Hyundai Motor America has given new meaning to crunch time.
Hyundai, an official sponsor of the NFL, showed an incredible commitment to supporting United States troops during the Super Bowl when the Korean car company was able to bring an emotional surprise to three soldiers.
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While millions tuned in to watch the big game, Hyundai director Peter Berg and marketing partner INNOCEAN Worldwide Americas were hard at work filming, producing, and editing a 90-second documentary as a part of Hyundai’s Operation Better Campaign.
With the help of satellite and 360-degree technology, U.S. soldiers were able to experience Super Bowl LI by being virtually transported to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas via “immersive pods.”
The chosen troops were able to sit beside and interact with their loved ones while watching the big game.
In the stadium, military wives, husbands, and children of the soldiers had a “huggable, high-tech” teddy bear with a screen for two-way communication.
Leading up to the documentary, Hyundai produced two 30-second teasers with NFL Hall of Famers, Joe Montana and Mike Singletary to excite and encourage fans at home to stick around for the final product.
Hyundai’s gesture of kindness to honor U.S. troops highlights just another way that fans consume and experience sports.
Moreover, Hyundai’s ‘Operation Better’ begs the question: How will virtual reality continue to develop with fans and sports consumption?
Forget satellite cable and buying a ticket to the big game. One day, perhaps all the average consumer will have to do is buy a subscription for a virtual seat.
With technology similar to those used in the Hyundai commercial, virtual reality companies could buy a single seat in a stadium and sell a virtual reality experience to thousands.
In an effort to stay ahead of the trends, stadiums, and teams could be advertising a new “virtual reality” season ticket package in the near future.
Now practically speaking, can it really beat the game day experience? Will there be tailgating packages or concession stand offers? Perhaps a virtual “game day” reality is just a piece of fool’s gold in the pan of sports innovators as they search for the future of sports consumer practices.
Regardless, Hyundai has opened the door to virtual reality and sports consumption.
Student Bio: Hope Allen is a senior at Old Dominion University and is set to graduate with a Communication degree in May of 2017. Allen is continuing her education as a master’s student at Georgetown University in the Fall of 2017 and hopes to eventually work with the NHL or Professional Rugby.