LEARFIELD AND STRIVR CHANGING THE VIRTUAL GAME IN COLLEGE SPORTS
Virtual Reality Industry Leader to Become Collegiate Marketer’s Official VR Partner
PLANO, Texas and MENLO PARK, Calif. – Learfield and STRIVR Labs usher in the new year by unveiling today a first-of-its-kind partnership designed to provide multi-platform virtual reality (VR) distribution within the collegiate sports landscape.
Learfield, which manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, will partner with STRIVR – the leader in creating unique and engaging VR experiences for sports – to create VR experiences at scale and engage the nation’s passionate and loyal collegiate fan bases. Effective immediately, Learfield will refer to STRIVR as its “Official VR Partner” upon introduction to its portfolio of school and corporate partners. The relationship also will provide Learfield’s university partners VR solutions beyond the athletic fields, to include general university marketing, classroom tech and campus development.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership with Learfield,” said Derek Belch, co-founder and CEO of STRIVR, which currently holds relationships with more than a dozen universities including Stanford, Texas Tech and Cal. “Learfield intimately understands the many facets of our business and how STRIVR can benefit universities and brand partners. We’ve seen VR thrive across university athletic programs, from performance training to marketing and fan experiences. I expect to see some outstanding, fast results in a number of different areas.”
Belch added, “Our relationship with Learfield will now make the opportunity to provide content at scale a real possibility–something for which the VR community has been anxiously waiting.”
The STRIVR-Learfield alignment will allow universities and corporate partners to take advantage of the powerful engagement of VR through experiential and branded content. Over the past two years, STRIVR has worked with dozens of brands and sports organizations to create unique VR experiences including ABC, Pepsi, Visa, Lowe’s, the Chicago Bears, Boston Red Sox, PGA TOUR and US Soccer. STRIVR’s work has ranged from full interactive VR sports experiences to behind-the-scenes access. The company has also used a wide-range of VR devices, from high-powered VR headsets (e.g. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) to YouTube and Facebook 360 video. Companies looking to engage with the tens of millions of collegiate sports fans across the Learfield ecosystem can now reach this core audience segment with the impactful, memorable moments that VR provides.
“Without a doubt, we know our partnership with STRIVR will be a true differentiator–one that will create the uniquely personal touch of immersive experiences that brands want in building deeper connections and adding maximum value and engagement with their core consumers, but also provide the reach of traditional digital media,” said Scott Carlis, Learfield Senior Vice President, Digital Media. “Our university relationships provide us the opportunity to bring scale to the amazing medium of VR, with a proven leader in the space already doing exceptional work in collegiate and professional sports. We have tremendous respect for Derek and his team as STRIVR not only creates brilliant best-in-show fan content and videos to the most desirable consumer audience in the marketing world–passionate, highly influential and tech-savvy collegiate-sports fans–but they also seek out partnerships with the foremost hardware companies like Samsung, Google, HTC and Oculus to ensure universities reach as broad of an audience as possible.”
Additionally, Learfield and STRIVR will focus on metrics and data to provide partners the best view into the effectiveness of their VR campaigns. STRIVR’s data platform will generate insights based on user behavior and engagement within VR environments, insights that are unique to the medium and useful for brands.
“Virtual reality is arguably one of the most powerful enabling technologies to ever hit the market, and one that has generated an immense amount of interest and fanfare,” said Learfield Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Andy Rawlings. “We’ve been diligently vetting potential VR partners to assist our university and brand partners in building these immersive fan-consumer experiences, and believe we’ve hit a home run with STRIVR.”
Founded in 2015, STRIVR Labs is the world leader in using virtual reality (VR) to train individuals and provide cutting-edge consumer experiences. STRIVR is used by the world’s top organizations including professional sports teams and Fortune 100 companies. STRIVR has worked with teams across the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, MLS as well as the PGA Tour, US Soccer, and the US Ski Team for performance training and branded content/fan experience.
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. It manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.