Staying Up-to-Date on Content Trends: Q&A with Bob Lee

With audiences today expecting the highest in entertainment value at live events, there is a large amount of pressure to deliver a unique and exhilarating fan experience. Bob Lee and the Daktronics Creative Services team are no stranger to this industry and enjoy bringing inspiring LED content to their customers.

Daktronics Control Panel on 2/18/2019

Categories: Pro Sports and Colleges

Bob Lee

Staying ahead of industry trends is just a small part of what Bob Lee, Daktronics Creative Services Strategic Manager, does to keep customers a step ahead when it comes to fresh content. Bob touches on creation of digital content, current content trends he is following in the industry, and fan engagement.

“Our primary focus is to collaborate with Account Services. This is to build initial strategies whether it is presentations in the proposal stage, project discovery, project launches; even resource management. In this role we have an opportunity to work alongside not only our creative team but with you as a customer whether that is at a professional team, collegiate team or commercial accounts. We work with you to envision the best uses of your display and active fan engagement,” Bob explains. 

How long have you been in this role?

I’ve been with Daktronics for about 13 years and through this time I’ve gained a lot of experiences with different size of accounts that we have had. More recently I’ve had the opportunity to help steer projects with the experience that I have from working with larger teams and to see the industry grow since I’ve been here. This specific role as Creative Services Manager has allowed me to spend more time not just with our internal team but also with uncovering what our customers are looking for. Most customers have their vision already planned but I am able to be more hands-on with the process of executing their vision and keeping both sides very involved.

What industry trends have become popular among customers?

Trends have changed a lot within the last decade. Currently there is a high demand in teams looking for help to simplify content management and create a flexible show. There is also a large interest in changing content, whether it is an 80-game baseball season or 12-game football season. Updating and refreshing from game to game so that it is not the same show is a large trend among customers.

How do you keep fans involved with content during the game?

We know that there is a big push in engagement in all types of events, not just large sporting events. A fan standing up and cheering is even a type of engagement. Teams have access to a bulk of content such as a “Make Noise” prompt which gets fans involved and cheering. These are standard for all teams to have. However, the anomalies are things from social media. Figuring how to turn social media events onto your board or replays of the live game such as a big catch in a playoff game. All that turns around and becomes very fluid content. The demand for that content and the agility of it to be used in-game has also been a widespread trend. This helps to answer how you keep fans involved beyond the predetermined sets of graphics.

Over the last few years, the expectation of properly representing the school’s brand or even partners and sponsors has become standard. We find ourselves developing show content that fit the customers campaign. It becomes a formula after doing it many times, but we continue to ask, “What can we do differently?

A part of that answer is responsive or interactive data graphics which are scores and numbers moving in a specified way rather than a simple score change. This is more compelling as it is presented; it is a detail that may not be directly related to the fan’s response, but the team expects it. From a technical standpoint, it makes the show livelier.

Are there any types of interactive games/activities that you have seen?

You don’t want to take away from the game that is being played but you do want to try and have fans voluntarily participate in something. Baseball has many breaks that come with each inning that make it easier to allow time for fan engagement games. There is an attraction for the fan to want to be apart of it during breaks in the game.

Partners and sponsors are also fighting this same battle. They are also looking for new ways to capture fans’ attention as well because of the current trend that viewers don’t watch commercials nearly as much. The question for sponsors is, “How you get fans to notice your product, brand or service in the context of that game?” This is where interactive games step in that are a part of the flow of the game but also showcase sponsors.

Have you seen any incorporation of Augmented Reality in stadiums?

Most recently, during the World Cup, it showed me juggling a soccer ball which was really cool. I think our industry is unique in that it allows entertainment, engagement and now even data to combine and present opportunities for things such as Augmented Reality (AR) in different venues. We’ve already seen a form of AR regularly used, which is the yellow first down line in football games on TV. Many of these ideas come from the expectations of TV broadcasting.

Forced perspective is something mentioned more in the broadcasting industry but is hugely captivating to customers. It puts customers into a specific position of viewership of a board. Side panels are attached to this board that allow you to alter the vanishing point of content, meaning that on a flat display you can create three-dimensional content. You see this more in art installations because of its sophisticated look.

Going forward the success of shows is going to be how these designs and storytelling from an execution standpoint can be accomplished within buildings on displays. Content is still important but now it is, “How effectively can you use it?” I think this creates a lot more value in these boards for fans and teams themselves.

To give you an idea of the work Bob and Creative Services completed over the last year, here is a glimpse back at 2018.