How sport is a community activity
Around the world, the lure of sport is irresistible. Tennis, soccer, cricket, baseball, basketball, soccer – we rally around the game that matters to us, in an enthusiastic and loyal fandom, and come out in droves to cheer on our favorite stars or sports teams. It really is a community activity.
We start watching games in our own groups – family, friends, school, local community and cheer on the team in our group, the one we feel most connected to, who feels like home. So when the fans cheer, in many ways they are also celebrating the community they feel they belong to in addition to those on the pitch or on the pitch.
I find this idea fascinating, especially as a brand owner. Because, like all brand stewards, my team and I are always looking to create a passionate sense of community around the brand we care for. That’s why it’s only natural that we wonder how we could reach a group of sports enthusiasts and make them develop their enthusiasm for their favorite sport to include Infosys as well.
We wondered how we could make them fans of our brand too. It was 2015. The year we first decided to go all out and win the hearts of tennis fans around the world for the Infosys brand.
But what could we offer that could capture hearts already captivated by Nadal sliding across red dirt and playing that odds-defying top-spin pass, or Djokovic’s magic in shrinking the field for his opponents? Our teams found the answer quite early. What we would do is extend those gripping fan moments with a little help from digital technology.
To think like we did, let’s go way back a decade to 2009.
Andy Roddick and Roger Federer fight in the fifth set of the Wimbledon final. In 2022 Wimbledon will have a final tiebreak but then, until the returner breaks the server and establishes a 2 game lead, the two would remain at loggerheads.
It was one of the most fascinating encounters in the history of the sport. Roger’s elegance matched Andy’s raw power. When Andy finally lost 16-14 in the fifth, he collapsed on the bench. The world collapsed with him. Tennis fans found themselves unable to opt out. They had invested 4 hours and 17 minutes of their emotions in this battle. They wanted more. They wanted closure that could only come from reliving the story behind the game and reading the how, what and if of that story.
But there was no way for them to find out anything. No essential destination to find out more. No 3D views of the pitch with ball placement diagrams that reveal player strategy. No race summaries to showcase strengths and weaknesses or rally analysis to see who performed best in long, short and medium rallies. These are the experience gaps that Infosys Match Center, with its incredibly thoughtful feature set, fills for tennis fans who have already digitally reached 75 million new fans.
Football and basketball have also upped the game when it comes to digital experiences. Take, for example, the English Premier League (EPL) half-time shows where commentators analyze how Mo Salah tiki-takas his way of breaking down defences. They use augmented reality and break down failures in defense formations to study what could have been better. They interrupt match moments, move players from their positions to where they could have been, all with the click of a button. This type of digital technology fulfills the dearest wishes of fans.
The NBA has always been a pioneer when it comes to sports technology. NBA Top Shot is a prime example of a digital collectibles market that’s taken the industry by storm, drawing even non-sports fans to the game. And of course, our own IPL saw a date with the metaverse with the Gujarat Titans using the metaverse to unveil their new team logo!
Bringing more to more fans, preserving heritage with 3D museums, building new fanbases through the metaverse and NFTs, and frankly just lots of digital freshness. In many ways, sports brands and organizations are taking advantage of digital to enrich the sports experience in very human ways. And it brings the sport closer to the fans and, of course, the fans to the brands that enable these experiences. A win-win if there ever was one in the world of competitive sports!
First post: STI