How AR could boost Manchester United’s commercial power
An augmented reality tech firm is tailoring the advertising around the pitch during TV football broadcasts to individual markets.
Supponor, based in London and Helsinki, Finland, superimposes virtual adverts on to the perimeter LED boards to serve local advertisers across the world. Its tech has been successfully deployed in Barcelona and Real Madrid away matches through its partner Mediapro as well as ice hockey’s NHL, American football’s NFL and Formula One.
It held a trial at a Premier League club throughout last season as well as every Bundesliga club as those leagues consider how to utilise the opportunity it offers.
Chief operating officer Charlie Marshall explained to BusinessCloud at the Soccerex convention in Manchester this week how the technology could benefit the big clubs.
“Take a big club like Manchester United. Their commercial strategy sees them doing increasing numbers of regional deals with local sponsorship brands,” he said.
“One of the first questions that sponsors ask a club like Manchester United is ‘can we be on the LED board? As our audience in Indonesia is watching the live game, can we have our brand inside Old Trafford?’
“The answer from the club is that they can’t because there is no more space on that LED system. There’s only 90 minutes in a game and they’re sold out. There’s no more inventory available.
“This system increases the amount of inventory and therefore the amount of selling that they can do.”
The regions receiving unique feeds of the Spanish giants’ away games include South and Central America, Mexico, North America (US and Canada), China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong), Asia (with a focus on Indonesia), sub-Sahara and Africa, Middle East/North Africa, Europe (outside Spain) and two domestic feeds in Spain itself.
The AR tech allows the virtual adverts to respond in real time to changes in the light or weather conditions, player movements and other environmental factors.
There is also an opportunity around sports highlights, Marshall says.
“We’re seeing an increasing amount of commercialisation of highlights on social channels, which can be more personalised and distributed in a more dynamic way that on a live TV signal,” he continued.
“A product like this, where you can replace the signage at a key moment and offer different brands the opportunity to associate themselves with it, is a real monetisation opportunity.”
BELOW: Flick through the Q2 2017 edition of BusinessCloud’s interactive digital magazine