Cavs ARcade: How the Cleveland Cavaliers Engaged Fans for Over 14 Minutes During Game Breaks Through ARPosted on May 16, 2023 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE
By: Camryn Henry
Dear Faithful Readers,
Happy Wednesday! Today is a very busy, yet exciting day at the NSF with our Virtual Spring Summit. We have an incredible lineup of speakers and look forward to gaining great insight into the industry’s hottest topics.
Speaking of hot topics, this edition’s “Selling It…” features the Cleveland Cavaliers’ newest in-stadium experience: Cavs ARcade, a mass multi-user gaming experience. Read on to learn more about how they are creating these unforgettable fan interactions!
The in-stadium experience is a huge part of any live sporting event, and the way that teams are adapting to changing fan behaviors at the stadium plays a vital role in creating these exciting, unforgettable experiences. With many fans already using their mobile devices at games, the Cleveland Cavaliers thought what better way to keep fans engaged than to allow fans to use their phones to also stay connected and participate in a thrilling augmented reality experience. In partnership with ARound, the Cavaliers launched their newest in-stadium experience, Cavs ARcade, during the 2023 NBA playoffs. Through ARound Stadium, fans could download the app on iOS and Android devices and participate in a mass multi-user gaming experience and interact with others throughout the stadium. Fans that downloaded the app were prompted to enter their seat location and point their phone at the center of the court, where they could then enjoy a variety of interactive games and special effects right at their fingertips. Brandon Jirousek, Vice President of Digital & Web Services at the Cleveland Cavaliers, shared what makes this experience truly unique, he said, “Innovation has always been at our core. We’ve done iterations of AR and VR experiences in our building, but this was the first that presented a fully shared experience that fans could participate in at the same time.”
The AR Chain-Shot Contest was one of the key elements of this new experience. This skill-based challenge consisted of a chain hoop that displayed at center court on each fan’s device and encouraged fans to score as many baskets as they could during a specific time frame. Each fan that participated had the opportunity to win prizes, such as Cavs jerseys, autographed merch, team shop gift cards, and much more, depending on where they placed on the leaderboard. The Cavs ARcade was presented by Cleveland-Cliffs, the Cavaliers Jersey partner, who provided jerseys and other prizes to those fans who landed a spot on the leaderboard. Throughout the game, 3D versions of the Cavaliers’ mascots were also displayed on both the fans’ mobile device, as well as the video boards throughout Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The app also incorporated a shared experience, Wine and Gold ‘Landslide’, where fans could compete against one another from either the Wine or Gold team. All of the fans using the app could see avatars of those throughout the stadium that were also participating. Through these unique elements, fans were able to connect on a new level and socialize digitally with one another in a new, creative way.
When launching the Cavs ARcade, the team was looking for a new opportunity to engage their fans. “We understand that everything is amplified during the playoffs,” Brandon explained as he shared the team’s reasoning behind the time of launch. The team used the playoffs as an opportunity to test this new experience and prepare for their next season. Hoping to attract and retain the younger demographic long-term, the Cavaliers strive to stay at the forefront of innovation and introduce new experiences that fit the expectations of this younger, tech-driven demographic of fans. The team’s goals behind this initial launch of the Cavs ARcade were also progressive and forward-looking. They set out to learn how they could present other overlaid experiences, like this one, next season to all fans — including those not at the stadium.
The Cavaliers were the first NBA team to work with ARound, the augmented reality platform that focuses on creating shared experiences through AR at live, in-game sporting events. ARound has worked with other sports teams prior to their partnership with the Cavs, including the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Royals. The Cavaliers were familiar with ARound and had the opportunity to meet the team and learn more about their product this past January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Shortly after, they began discussing opportunities and potential ideas for the playoffs. The Cavs ARcade officially launched game 1 of the playoffs on Saturday, April 15th and was available to fans for a total of 5 games, including all home games and away game watch parties. Prior to January, the team had a few ideas in mind with regards to new experiences. After discussions with ARound, the Cavs knew what direction they wanted to take and focused their efforts on creating an extraordinary gameday experience unlike anything their fans had seen before.
As the playoffs wrapped up for the Cavs, the team analyzed and discovered some great results from the Cavs ARcade. They saw engagement of 14.5 minutes on average per user in the app. Over the 5 games, they also saw approximately 1,600 users and just shy of 2,000 total downloads. The team also found that 84% of the total app downloads were IOS driven, consistent with statistics they also see from the Cavs mobile application.
As the Cavaliers look ahead, they plan to continue building upon the ways they enhance the fan experience through technology, such as Cavs ARcade and their partnership with ARound. “We want to continue to explore new ways to enhance our fans’ interaction with the team on gameday and beyond,” Brandon explained as he shared the team’s vision for the upcoming season. The team hopes to introduce new elements that can also engage the fans that are watching the game from home. They look forward to implementing new ideas and creating unique experiences that fans won’t want to miss! Learn more about the Cavs ARcade at https://www.nba.com/cavaliers/arcade.
About the National Sports Forum
The National Sports Forum is one of the largest annual cross-gathering in North America of the top executives from leagues, teams, agencies, and properties in the sports industry, who come together and share ideas and best practices on Marketing, Business Development, Ticket Sales, Sponsorship, and Diversity & Inclusion. Visit www.sports-forum.com for more information.
The NSF Salutes Our Partner
Advent Creates Experiences That Move People. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Advent is an experience creation firm that has partnered with professional sport organizations, universities, and corporations across the country. Throughout its 23-year history, Advent has created branded experiences for the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, the University of Texas, the University of Oregon, UNC, Penn State, TCU, the PGA of America and many others. Advent’s brand design work is distinguished by a focus on storytelling and audience insight. Learn more at www.adventmovespeople.com