When producing an advertising campaign for radio, television, or the internet, the one goal they all have in common is their need and ability to tell a story. Advertisers, by necessity, tell stories that hopefully will interest viewers to consider their wares. 360 virtual reality is simply another tool designed for an interactive experience that marketers use to increase interest and exposure to their brand. 360 video is a powerful storytelling tool. It shouldn’t matter what brand or niche you promote, basic marketing principles still apply. One difference for sports teams is the fan demand for instant content. Some business types can wear out their welcome with too much digital exposure. However, in the sports world, the digital sports world, fans thirst and hunger for content before a game begins, while a game is in progress, and they crave post-game content as well. Fans want to know what is going on.
Are there any early indications that 360 VR is more than just a toy? Consider that Facebook Live Videos are viewed three times longer than videos that are not live. Viewers comment on live videos ten times more frequently than other types of videos. Facebook Live gives viewers the ability to provide instant content that can be viewed as it’s happening or later when there’s time.
On April 19, 2017, Facebook announced the second generation of Surround 360 cameras. The X24 is a spherical ball that contains 24 cameras that look like 24 eyeballs searching for things to look at. The X6 is a smaller version containing 6 cameras. Sports focused 360 virtual reality experience enables fans to see the game from a players perspective. 360 VR also gives viewers the sense that they are sitting in the stands at the game. Many marketing professionals believe this new technology is vital to the continued growth and connection with viewers while many others believe that it produces ineffectual content. In the meantime, some brands are experimenting with ways they can use 360 to expand their exposure. We consider a few of those in the following paragraphs.
How teams use 360 Virtual Reality
- Arizona Diamondbacks use 360 VR to give fans the players perspective
Have you ever wondered what a 99 mph fastball looks like to the batter? How about the view the shortstop has turning a double play with the 2nd and 1st baseman? You can now view what it looks like for Paul Goldschmidt to hit a home run into the swimming pool in the center field bleachers. And through the miracle of VR highlights, be able to see what the ball looks like sailing over the fence and splashing in the water. Not to mention the subsequent fan excitement for the home run itself.
- Division 1 Collegiate Football using 360 VR during National Championship
In an April 11, 2017, press release, College Football Playoff (CFP), in association with MANDT VR, released two never before seen 360 videos presenting exclusive content from the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship between Clemson and Alabama. In the first video, viewers watch Clemson win their first national championship since 1981. The second video immerses viewers in a detailed look at the ceremonial pomp and circumstance during championship weekend.
- 360 Professional Hockey
The Kontinental Hockey League produced live 360 broadcasts of this year's Gagarin Cup professional hockey championships. The Gagarin Cup is the Russian equivalent to the American Stanley Cup. Fans were able to use headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR, to view the action from three different viewpoints. But how is this going to translate into a marketing strategy?
Sergey Dobrohvalov, vice president of KHL Marketing and Communications noted:
Virtual Reality is becoming an indispensable element of the marketing strategy of global sports brands, as well as major media platforms and social networks. Kontinental Hockey League is always committed to the use and introduction of new technologies. The live broadcast in the format of virtual reality will be the first experience in the history of Russian hockey and will be aimed at attracting new audiences and increasing interest to a wide audience of fans to the significant event in the life of the KHL. (SOURCE)
How is this going to translate into how viewers interact with 360 videos? 360 Video has the potential to elevate brand awareness. 360 is only limited by your imagination. It’s early and the jury is out but teams ahead of the curve have an excellent opportunity to increase brand exposure.
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To discover more creative ways to use 360 video, download our free Marketers Guide To 360 VR Video