Virtual Reality is the Next Fundraising Asset

June 22nd, 2017 | by CollegeAD
Virtual Reality is the Next Fundraising Asset

Virtual Reality is all the rage. The College Football Playoff has embraced it. The NBA, and MLB have too. But what is VR, and why are you missing out?

Virtual Reality is often thought of as a new way to experience a ball game or event. The immersive experience allows users to go places they could only have dreamed of before from the comfort of their home without the travel expenses. Whether it’s in the locker room to hear coach deliver the pregame speech or running out of the smoke filled tunnel, VR is delivering new and exciting experiences to users like never before.

Once expensive and exclusive, the rapid innovation of technology has made VR more affordable and accessible than ever. In 2014, Facebook spent $2 billion to purchase its way into the VR field, and next year $5.2 billion is expected to be spent by consumers on the technology.

The impact of VR will be massive in the near future, and in the sports world it will go much further than just in game experiences. Virtual reality has the ability to be a game changer for athletic departments, helping generate revenue and selling alumni and donors on the latest capital projects.

“With virtual reality, you’re now able to tell the story of your brand to recruits, fans, donors and alumni regardless of wherever they are in the world and make them feel immersed in the experience” says Ashley DeWalt, CEO of LVRG Sports, a Houston based digital marketing company specializing in VR experiences for sports brands. “VR can be used in showing your facilities that already exist; it can even be used to show spaces that haven’t been built to build excitement among your key stakeholders. Rendering and concepts of these facilities can be transformed into VR to generate donor support, in addition to potential donors being able to view their seat in a newly proposed football stadium, with all these type of VR experiences being sent with the click of a button, ultimately increasing engagement and support.  

virtual reality

By using VR, development staff and fundraisers can take a donor inside the new stadium or let them experience the big game from their new end zone luxury box, all before construction ever begins. Immersing a donor, alumni, or fan can create an experience that is just not available with traditional video. Research shows clients are 27% more emotionally engaged with VR versus 2D and stay emotionally engaged 34% longer.

“With VR you can create an immersive experience that can’t be replicated with 2D and 360-degree video” DeWalt added. “It’s important for college and universities to take advantage of this technology now because it will be something that stakeholders expect sooner than later.”

In addition to creating a one-of-a-kind experience for alumni, fans, and donors to show off what their dollars are helping build, VR can also be used show to off advertising real estate to a potential partner. Through state-of-the-art computer modeling and virtual reality technology, DeWalt noted the ability to show off assets like naming rights to your stadium, giving a potential partner the true feel of how their name will look after the ink is dry.

As VR experiences continue to get better and technology becomes more available, there is no reason every athletic department should not harness the power of virtual reality to improve the way fans experience every aspect of the department. From recruiting and fundraising, to once in a lifetime game day experience, VR has the ability to take an athletic department to new heights.

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