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Minnesota Twins Launches First Shared AR App for Live Sports That Opens Door to Land Grab Sponsorship

By August 23, 2022Sports app

He flew largely under the radar on Monday when the Minnesota Twins announced they had launched AR
ound – believed to be the first shared augmented reality app for live sports – for use at Target Field. Although a first, the pilot application could open the door to either traditional value-added sponsorship deals or new sponsors. If the app gains traction, it could create a land rush not just for the other 29 Major League Baseball clubs, but for the entire sports real estate landscape.

ARound is part of Stagwell, a publicly traded tech company, which will allow fans to point their phones at Target Field during lulls in the action and play games with others at the stadium. Aimed largely at younger audiences, the concept isn’t too dissimilar to the augmented reality games you might have seen in theaters ahead of previews as part of Noovie. The difference here is that it’s not a single user, but multiple users in Target Field. Apps that will be made available include BatterUp, Blockbuster, which the Twins and developers showed me as users throwing digital objects at towers and knocking them over, and a game called Fishing Frenzy. Josh Beatty, ARound’s Founder and CEO, along with Chris Iles, The Twins’ Senior Director of Brand Experience and Innovation, told me about the rollout that’s been underway for just over a year.

“What I think Josh has built has real power and real legs because he’s able to be aware of everyone around you using the app at the same time, creating a shared experience and creating context around an event that frankly has never been done before,” Ilse said. So it got me and the Twins excited like it had never been done before.

Beatty informed that no user data is collected. No one goes through a registration process to use the app. And that the infrastructure is large enough to support tens of thousands of users.

What makes you think? Besides entertaining kids with games and keeping them seated, what other value does the app have from a business perspective?

On the one hand, the idea that other types of use cases could be created within the platform. Both Iles and Beatty mentioned that it’s possible to create an experience where player stats could hover over a player in real time or other ways to engage the dedicated baseball fan in attendance.

But what seems most intriguing from a business perspective is that while the initial rollout is designed as just gameplay for a younger demo, it’s quite capable of getting games stripped down. in a way that monetizes it.

Ilse and the twins see the platform as a way to connect more closely with people and places. “One thing we realized is that you kind of have to have a large audience for that to happen,” Iles said, adding that the Twins were receptive from the first conversation, understanding that he is a technology that has its place as added value. to the baseball stadium experience.

“To the teams, the fans and the sponsors,” he adds to Sports Entertainment.

This is where Twins can touch on something that’s more than just an addition to the gaming experience, but opens up new avenues to the bottom line: sponsors.

The initial rollout is not associated with any sponsor, but Beatty said the design of the apps for the Twins took this into account.

“I would say [the platform] is tailor-made for sponsorship,” Iles said. “We are launching this sponsor agnostic because we want to have a clean test of the technology to see how fans interact with it. is and let potential sponsors see it the same way. So we have to prove this thing. But we think it will work well for our sponsors.

It’s likely that an AR app shared at the ballpark won’t yield huge returns in the sponsorship space initially. But it largely depends on other applications that will be developed in the future. It either becomes an additional way to activate the sponsorship as part of a larger transaction for a client or attracts new sponsors. Either way, the Twins are enjoying an untapped revenue stream.

For Stagwell, technology is not limited to the ballpark. After all, games can be watched via traditional television and streaming.

“Not only are we looking to improve the in-stadium experience, but through our technology we can also connect it to the home viewer,” said Sarah Arvizo of Stagwell. “We can bring everything that happens with the AR platform in the stadium to their coffee table. And so while they’re watching a game, they can have that energy and that excitement that’s in the stadium, but take that with them wherever they go.