It’s only been released for 16 days but by now there’s no way you would not have heard of the most successful gaming app of all time- Pokemon Go.
Developed by Niantic, the navigation based augmented reality app has been an outstanding success that has captivated people across the world to get out and capture Pokemon creatures with their smart phones while also generating in excess of US$35M as well as seeing an average of 20M active users each day in the US.
Such is the craze that Pokemon Go has led to the mayor of Brazil demanding that it is made available in time for the Rio Olympics while health professionals are praising the app’s benefits in improving the mental and physical health of people. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies across the globe are warning of the dangers of the game with one person already being killed playing the app.
The benefits of Pokemon Go to businesses everywhere mean users get off the couch to go outside therefore giving them a chance to discover new shops, new restaurants and new landmarks, all while engaging in a new method of socialization that encourages group interaction and stepping outside their comfort zone. Augmented reality is not a new fan engagement activation in the sports business either with the Scottish Football Association using AR to launch a kit in 2011 while Manchester City launched an AR app that enabled fans everywhere to lift the FA Cup however Pokemon Go has taken AR in the sports business to the next level.
Sporting teams and stadiums have been quick to jump into Pokemon Go with teams across NBA, NFL, NRL, AFL and more all having fun with the game and with their fans by hosting meet ups, open stadium hunts, ticketing and merch deals for trainers, goal celebrations and even by announcing the signing of players.
The fan engagement takeaways from the incredible positive reception of Pokemon Go are in my mind the following:
- AR (and indeed VR) will continue to be two areas in which the sports business, stadiums and teams across the globe will focus their attention. Already in the sports world we’ve seen the Rugby World Cup, Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Red Wings use augmented reality technology to offer fans 3D interactive experiences and exclusive content. Sports fans want unique experiences and AR will offer new ways of delivering this to them.
- More fans will be coming to games rather than watching at home due to the advent of AR games and apps like Pokemon Go. Fans always want more and if teams or stadiums (with high speed free Wi-Fi) can tap into the success of this app to create something unique but with a sports or team focus then surely that means more bums on seats.
- Teams (club social media managers) can be proactive on social media in driving fan engagement amongst their fans by jumping onto interesting and creative moments like this by posting their own team spin on the subject which fans will instantly get a kick out of. The key is as always to never stop listening to your fans.
- The combination of team data and AR will enable teams to deep dive into how to get better and win more plays or games while offering fans unbelievable insights into players and the team.
As you will see from the various ideas below sporting teams have been quick to jump into this space in the past fortnight.
Have you seen anything else? Tag me at @MrBlairHughes and I’ll be sure to add it to the list.
1. Toronto Argonauts are setting off lures at The Shipyard during the Tailgate and at BMO Field once the gates open. Fans need a game ticket to get in but can take advantage of an exclusive Pokemon Go ticket deal when the Argos battle the Alouettes on Monday.
@DurhamBulls let fans onto the field to catch Pokemon.
3. Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens had some fun on Twitter with this feud.
4. FC Koln. The Bundesliga team had their players talk about Pokemon Go on Media Day
5. The Finnish Football Team performed a Pokemon GO inspired celebration after scoring a goal
On Saturday, Metricon Stadium will transform into a digital battlefield, with the Gold Coast SUNS’ home of football the latest venue to be swept by the global smartphone phenomenon that is Pokemon Go.
7. Phillies MLB are trying to lure fans to the games with Pokemon by telling players that they’ll be dropping lures, basically an attraction point for the Pokemon to show up at more frequently, at all Pokestops (places of note) in the stadium all night long.
8. Sacremento Kings are hosting a Pokémon Go Meet-up for fans
9. Houston Rockets offered fans discounts on their merchandise for anyone playing the game in their arena. If players made any purchase, their name would be entered in a raffle for the chance to win an autographed basketball.
10. San Antonio Missions granted special early access to Wolff Stadium. Gates opened earlier and Pokémon Go Trainers were able to walk the stadium trying to catch Pokémon and they can also battle at Wolff Stadium’s Pokémon Go Gym.
11. Port Adelaide AFL created a guide for fans on catching Pokemon at their training grounds.
12. In the NRL the NZ Warriors had a bit of fun with fans on social media.
13. Nebraska Huskers had over 3700 people turn up to play the game at their stadium.
14. The St Kilda AFL team also found the funny side of the craze with this post.
15. Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing of a new player
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) July 13, 2016
16. Texas A&M had a Pokemon Go event at their stadium for fans to come in and catch the creatures.
— Texas A&M Athletics (@12thMan) July 13, 2016
17. Dallas Mavericks offered fans discounts if they played the game at their game
The Phillie Phanatic jumps headfirst into the Pokemon Go craze with this mascot fun.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) July 20, 2016
Good few gifs and more fun videos here substituting the ball for a pokemon ball!