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Volume 25 No. 152
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Fan Engagement Changes To Be Driven By Technology, Including Augmented Reality

Many of the biggest changes in fan engagement will be driven by technology, including augmented reality, said a panel of sports execs this week at the ’17 Intersport Brand Engagement Summit in Chicago. Braves VP/Marketing Adam Zimmerman said the team will soon roll out an AR experience at SunTrust Park that will be driven by the Braves but also built by players and fans. “We’re going to be able to visualize data,” he said. “You’re going to be able to ultimately point your phone at a player’s back and trigger an augmented reality experience, a deeper engagement that we may co-curate with that player. We think that level is going to be something really neat and different that the fans are going to enjoy and are going to help build with us. The players are going to build it with us. And then ultimately one of the values of technology is, "Can you monetize that technology?" Stats Exec VP/Global Sales & Marketing Greg Kirkorsky said the company is working with Snapchat so that fans in any venue can use the app’s filters to support either team as a way to “change the environment as a fan and a consumer.” The panel was titled, “The Engaged Fan 2027,” and Kirkorsky said, “I believe when you talk about 2027, we’re talking about the Internet of things. We’re talking about connectivity. Being able to experience and celebrate the moment supported by data. There will be a world where, whether its sensors on your arms or sleeves, where you’re driving that experience via AR much like Snapchat is today and putting publishing tools in the hands of the end user.”

BIGGEST CONCERNS: Asked about what keeps them up at night when it comes to fans, safety on all fronts was top of mind for the panelists. “You’ve got safety on the concussion side of things, and you’ve got safety in terms of security, safety of data and information,” said Intersport Exec VP/Sponsorship Consulting, Experiential & Hospitality Marketing Jason Langwell. “I think those kinds of things are going to drive issues as it relates to participation and attendance. If we have another episode or two like what happened in Manchester, if we get data security breaches and a lot more information out there about us individually, those are things that concern me overall. All of those things, to address them, are going to be additional infrastructure, additional cost, and will create a domino effect and a concern on in-venue affordability.”