The metaverse offers a “whole new area to explore” for sports clubs, according to Leinster Rugby.
The team yesterday announced its first foray into the digital world that lets people work, collaborate and meet friends through virtual reality.
The club is working with innovation partner Bearing Point on the new venture which aims to engage with fans through immersive experiences and explore the wider commercial possibilities on offer.
At the launch, Newstalk Technology Correspondent Jess Kelly spoke to the club’s Head of Commercial Marketing Kevin Quinn to find out what it’s all about.
“We see it as being a whole new area to really explore and see what the opportunities are with the metaverse,” he said.
“We see much more mature or bigger sports brands and franchises - the likes of Barcelona, Man City, Adidas and Nike - all making big investments in the metaverse both for commercial opportunities and to engage in a different way with a new audience.
“So, for Leinster Rugby as a smaller sports franchise, I think it is really important that we dabble in this area – and it is a dabble.
“We are hugely lucky we have a partnership for the last number of years with Bearing Point and they have really taken us by the hand and allowed us to put our toe in the virtual water for the first time today.”
Mr Quinn said the pandemic accelerated al things digital – including the use of virtual reality as a meeting point.
He said larger brands saw a year’s growth in e-commerce for every month of the pandemic – and Leinster Rugby is determined to stay ahead of the curve.
“The actual demographic of people using e-commerce changed every month where older people, who normally would go into the shops and try something on, were saying, actually, I’ll just buy online because I need it and I can’t get it anywhere else.
“So, they got used to that in terms of their habits changing so that’s another reason for us to be interested the metaverse.
“As people’s habits change, you get that older demographic more interested in things like headsets and, I think, crucially that younger demographic as well.
“So, my children, if they’re playing on Fortnite or something and they’re used to interacting with brands or buying new clothes for their avatars then that e-commerce model is definitely going to come with them as they get older, and Leinster Rugby needs to be playing in that space too.”
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