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Volume 21 No. 1
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Fancam adds MLB team deals to sports roster

Fancam, a South African technology company specializing in ultra high-resolution photography, has signed agreements with the Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves for the 2017 MLB season, accelerating its growth in major pro sports.

The new agreements build upon prior event-based efforts at competitions such as the Super Bowl, Final Four and Stanley Cup Final; team clients such as the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and Real Madrid; and a pair of prior hardware installations at Madison Square Garden in New York and TD Garden in Boston. The three baseball deals give Fancam daily exposure to more than 7.5 million fans, and represent a significant increase in scale for the 7-year-old company.

At Minute Maid Park, AT&T Park and the new SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Fancam has mounted fixed, high-resolution cameras that take an automated series of panoramic images around each facility. Fancam then stitches together the various photos to create an overall image that can be zoomed in to an individual fan level. Fans can then tag themselves within the photos, and the Fancam images are shareable on social media or as custom-made digital postcards.

Fancam’s high-resolution photos allow fans to tag themselves and share the image socially.

“We’ve done a lot of the more one-off type of events, and they’ve been great, but having these kinds of regular, daily presence at these ballparks, and getting into baseball with the permanent installations, are big steps forward for us,” said Michael Proman, Fancam managing director of North American operations.

Fancam took images from the Braves’ final game last year at Turner Field, leading to the broader relationship for SunTrust Park. And Fancam has worked with retailer Academy Sports + Outdoors, which in turn helped create Fancam’s initial test last year with the Astros and now the full installation at Minute Maid Park.

Financial terms for the three deals were not disclosed. But Fancam is acting essentially as a vendor, with the clubs retaining rights to sell sponsorships and advertising against the images. Like any digital effort involving MLB marks and intellectual property, MLB Advanced Media was involved, and the league’s digital arm has approved Fancam’s entry into the sport.

“Our primary intent, particularly early on with the opening of SunTrust Park, is to use this as a tool to create compelling content for fans,” said Greg Mize, Braves director of digital. “We are confident we’ll ultimately be able to sell against this, and we already have some folks interested. We saw good engagement around this product for the last Turner Field game, and believe there is real value for a fan in having a permanent digital memory from a game they attended.”

Fancam’s rising profile extends a growing interest within the sports industry in various fan camera and facial recognition products, with other companies such as social content developer 15 Seconds Of Fame also quickly building client rosters.