Never before has an athlete connected with his or her fanbase through virtual reality. Well, that all changed when PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler took the leap in 2017.
Success Co. CEO, Anthony Puntoriero approached Fowler’s team about creating a virtual reality coaching series around Fowler’s game. The 29-year-old golfer obliged and Success Series was born.
Over the past few years, we have seen athletes become more engaged with their fanbases, almost exclusively through social media. And while that medium is far from extinct, the newest medium – virtual reality – is quickly becoming mainstream.
Fans of every sport want two things…1.) to see their favorite team win and 2.) to feel more connected to their favorite athletes.
Professional athletes know they can make a person’s day by simply responding to them on Twitter, liking a picture posted on Instagram, or taking a selfie.
Virtual reality allows fans to experience the thrill of meeting their favorite athletes from the comfort of their own home. We have already witnessed through Fowler’s Success Series that an athlete can connect with fans and at the same time, leave them with some advice that they can apply to sports or life in general.
Fowler is the perfect athlete to set the bar with when it comes to engaging with fans via virtual reality.
“Rickie Fowler is the most popular athlete on the PGA Tour,” said Mike Holder, OSU’s Athletic Director. “I think you can make a case [he’s the most popular] in all of sports.
“He gets it. He’s just a genuinely nice person and everyone is drawn to him, he’s like a magnet – especially with little kids. Really they probably haven’t been anyone since Arnold Palmer who really got it, and understood it. And had that kind of charisma that attracts a younger crowd.”
In about 10 years, we will all look back on Fowler’s Success Series as a bar set for athletes who are looking to take advantage of virtual – and augmented – reality.
Sure, professional athletes will still utilize social media, but virtual reality will prove to be a more captivating experience which will make fans hungry for continuous content.
VR opens a door for brands to communicate with their audiences through the athletes they endorse. Just like social media, sponsors will have an option to create their own VR content or sponsor an athlete’s content that has already been created.
It is surprising that more athletes have not taken advantage of virtual reality, given all the benefits and possibilities this new medium carries. But one thing is certain…
Fowler’s Success Series will be the reference point for athletes looking to reach fans in VR.