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MVP Interactive Gives Flyers Fans a Taste of Experiential Reality

Philadelphia Business Journal

By John George

November 2, 2018

James Giglio wants to give fans attending sporting events more to do than just watch the game.

Giglio is CEO of MVP Interactive, a Philadelphia-based “consumer engagement” company that uses custom-built experiential technology to enhance fans’ visits to stadiums and games — all the while improving brand awareness of teams and their sponsors. The company’s custom-built technology encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, gesture, facial recognition, and mobile applications.

“Teams want to get people out of their homes and into their stadiums,” said Giglio, who quit his job at an advertising firm in 2012 to start MVP Interactive. “I saw that [consumer product companies] were looking to technology as a new way to engage with their customers. That led me to think about ways to use digital kiosks and simulation technology, like what is used with the Wii game, and package into to an experience that can be put in one location.”

Sporting venues, Giglio said, were a perfect fit as teams were searching for new ways to get people to spend more time in their stadiums or arenas.

MVP Interactive Family Fun

One of its latest projects can be found at the Wells Fargo Center, where MVP Interactive has installed the Flyers Family Fun Zone. One display featuring a 98-inch video screen tasks fans with being a goalie and using body gestures to block shots. Afterward, fans get a video of their performance to share on social media. Another part of the zone has a kiosk that provides an augmented reality experience where fans can select their favorite Flyers players, who then appear to be floating on the concourse in front of them. Fans can take a selfie with the floating images.

The zone also has a new take on air hockey using touchscreen technology and a virtual reality photo booth that lets fans take and share pictures where it appears their favorite player is sitting next to them. 

Giglio said the cost for the Family Fun Zone was underwritten by the Flyers, which, he said, now has a new section of the arena they can sell to a sponsor. MVP Interactive collects data from visitors that the Flyers will be able to share with sponsors.

MVP Interactive’s clients include sponsors, sports leagues, and sports teams, including those from all the major sports.

Some examples:

  • The company installed virtual reality enhancements to the Washington Redskins/Bud Light Social Lounge that include a player experience that uses a virtual reality headset affixed to a Redskins team helmet so fans can experience what it is like to be a Redskins player on game day — from exiting the team bus to signing autographs, to suiting up in the locker room and taking the field amidst the pageantry and euphoria of the fans.
  • The company also teamed up with Major league Soccer’s Houston Dynamo and BBVA Compass Bank to install a Gaming Wall that gave fans a chance to take real-world penalty kicks against a virtual version of retired Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.

“Each deal we do is a little different,” Giglio said. “Sometimes our customer is the team, and sometimes we leverage the team’s relationships. In many circumstances, that team will introduce us to a sponsor. Our business model includes a licensing deal as well. Each season we provide [customers] with an opportunity to change content or relicense the previous season’s content.”

MVP Interactive has grown to 10 full-time employees and another 15 who work periodically on a contract basis based on work demand. Giglio said the company’s revenue growth has grown, on average, 66 percent a year, and he expects this year’s revenues to come in “just shy” of $2 million. 

The company’s next steps are to move beyond sports venues to retail settings, trade shows, and esports sites. “Within the next 12 to 18 months,” Giglio said, “we hope to hit $4 million in revenues.”

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