Stagwell launches augmented reality experience with Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium

Stagwell launched augmented reality with the Los Angeles Rams and the NFL’s SoFi Stadium last weekend as part of the team’s ongoing effort to draw fans back and keep them connected during games.

The stadium app is designed to be used during games at the venue to engage fans, especially younger ones, as they attend in person. Now, Stagwell is extending it to a home AR experience for those watching from home. The NFL game features live AR effects, interactive content coordinated with touchdowns, player animations and other game-related prizes and contests.

“Football [is a] choreographed production,” said Josh Beatty, founder and CEO of ARound, a unit of Stagwell that develops AR experiences for clients. “There is always something going on. So first we wanted to understand how we could fit into that experience because what we don’t want to be is a distraction. We really want to be complementary in the way we create game day interaction.”

The initiative is led by ARound, which first launched the AR platform in August with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis. As with the Rams, the goal is to allow fans to experience a live environment through games and other immersive content and engage with others in the stadium.

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Around found the results with the Twins to be promising, especially since baseball tends to have a lot of idle time during the game. In this case, the app did particularly well in attracting younger fans, Beatty said. While a baseball game typically lasts about 18 minutes, the average engagement time on the app was more than 25 minutes per fan, he added.

“When we came to the Twins, we quickly realized that one of the biggest challenges in sports is how to engage younger fans in particular,” Beatty told Digiday. “In baseball, with so much downtime and so many distractions, it competes with every form of entertainment. So with the Twins, we really focused our content on this younger audience.”

Provided by Stagwell

Stagwell is among many agencies developing content for AR and VR as clients experiment with gaming, immersive experiences and other metaverse technologies. Augmented reality itself has been around for years – remember Pokémon Go? Some agree that in-game advertising can appeal to a younger generation in particular, as with video game channels such as esports.

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“Marketers should monitor the channels where their users spend the most time,” said Mateusz Jędrocha, head of upper funnel solutions at marketing company RTB House. “It introduces the brand in a non-intrusive way to reach an audience that wants to learn new things, has a high purchasing power and appreciates a brand that can speak their language. It’s especially important to reach not just Gen Z, but the wider population as gaming is more popular than ever.”

Part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, ARound uses 3D spatial computing to localize content for users at a venue. With the ARound Stadium app, fans can point their devices at the pitch and interact with various elements in the venue. And for those watching from home, the AR experience on game day is mirrored with the events at SoFi Stadium, and they can also engage with the games and live content.

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The 70,000-square-foot Infinity Screen Rams will also show real-time game content with these AR effects, such as a touchdown or when a team enters the stadium. Additionally, some key players on the team, including Aaron Donald and Bobby Wagner, will receive special animations.

Over time, Around plans to go beyond sports games and expand into other live events, such as music concerts, and connect it to more experiences at home. Beatty says this type of platform can work in any place where people gather and want to amplify the live experience. He said this type of content is made for the world of short video entertainment.

“We really want to handle all the live events,” Beatty said. “We’re really tapping into something that combines education with excitement with entertainment, and we feel that really sets the stage for lifelong fandom.”

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