Sports Technology News

Tech Startup Seeks to Gamify Advertising

Over the last few decades, advertising budgets in professional sports have skyrocketed. Brands now own naming rights for stadiums and arenas, and those rights don’t come cheap. Because of the high cost of these premium sponsorships, companies want to feel comfortable about getting a return on their investment.

They want to bring in more revenue from billboards, scoreboards, and other ad sources. However, they also want to do it more effectively. They need to be able to justify their expenses. One Israeli startup seeks to solve this problem for major advertisers in professional sports. They’re looking to gamify advertising.

Bridging the Gap with Mobile Games

NGAGE Sports, founded in 2016, will attempt to bridge the gap between fans and sponsors. One way they will do this is by offering in-game mobile tournaments during breaks in the action. In an interview with Globes, an Israeli business newspaper, CEO and co-founder Avi François Polak said, “Sponsors have a problem. They do not have enough relevant information about sports fans. We enable individual engagement with fans before, during, and after the season.”

During the game, the team will invite fans to play a simple mobile game in the form of a mini-tournament. The winner will then receive a prize at mid-court. Teams can offer other contests in the offseason to keep the fans more connected.

One way that NGAGE proves its innovation is by allowing advertisers to target different demographics and tailor their call-to-action. They do this by requiring the fans to connect with a social media account. Representing NGAGE, Steve Stein said, “We collect only public information from various internal sources and provide insights into that data for the sponsors and teams as a means of monetizing the fan data.”

In a pilot program with the Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club, NGAGE had surprising results that served as a proof-of-concept for future partners. The level of fan involvement with the sponsors rose from 4-6% without the technology to 18-20% with the technology. Even more encouraging for NGAGE and its customers is that the advertiser accomplished this increase without having to invest in more advertising.

Their short-term goal is to integrate ten teams into their platform over the next six months.

How Advertisers Measure Their Return

By offering discount vouchers to the fans who play the game, the sponsors now have a metric to properly gauge the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. They can also justify those all-important advertising budgets. When fans play the game, the number of users measures involvement in the overall fan experience. As the fans use their voucher for a discounted meal or merchandise, the sponsors realize what kind of return their investment actually offers them.

Putting their money where their mouth is, NGAGE guarantees their product. Stein pledged if the team can’t, “create double-digit engagement in the stadium…then they do not pay a fee for that month and can continue using the platform free of charge for that month.”

In the end, fans stay more involved in team activities. Sponsors know when fans respond to their message, and teams continue to provide another way for fans to enjoy their game-time experience. With that said, NGAGE looks to be ground-breaking. Stein added, “We are not limited to game-day, the venue or to any channel. At this point, we truly stand alone.”