- StubHub, the ticket marketplace owned by eBay, plans to add an augmented reality (AR) feature to the Apple version of its StubHub app next week for Super Bowl ticket buyers, according to a press release. The iPhone app's "immersive view" will show a 3-D view of the game venue in Minneapolis, which will host the National Football League's championship game on Feb. 4. The new capabilities are highlighted in a broader campaign from StubHub for the Super Bowl and featuring Maria Menounos.
- Super Bowl attendees who select the special ticket shopping experience on the StubHub app can point their mobile device at an open surface to view a 3-D rendering of the stadium. The app lets them toggle between the stadium and surrounding area, exploring parking lots and the blue and green Metro lines for wayfinding.
- The app also shows StubHub's ticket pickup location and the brand's pre-Super Bowl party, "StubHub Live: The Field House." When users tap on a location within the AR experience, additional information such as street address and event start time appear. The immersive view was built with ARKit and is available on iOS 11.
This year's Super Bowl could be especially important for AR, the technology that overlays digital images against a real background seen through a smartphone screen, as the tech really hit the mainstream last year with new features from brands from a variety of industries. Getting the tech in front of the Super Bowl's wide audience could help expose more consumers to how it works. The Super Bowl is the most-watched event of the year in the U.S., making it a key platform for brands that want to build awareness and kick off fresh marketing campaigns to reach a massive audience.
StubHub's use of AR shows how the technology can be applied beyond gaming and home decor to provide added-value for mobile users purchasing tickets to a live event. If the activation is a success, AR-based services could be added for additional venues.
Apple and Google last year introduced software development kits (SDKs) to give app designers the tools needed to add AR features to their apps, making the immersive features more accessible to smaller brands with less resources and bandwidth. Professional sports teams and stadiums have gradually added AR features to their apps as they invest in mobile features in stadiums to appeal to fans who don't leave home without a smartphone.
As mobile app developer Yalantis explains in a blog, sports fans are embracing mobile technology to stay connected with their teams and to share their experiences among communities of enthusiasts. Sports apps in general promote team spirit, provide instant news updates and can be used to create tailored content based on an individual fan's preferences to enhance the viewing experience.
While game attendance overall appears strong, TV ratings for the NFL are down 10% this season compared to the prior season, according to Nielsen data cited by the Los Angeles Times. That follows an 8% drop a year earlier, compounding the massive decline in viewership. In an attempt to deepen engagement with loyal football fans both at games and at home, NFL teams and the organization as a whole have enlisted mobile tech in fresh ways by deploying new features via AR, Snapchat, original programming on social media and real-time, in-stadium engagement in recent months.
Teams including the Detroit Lions are making mobile services a key part of attending games by adding services like food ordering to their apps. The Lions and StubHub are among the organizations that are including mobile platforms into the experience of attending live games to appeal to a younger group of loyal, tech-savvy fans.