Modern Fans Just Aren’t Entertained by the Main Event: Enter Brizi and the B. League

“If you build it, [they] will come.”

It’s the most iconic — and instantly quotable — line from 1989’s Field of Dreams, the famed fantasy baseball film that arguably became its generation’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s also a formula that has been applied (rather ingeniously) to the realm of live sports since the spectacle of the Colosseum in ancient Rome.

It goes a little something like this: raise the venue, welcome the competitors, let the elite action unfold and the fans will follow.

For centuries, it worked. Likewise, for centuries, a captivating contest and unobscured sightlines were really all that a viable in-venue experience demanded to keep fans flocking back. Of course, multistory video boards and premium seating have helped over the last several decades, as have additional entertainment features that encompass fireworks, monkeying around by mascots and the sort.

But improved home-viewing options are giving the twenty-first-century in-venue experience a run for its money. Credit superior camera angles. Credit the rise of AR and VR. Credit more and more multiplatform, multimedia participation.

That’s not all. According to a 2018 study by Deloitte, with the monetary cost and time commitment of venue attendance remaining so high, attendance itself has stagnated across many leagues. It’s even decreased in some cases, despite increasing revenues.

The findings of a 2019 investigation published by USA Today only go to support this. It focused on declining home attendance figures for MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams between 2008 and 2018, and the stats were startling. Some recorded an attendance drop as steep as 41.3% over the 10-year span.

This much is clear: in 2020 and beyond, merely ‘building it’ is not enough to make ‘them’ come.

To win the contemporary fans of today and keep them coming back tomorrow, sports and entertainment leaders behind venues of all varieties (from your average arena to awe-inspiring stadiums) need those fans to stay exhilarated and absorbed outside the limitations of the main event. Amplified audience engagement is the ticket. Headline attraction aside, it persuades fans to return to venues in the first place. It creates connections powerful enough to push them from their first game to a lifelong attachment. It compels them to continue spending tens of billions of dollars annually on their treasured teams.

Both atmosphere and excitement are critical to achieving the above. Japan’s professional men’s basketball league — formed in 2016 as a result of a merger between the National Basketball League (NBL) and the independently operated BJ league, and subsequently dubbed the B. League — is the latest to figure this out.

In anticipation of its championship game in January, chief sponsor Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. (SMEJ) collaborated with Brizi to satisfy B. League’s requirements for an upgraded in-venue experience, and the greater fan engagement that necessitates it.

Alongside its overall branding of the final, the Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation integrated Snoopy, the pet beagle of Charlie Brown from the beloved Peanuts comic strip, into Brizi’s individualized overlays. Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. had acquired a stake in the Peanuts franchise in 2018. And, owing to the combination of the Japanese people’s affinity for the Peanuts characters and SMEJ’s passion for fan-service enhancement linked up with Brizi’s capabilities.

Our results for the single event were immediate and tangible: 19% audience capture; over 220 photos captured in 30 minutes purely from in-game announcements; 175% of users shared their photos (meaning some chose to share more than once via other platforms). 91% of users further favoured one-to-one sharing (through the Line app) over public sharing, demonstrating a shift in expectations of modern sharing culture.

Beyond opening up new opportunities for increased interactivity and more measurable ROI, the Brizi-Sony collaboration further solidifies Brizi’s goal of penetrate global markets from a more thoughtful, strategic standpoint. After all, as indicated earlier, photo-taking is a significant part of Japanese culture. Especially at sporting events, where selfie-sticks are as ubiquitous at a local sumo basho as they are at a national J1 League football match.

It’s proof again that the in-venue experience at large not only continues to transcend what’s on the marquee, but that by moving their fans closer towards the cutting edge of innovation, Brizi is well-positioned to help partners optimize their audience engagement.

Brizi For You

Brizi goes wherever the audiences are. The guest experience is built to be a memorable one, and as such memorabilia is a proven standard implementation of the attendee experience. The collectable moments they can take home with them is a crucial part of the attendee journey, and this is mostly done through personal photo-taking and sharing. Beyond green screens, beyond hired photographers, giant faced selfies, missing a person in the picture, or trusting a stranger- all mostly inconvenient methods of the photo-taking experience- how involved are you in this crucial touchpoint?

Our sophisticated technology can adapt to any live environment, is easily installable, easy to use and can be used for every type of event. We’re your “easy-Brizi” solution.

Interested in how Brizi works for your environment? Head to the Brizi in Your Venue page to find out!

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Published by: Deloitte [2018]

These pro sports teams are running out of fans

Written by: Grant Suneson

Published by: USA Today [2019]