The Metaverse Opportunity For Sports Brand Owners and Rights Holders


The Metaverse is completely revolutionising a wide range of industries, especially sports. Utilising the Metaverse and Web3 will help you create rich experiences to increase fan engagement, access new markets and build advocacy for your sports brand. Understanding how the Metaverse and Web3 presents sports brand owners and rights holders with new and exciting opportunities is critical, as you can gain a powerful edge over your competitors in the sports industry.

Crucially as the Metaverse grows in popularity with the younger Gen Z and Gen Alpha groups and their buying power and the way they interact with technology becomes mainstream and matured, the financial opportunities that this offers for brand owners and rights holders grows. These emerging technologies and virtual spaces can be leveraged to your businesses advantage. You can increase fans, advocates, contacts, sales, create new opportunities for marketing, and rent or sell virtual events and space too.

What is Web3, virtual reality and the Metaverse?

Virtual Reality, or VR as it is known, is the process and experience of entering a digital immersive space like the Metaverse, that exists beyond the physical World, it often involves the wearing of a headset to create a visual field of an immersive non-physical environment. This idea of combining digital and physical realities where people can live immersive experiences and spend more of their leisure and entertainment time, is a concept that has been around for 3 decades. However it is only now that the technology has become more mainstream and affordable.

The Metaverse then is an example of a virtual reality environment that allows users to access and interact with digital assets, although VR headset technology is not necessarily needed to access the Metaverse, it can be. It has become a shared term for the layer that sits on top of our physical World and is providing an exciting virtual space for the creativity and ingenuity of those who play there. Web3 is the next step from the current Web2 experience we all understand, that houses the current Internet and provides access to social channels like Facebook for example. Crucially Web3 as a platform, has allowed for the decoupling and decentralisation from the control of traditional giant media and tech companies. Web3 is providing users a democratisation of web space.

The Exciting Opportunity of Metaverse and Web3

For sports brand owners and rights holders, the Metaverse is a new frontier. It provides them with an opportunity to extend their reach beyond the traditional stadium environment, or traditional television or radio. For example Old Trafford Stadium has a capacity of just under 75,000, however according to global market research agency Kantar, Manchester United have a follower base of 1.1 billion globally who could access a live, virtual stadium experience from anywhere in the World. The main opportunities and benefits for your sports brand can be summarised as:

New Opportunity For Fan Engagement

Metaverse technology provides sports brands with an opportunity to create experiences that are not only new but also unique and exciting. These virtual reality environments allow fans to experience their favourite sports teams, or athletes, in a way that is more immersive and interactive than before. Brand owners and rights holders can tap into this market opportunity by developing games, apps, tokens and other content for fans to consume. Additionally, live events, merchandise sales, and more can be conducted in the Metaverse. This provides a unique platform for businesses and brand and rights holders to market their products and services to a global audience.

By leveraging virtual reality and augmented reality technology, you can deliver unique experiences that are hard to replicate in reality. AR/VR technology allows fans to interact with teams, players, and other sports enthusiasts in new and exciting ways. For example, by placing teams and players in different locations, viewers can experience the game from an unprecedented perspective. By mixing virtual reality with real World images and sounds, sports brand owners can create Worlds that are truly unique. This will not only keep fans entertained, but also build stronger relationships with them.

New Audiences and Global Reach

The Metaverse is borderless as it is by its nature virtual so in this sense fans from across the planet can not only engage with your brand, but they can also meet with and share experiences with other fans more easily. This technology can be used not only at home but also outside, on the move and socially and interactively. It is allowing people to connect with other sports fans and people from across the globe. It is allowing them to feel like they're right there on the field, or court for example.

Building Advocacy and Trust

Virtual reality can be used to create exclusive content and experiences for fans that are not possible in reality. This builds trust and creates a deeper connection between the brand and its audience. In addition to this, by offering exclusive experiences through the Metaverse, sports brands can create a sense of exclusivity and loyalty in their fan base. This can be done through effective and original content, engaging with fans on various platforms, and maintaining a high level of quality. Being ‘first to market’ in this exciting space will also grow advocacy and credibility with the younger demographic and create buzz in this demographic that encourages others to investigate and engage. This can be coupled with existing brand communication channels such as Social Media, PR and Content to keep fans entertained and advocates. Additionally, selling brand merchandise through the Metaverse is an exciting prospect to further monetise the channel.

Alternative To Traditional Market Costs & Limitations

By leveraging the Metaverse, sports brand owners and rights holders can reduce costs associated with traditional marketing methods and develop new products, services, and experiences for their customers. Right holders can avoid expensive above the line television, radio and press advertising costs, or digital AdSpend with Google or Facebook for example. The marketing is built around interaction with fans and athletes too, so the experience is more immersive and engaging, as opposed to simply driving awareness through message repetition, or placement.

Safer Transactions and More Secure Data

Web3 and the Metaverse has the ability to help brands monetise their content through advertising and sponsorship opportunities. As a result, the Metaverse has the potential to revolutionise the sports industry by providing a platform for better communication and data tracking between brands and their fans. Furthermore, whilst the Metaverse can be accessed via Web2 or Web3, transactions purely in Web3 are secure and personal and financial data is always safe. This is one of the huge advantages of Web3. There is also a potential cost saving too, where third parties like banks, payment gateways, agents and middlemen can be avoided. Complications created by personal data security can be fully managed and avoided, which can be costly in Web2 for example.

Exclusive, Unique, Creative and Engaging Content

Releasing exclusive content, using the Metaverse to connect with fans can give huge standout for your brand and grow advocacy with the fan base. The Metaverse is a great platform for brands and athletes to interact with each other for example. It allows fans to track athlete data in real-time, which makes it a valuable tool for marketing purposes too of course. Furthermore by tracking how often a fan interacts with a particular post, video, set of statistics or attendance of a virtual event it can help brands create more engaging content and improve their relationship with their fans.

Protecting Your Sports Rights and Brand

SM22 work with sports and media brand owners and rights holders to create strategies that help them to reach new audiences, develop new engagement tools and open up new opportunities. We work to protect their valuable intellectual property from unauthorised use, we enable them to manage user content, and then open them up to a new market opportunity in this new exciting space.

If you are ready to find out more about VR, Web3 and the Metaverse opportunities then please contact one of the SM22 team. We are already trusted by media and sports brands and rights holders in your space that use our services and expertise to take full advantage of these exciting emerging technologies.