Are sports fans ready for AR and VR?

Survey data has some good news for brands looking to tell stories in this space.

According to a June 2024 QuestDIY survey of 996 Americans, live sports fans are primed for how both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies can level up their experience. 

This opens up fresh terrain for advertisers and brands in this space, especially those looking for new and impactful ways to connect with likeminded consumers.

Let's take a quick run through the topline data.

Fans are open to AR and VR in general

58% of respondents said they've used some form of AR and VR tech before, in general—which could include things like gaming or arcades.

And 19% of respondents say they have already used some form of VR or AR in the context of a live sports event.

Exploring reservations around AR & VR tech

The most common roadblocks to AR and VR acceptance revolve around the idea that this mediated experience might detract from the IRL pleasure of the game.

  • 42% cited "missing the authentic experience of being at a live event" as a concern, and 38% said they’d be concerned about the “potential for distraction from the actual game.”
  • These number climbs with age. 48% of older audiences—those 65 and above—were worried about “distraction from the actual game."
  • 36% were “worried about the cost of additional equipment” to experience AR/VR, and 24% were worried “the technology might be difficult to use.”

It's interesting to note that many of these concerns are  baked into the way certain companies in this space are building their AR and VR sports experiences.

ARound, for instance, consciously positions their augmented reality platform as a way to elevate and complement the live experience, building community and interaction rather than simply offering fresh avenues for distraction.

Brands can leverage this space

For brands looking to explore new avenues for advertising and storytelling within AR or VR platforms, the news is good.

It seems that live sports fans aren’t already overburdened or exhausted by the amount of advertising messages they’re hit with during the typical sporting event:

  • 34% of respondents said the “amount of advertising is acceptable” and 29% said “it doesn’t bother me either way.” 
  • 22% claimed to “enjoy the advertisements, [which] enhance the experience” of the live game.”

Of course, no fan would relish an AR or VR experience that is too intensely branded or commercialized. But it's clear that there are ways advertising can be woven into these platforms with tact and creativity.

Scott Indrisek

Scott Indrisek is the Senior Editorial Lead at Stagwell Marketing Cloud

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