams and players, which can increase the popularity of the clubs. On the other hand, it can also help the players themselves, think about how they can analyze their own football skills or from other players as an example. Volumetric video captures every movement and skill of the players, as well as the coaching skills to improve for the better. As you can read volumetric video can bring people together and create an experience for fans and the football players, because the XR industry is constantly growing and keeps bringing innovation to life.
If you are curious about how we put volumetric video into practice, look through our portfolio for various projects or subscribe to our newsletter!