- The Los Angeles Chargers last month released an updated mobile app to provide fans with livestreamed games and real-time information about the NFL team. Created with software developer YinzCam, the app also offers podcast content, game highlights, video interviews and daily news updates, according to a press announcement.
- Chargers fans can personalize the app to highlight content on the home screen of an iOS or Android device. They also can change their smartphone wallpaper to show a Chargers player with a jersey emblazoned with the "Bolt Up" slogan and pick a customized app icon.
- The team plans to add features such as discounts for season ticket members at SoFi Stadium and an augmented reality (AR) portal that lets fans immerse themselves in a virtual view of the playing field. The focus on digital experiences show how sports teams and marketers could be tweaking their strategies to account for a lack of in-person events during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chargers' new mobile app was partly designed to supplement the in-stadium experience, but the pandemic has disrupted those plans. It's not clear when fans will be allowed to attend games at SoFi Stadium, a state-of-the-art venue that hosted a virtual opening ceremony last month. When fans are able to attend games, they can use the app for directions to the stadium, parking information, an interactive seating map and mobile ticket management provided by Ticketmaster, per the announcement.
Without the in-stadium experience, the updated Chargers app may have an even more significant role in connecting fans with the team. The app provides the game telecasts in markets where they're available, along with news and information that hardcore followers seek about the team and its players. The Chargers can help to deepen those ties by providing more immersive experiences, such as the upcoming AR portal that can only be accessed through a mobile device.
The limitations on attendance have pushed the NFL, teams and sponsors to invest more heavily in digital media content to engage with homebound fans. Among the more recent examples, Bud Light this season is installing a "Showtime Cam" in stadiums to provide an interactive gateway between players and fans on social media. The beer brand ran a sweepstakes on Twitter to give fans a chance to participate in the campaign, seeking to engage them outside the stadium.
Verizon Media last month introduced digital experiences to immerse fans in live content, such as its "watch together" feature that lets people co-view a livestream of games on their smartphones. These digital experiences are a sign of how the pandemic has disrupted the fan experience and the marketing plans for sponsors — something that's likely to have a lasting effect on future campaigns.