The NBA has taken a bold new step in bringing more of the live game/courtside experience to their global audience, all through the use of Virtual Reality Broadcasts.
The league announced on Thursday, October 20th that it will begin broadcasting one game a week during their 2016-2017 season in Virtual Reality as part of its NBA League Pass.
What makes this new move particularly exciting is that beyond bringing more of the the Live Game/Courtside experience to people who may not physically be able to attend the games in person, virtual reality broadcasts open up a whole new range of opportunities to incorporate brands into the game.
The Perfect Marketing Vehicle
According to the NBA, the planned Virtual Reality Broadcasts, done in partnership with NextVR, “will be fully produced with dedicated announcers, multiple unmanned camera angles and optimized graphics. Game breaks will be filled with in-venue entertainment, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary.”
All of these new features present fresh new opportunities for advertisers to market within the new virtual world.
Virtual Reality Broadcasts = Captive Audience
Virtual Reality Broadcasts, by their very nature, present the ultimate vehicle for digital marketing. With all the opportunities for advertisement already being used in sports marketing, this new VR offering presents a great option to expand campaigns into whole new areas of engagement.
Key reasons are that Virtual Reality broadcasts not only guarantee that advertisers have a captive audience throughout the entire experience – they also open up a wide range of new ways to engage the individual viewer. Sights, sounds, “atmospheres” and even how the overall landscape reacts and changes based on the motion of the VR viewer are all available. This presents a whole new palette of creative options, which innovative advertisers can leverage to make sure their ads differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack, have bigger impact and become truly memorable.
Virtual Reality Campaigns Done Right
To complement this blog post, I’d like to share with you a great video from Virtual Reality developers MBryonic showing 10 awesome examples of VR marketing campaigns.
Get a Free Preview
The first VR game will be available for free – as part of the NBA LEAGUE PASS free trial period – on Thursday October 27, 2016 when the Sacramento Kings host the San Antonio Spurs at the Golden 1 Center. The full schedule will be announced later this month.
Fans with a Samsung Gear VR headset and a compatible Samsung smartphone can experience the free preview by accessing the NBA Channel within the NextVR app. Later this season, the offering will be expanded to support additional VR headset options.
For more detailed instructions, go to http://www.NextVR.com/GetVR
As a digital marketer always looking for an edge in my marketing campaigns, I see VR as a great new addition to my arsenal and fully expect to implement Virtual Reality elements in future campaigns.
Although I admit that the mass market adoption of VR headsets is still in its early days and that the target audience for Virtual Reality is still very niche, I fully expect to see more and more brands jumping on the Virtual Reality train in 2017 and beyond.
What do YOU think? Are you planning or perhaps already using Virtual Reality in your marketing campaigns? Have you seen any VR marketing executions that blew your mind? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!