YinzCam, Cavaliers challenge in-stadium fans with AR app
- YinzCam and the Cavaliers have partnered on an AR app called Deep in the Q that allows fans to play against each other virtually during games at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, according to a press release. The app, which YinzCam reports is the first stand-alone AR app in the NBA, is available for iOS and Android devices.
- Using the app's built-in camera, Cavaliers fans can direct their smartphones at the scoreboard in the Quicken Loans Arena during timeouts and swipe their phones' screens to shoot virtual basketballs at an AR hoop hung from the scoreboard.
- Bud Light is sponsoring the app for fans 21 years and older who compete in their sections of the arena or as individuals to win prizes. Outside of the arena, users compare scores and rankings to their competitors by pointing the app at Cavs and Bud Light signage throughout Cleveland or at Bud Light cans and bottles. Animations and characters are unlocked in the app when specific achievements are reached.
Pokemon Go was a phenomenon that put AR on marketers' maps. By sending millions of players on hunts for Pokemon, it showed how AR can connect online and offline experiences. The new Deep in the Q app is a direct descendent of that type of marketing effort.
It’s incorporating physical landmarks and touchpoints into the infrastructure of its content to encourage users to not only engage with the app at home on their couches, but to venture into stores, where they could conceivably buy Bud Light, and to the Quicken Loans Arena to harness its full arsenal of features.
The Deep in the Q app is an outgrowth of a smaller-scale AR initiative between the Cavs and YinzCam last fall that enabled fans to scan a printed championship ring to recreate it virtually with the team's app for the season opener. They could then take screenshots of the virtual ring on their hands and share shots via social media. The AR ring activation and the subsequent Deep in the Q app invite NBA audiences to interact with the Cavs — and brand endorsers — outside and inside the parameters of the games.
AR efforts can deepen fans' connections to the team while affording the team and its partners greater insight on the ways in which fans interact with players and the club. But the AR app elements have to be highly compelling. If they're not, fans won’t download or continue to use an app that’s occupying time they could otherwise spend on elsewhere on their smartphones.
Worse yet, it could undermine the reputation of the team and the league as cool and cutting-edge, potentially impacting relationships with the millennial and Gen Z audiences they are trying to cultivate.