This should be an interesting test of fan behavior at the ballpark: the Minnesota Twins are implementing a massive augmented reality platform, ARound, billed as the first-of-its-kind stadium-level experience combining tech and marketing.
According to a Twins press release, ARound “keeps audiences engaged by capturing their attention during game downtime through immersive, interactive and shared experiences with fellow fans across the venue.”
Using their smartphones, fans will access localized content to individual users throughout the venue, enabling Target Field’s game attendees to see the same real-time 3D effects and participate in the same shared experiences. Using the ARound app, fans point their smartphone at the field to open a series of multi-user AR games such as BatterUp, Blockbuster and Fishing Frenzy, designed to be played by interfacing with the physical ballpark and fellow fans in real time.
“We’re excited to introduce our fans to this never-before-seen technology as we continue to evolve and enhance the Target Field experience,” said Minnesota Twins Senior Director, Brand Experience & Innovation Chris Iles via press release. “Part multi-player video game, part augmented reality, with the ability for future expansion into an interactive next-gen stats platform, we believe what we’ve built with ARound will provide fans a next-level experience available only at Target Field.”
“Current AR platforms isolate users in singular experiences. ARound believes massive, multi-user AR enables a host of creative opportunities to redefine what it means to be part of a connected fan experience,” said ARound Founder and CEO Josh Beatty. “Be it a player, a mascot, a brand, a play or even another fan, ARound captures people’s attentions and brings them closer to what’s right in front of them – during times they might otherwise be unengaged and on their phones – turning distraction to interaction and enhancing their overall experience.”
The real-time content is led by action on the field, such as after homeruns, mascot races, or when the Twins take the field. During natural downtime, users can compete against their friends or fans in other sections to see who can knock down the most virtual blocks in the real-life outfield by throwing virtual baseballs or hot dogs at the structure.
“Shared augmented reality is the next frontier that sports teams, brands and other organizations should adopt as they look for ways to engage their audiences,” said Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn. “At Stagwell, we don’t just talk about the next frontiers of marketing and technology – we build them, and support founders through their growth.” (The name Mark Penn might be familiar to those in and out of tech: for those of a certain age, Penn is former pollster to former President Bill Clinton who followed up a political career first by joining Microsoft and then launching private-equity firm Stagwell.) ARound is part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a proprietary suite of SaaS and DaaS tools built for the in-house marketer.