The impact of technology on sponsorship right now and in the future came under the spotlight in a SportBusiness webinar, ‘Technology, fan engagement and data – writing the new rules of sponsorship’ which is now available to watch for free.
In the thought-provoking session Gareth Balch, co-founder and chief executive of Two Circles, Don White, chief executive of Satisfi Labs, Scott Seymour, senior vice-president and managing director for golf at Octagon, and Caroline Darcy, global head of sponsorship and events at Standard Chartered Bank delivered insights into some of key concepts and tools that will help transform the industry in these challenging times.
Here are some of the key learnings from the webinar which you can watch now by clicking on this link.
Acceleration of digital innovation: Covid-19 is accelerating innovation in digital packaging and activation, according to Gareth Balch, co-founder and chief executive of Two Circles. Balch argued that Covid-19 is giving all areas of the industry an opportunity to rewrite the rulebook and believes sports sponsorship’s digital revolution will see it thrive long-term across data, content and fan engagement. Although fan data cannot be directly monetised because of regulations, sponsors can buy into the relationship that exists between the fan and the sports organisation, he said.
One-to-one search engines: Don White, chief executive of Satisfi Labs said his company had created custom and conversational search engines to enhance the MLB fan experience. The technology enables information about MLB games to be accessed by voice, via Google Assistant, and allows teams to engage with fans at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in venues when allowed. Sponsorship can be sold at the interface between the fan and search engine.
Customisation of video communications: Scott Seymour, senior vice-president and managing director for golf at Octagon, highlighted a customised campaign by US Open sponsors Cisco at this year’s US Open golf championship, played behind closed doors, which heavily featured Cisco Webex technology and collaboration tools. Fans were virtually integrated into the ‘1st Tee experience via Webex’ – providing on-the-tee messages for players at the practice rounds, and with live fan “galleries” during Championship play. Tournament broadcaster NBC used Webex technology to bring past champions and golf personalities into the broadcast, while live fan reactions via Webex featured in the daily broadcasts.
Creative activations: Liverpool FC main sponsors Standard Chartered has found innovative ways to connect with the club and to connect its clients to the club via virtual channels which it had not used before, according to Caroline Darcy, global head of sponsorship and events at Standard Chartered Bank. With matches played behind closed doors, Standard Chartered used Soundboard technology to live stream the sounds and chants of fans at the club’s Anfield stadium in reaction to player performances on the pitch during matches. With Liverpool certain to win the 2019-20 Premier League, the bank also ran a campaign which saw fan tweets of support applied to the confetti which would fall on the team when it lifted the trophy. A video of the process was distributed on social media.
Digital, not virtual: The speakers concluded that virtual reality integrations with sports had not taken off over the last five years and that putting on goggles as an enhancement to the sports experience was not what fans wanted in the context of Covid-19.