Meta- verse, Meta-sphere, does it even ‘meta’? See what I did there, ha. One thing is for sure, with the rebranding of Facebook, the meta-philosophy is gaining more attention. It was sometime back that a ‘virtual world’ was discussed, but there appears growing recognition and with technology evolving at pace, us marketers look for the next big thing.
So what is this meta-thing? And what could it mean for those of us involved with sport. I turn to the musings of somr respected ‘scholars’ to discover more facts.
Mara Kottke at Beyond The Match states: “Meta is seen as a “collective project created by people around the world and open to all.” Her same reporting comments: “Rights holders and brands can also use the metaverse and its precursors. Roblox, a platform where users can create and share their own games, is another prototype of the Metaverse. Football clubs such as Barcelona and Liverpool have already worked with Roblox: together they developed in-game content so that users could equip their avatars with jerseys and fan scarves. Since people by nature like to collect, the metaverse offers a “business-to-avatar” approach to showcase one’s own interests to others with items in the virtual world.” At this point we start to realize that meta-thingy is only limited by ones’ imagination. But monetisation or return on investment will be drivers to consider in our commercial activities, after all our careers are more than a gaming experience.
Yesterday, we spoke to a household name brand and blue chip company about its intentions. The response: “what is it?” tells us much. The rules of this game are yet to be established as the wonders of technological platforms are tested, but be sure of one thing, in one version or another, it is coming.
LaSource published a quote that: “Real-time 3D content— will account for almost half of all visual digital content by the end of the decade”. With a predicted three percent currently, this is somewhat a tsunami of change. But it doesn’t need to be an alternative from the norm for sports marketers, more added value and additional complementary opportunities where ‘virtual’ drives ‘real’ world behaviour and engagement. Fans merchandise can help personalize avatars, yet with currency income streams can follow. Noteable content can mimic desired out comes from traditional marketing spend. Early adopters of e-sports sponsorship included: Coca Cola, Red Bull and BMW. Teams and players have been beneficiaries of expenditure. Why not? It creates more channels and tactics to explore partnerships and collaborative, joined-up promotions.
The pandemic has been an accelerator. The potential echoed here: “Today, nearly every company has a webpage. And soon, they will all have a real-time presence in the metaverse.”
Manchester City is recruiting additional staff with a meta-focus. The job descriptions read as a terms of reference to other corporates that might be considering a first step in to the unknown. At ACROBAT FCSM, we are evaluating tactics, strategy and returns for brands in sportswear and a high-profile team.
This is all so exciting, but calculated risks will avoid wastage or another contribtuon to that failed fad corner.
LaSource shares other decisions: “In 2021, the NBA announced the creation of the “crossover event” with NBA outfit skins, tournaments, creative mode, personal players lockers, etc”
Early adopters included sports marketing giants like IMG which has signed deals with 23 football clubs globally to be part of the addiction that is Fortnite.
So Fortnite and other mega brands are at it. Facebook and Microsoft too. The philosophy that we are embarking towards is shared in this recent quote:
“Every brand will need a metaverse strategy in the future and the ones that have them now are at the forefront.”
Christina Wootton, Vice President, Brand Partnerships, Roblox
Sport Business recently predicted: “Indeed, if the expectations of Mark Zuckerberg et al materialise, the metaverse will revolutionise the way people consume sport and raise the bar for fan engagement to unprecedented heights.”
There in growing interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) across the digital world and could be catalyst to activations in the metaverse.
Adrian Stores is CEO at ACROBAT FCSM. More of a strategic consultancy, but with firm finger on the pulse of digital technologies in marketing. A specialist in the sports and leisure sectors with clients globally, it works with trusted partners to ensure maximum exposure on realistic budgets, delivering ROI.