Though this tip seems very elementary, it's essential to improving your overall fan experience. Look for areas of opportunity in your game presentation where you can turn an underutilized moment into a fan interactive element. Here's an example, if you have time for live crowd shots on the back-end of a timeout feature, drop in a fan cam instead of just taking the generic crowd shots. Even 30 seconds of a fan cam can re-engage fans and build an exciting experience. Here's an example of a branded fan cam we built for the Missouri Tigers that ran during a mens' basketball game.
Building off of the previous tip, when you're creating new in-game elements, keep your fan's interests and what's culturally relevant to your market in mind. Fans have a lot of pride and passion for both their cities and their teams. Bottle that up in the form of entertainment by building elements that can highlight fan pride. In my opinion, there's no better example than the Sacramento Kings Cowbell Cam. For decades, Kings fans have brought their cowbells to the arena and used them as noise-makers. It's part of the social fabric of the city and a true symbol of their community. It's also one of the main reasons Sleep Train Arena is regarded as one the loudest arenas in the NBA. The Kings Cowbell Cam starts off comedically with a video of a Will Ferrell Saturday Night Live skit that transitions in to live shots of fans banging their cowbells. It's a great go-to hot timeout element for the Kings and in my opinion, their strongest fan tradition.
I'm not going to lie, this was an example of blatant self-promotion. :) But, if you've been searching for elite halftime entertainment to elevate the excitement surrounding a big game or you're just trying to enhance the fan experience by providing a unique halftime show, we've got you covered.
Again, this tip may seem elementary to some, but it's an important rule of thumb to maintain. If your team has gone on a run, momentum of the game has shifted and a timeout is called which brings your fans to their feet in clapping celebration, don't override that moment. Ride with it. Either use a hot timeout element or default to a "hot song" while taking live crowd shots. The goal is to keep the fans up and clapping for the duration of the timeout and take them to the next level by bumping back into gameplay with a rouser or hype feature. There's a very human element to being a great game director and the ability to audible to build off the momentum of a game can be the greatest factor in creating a true home court or home field advantage.
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My take on programming the Playoffs is that you do away with the normal happy-clappy, rah-rah content and you dial it up to match the intensity of the moment. Typically, sponsorship elements are pretty light during the playoffs which allows producers to really use more of their creativity to enhance the atmosphere using pre-game and in-game inventory to build fan excitement and create an intimidating atmosphere for the opposing team. If your resources allow it, create a new intro video. Use your pre game to set the tone early with crowd hypes, rousers and even trying things like "the wave" to get them up, involved and to pump some life into the arena. Stress the importance of the crowd's impact on the game. The energy will carry, it's the Playoffs - especially in a close game.
Don't cut corners on your in-game promotions. The smallest details can have a huge impact on the presentation of an element. If it's a sponsored promotion, those details will help to exceed sponsor expectations and ultimately help sales and retention in that department. Do your research on the brand your working with, find their tag-lines and even the sound fx or music they use in their commercials. Look to incorporate those details in your PA copy and overall build-out of the promotion.
This tip can really help when introducing a new fan cam element to your crowd for the first time. Be sure to write very clear directions on what you're expecting from the fans as part of your PA intro read to the element and then transition to a couple "canned" shots of your mascot or performance group members performing the action. It's a safe way to start the element and they can also serve as "safe shots" or fall back shots if your camera operators are struggling to find fan participants at first. Trust me, it's better to be safe than sorry.