We joke in our family that we immigrated from the Philippines to Sarnia, Ontario because we were destined to bleed blue and maize. Growing up in border towns, we made our way across the Ambassador and Bluewater Bridges to cheer on our teams, be it the steadfast support of the Lions during our 0-16 year or watching the Wolverines make it to the top tiers of the NCAA football. I’ve watched the Tigers and the Red Wings games, and when Detroit hosted March Madness in 2008, I watched a Sophomore Stephen Curry nearly upset Kansas in Davidson’s attempt to make it to the Final Four.
For my grandfather’s 75th birthday, we all cheered on our beloved Tigers as they got crushed by Kansas City.
As I’ve moved up the 401 and cheer a few other teams of the Raptor, Blue Jay, and Canadiens/Maple Leaf varieties, I still hold fast to my firm belief that “it’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine.” One of the best ways that I can stay connected to my favourite teams is through technology, be it through social media, augmented reality, or virtual reality. And when it comes to leveraging technology, the following teams and organizations have created a winning solution!
When it comes to technology-centered fan engagement, the Sacramento Kings are leading the pack. From hosting the first NBA Pokemon Go meetup to being the first Pro-Sport franchise with its own Chatbot, from being the first franchise to allow fans to purchase tickets using bitcoins to creating their own fan mobile app, the Kings have placed technology at the center of their fan experience. Moreover, the Kings have utilized Oculus Rift to allow fans to experience their games through a virtual reality experience. Using six camera digitally connected together, each fan can experience the court with a 180-degree view.
My beloved Montreal Canadiens did a complete overhaul of their digital signage, embracing 4K technology. Through crisp designs that are meant to engage their fans, the digital signage illustrates the information that fans want. Staff members can change the signage on the fly using iPads, allowing them to interact with fans and place messages on signage across the arena. It
A MLB first, the Los Angeles Dodges have their own accelerator program with the goal of connecting startups with key athletic leaders to create innovative solutions using sports, technology and entertainment. In 2015, ten startups were chosen to be a part of the LA Dodgers Accelerator. The key areas of interests are: Fan Engagement, Fan Relationship Management, eSports, Smart Arenas, Big Data & Analytics, Fitness and Youth Sports, Sports Training, and Sponsor Integration.
The Denver Broncos always find ways to take social media engagement to the next level. With a partnership with Budweiser, the Broncos installed a Twitter Vending machine in their stadium. The vending machine tells fans to tweet out a pre-determined message with a unique hashtag. After it recognizes the hashtag being used, the machines dispenses a prize to the fan. With 200 prizes, each fan has the chance to win anything from ticket upgrades, merchandise, skis signed by former quarterback Jake Plummer, and ski lift tickets. Considering some of the prizes, it’s no surprise that the vending machine was quickly emptied out by their incredibly happy fans.