Here Come the Golden Knights

With the 2016-2017 NHL season well underway, the focus of hockey fans should be on their hometown/favorite squad.  However, in this particular season, there is something distracting fans all over the nation. Next season there will be a league expansion (the first since 2000), and Las Vegas will have a brand new NHL franchise.

According to Naila-Jean Meyers of the New York Times, just last month the future franchise took care of one of the most important tasks on its to-do list: announcing a name and the team’s logo.  After much deliberation and some backlash from outside parties, the name was finally settled as the “Golden Knights.”  The logo can be seen below.

Source: The Golden Knights shared an image of their logo on Social Media

Although they are very important steps in creating a future franchise, the management team still has a long list of tasks ahead in order to prepare for their debut in the 2017-2018 season.  One of those tasks, which Meyers points out, is “completing sponsorship deals, negotiating TV rights and selling a bunch of new Golden Knights gear.”  This is the part of the league expansion process that has tremendous implications for all marketers in the sports industry.  First of which is the opportunity to sponsor the team.  Having your brands logo associated with a brand new team which is already generating tons of hype and in a market that is flooded with tourism all year round is a great opportunity.

Additionally, the marketing staff of the Golden Knights is going to be very busy for the next year trying to come up with ways to market all the new merchandise for the team along with season ticket packages, and individual game tickets. TV networks will have to duel it out for the rights to broadcast the team’s games, and since it is a brand new team, viewership will most likely be high in the first few seasons.   So the potential is quite abundant for interested sponsors

It’s very evident that the arrival of this new franchise next season is creating tons of buzz around the league and amongst its fan base.  So as a marketer, it would be a strategically smart move to associate one’s company with Sin City’s newest attraction.

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College Football from a GoPro Perspective

Similar to a post I did a couple of weeks ago, this post highlights another technological innovation in the sports industry.  As time moves on, the age old question still remains: How do we keep the fans excited?  What can we do to make the experience different and memorable to the fans?

Well, FoxSports, College Football, and GoPro may have just found an answer.  Just last week, the major sports network and GoPro collaborated on a project that would provide fans with a whole new perspective on College Football.  They created special hats, implanted with GoPro technology, and had the referees wear them during the game.  The clips were then used in the actual game broadcast and on social media, as reported by Mark J. Burns from sportstechie.com.

The article quotes Michael Davies, FOX Sports Senior Vice President Technical & Field Operations from a prior  statement:

“It’s in our FOX Sports DNA to constantly challenge our team to come up with new and interesting ways to enhance the viewing experience, bring fans closer to the action and make the story of sports even more compelling … this project with GoPro accomplishes all of that.”

Some of the footage from the Minnesota/Wisconsin game can be found in the video below.

GoPro has always been known for making some of the most innovative and versatile cameras.  They have changed the way that people use a camera in everyday life and they’ve now wedged their way into the sports realm.  This could prove to be very important for sports marketers because of its possible application to all sports leagues.  Imagine watching your favorite hockey team or basketball team from the ice/court.  It changes the dynamic of how sports are viewed and for that reason it needs to be taken into consideration by all sports marketers in all different sports.

VR and Sports, What Does the Future Hold?

In the past few years, the major professional sports leagues have been constantly looking for ways to become more innovative and create a more engaged fan base, whether it be through Social Media initiatives or in-game experiences.

One of the most recent of these innovations, according to SVG News, is the arrival of PlayStation Virtual Reality (PSVR) at the Barclays ATP Tennis Finals last week. The tournament took place at the O2 in London and according to the staff at SVG: “Visitors to the Fan Zone at The O2 will be able to immerse themselves in matches by stepping into unique interactive pods featuring PlayStationVR where they will find themselves in a virtual tennis world.”

And…according to ATP Executive Chairman & President, Chris Kermode: “We look forward to unveiling this pioneering new technology at our season finale at The O2, offering a new and exciting way to experience our sport, as we look to leverage new technologies and engage with the next generation of fans.”

This pioneering effort by the ATP is very important for future sports marketers. The major sports leagues should follow this initiative as it could prove very important for increasing fan engagement.  It gives the consumer a whole new perspective on the game and gives them an incentive for coming to the game.  This particular strategy is a good one because PSVR was voted one of the top inventions of 2016 by Time Magazine, so it will no doubt become a very popular and recognizable product by consumers.  This is yet another reason for marketers to consider utilizing the technology in their live sports events.

Take a look at the video below for more on PlayStation VR from GameSpot’s YouTube page.