From NFT and virtual reality to HBCU partnerships, Verizon’s bid to win players

While Verizon wants to promote its 5G capabilities and expand its presence in sports, it is investing in multiple players and experimenting with new technologies such as virtual reality and NFTs.

Despite announcing a number of new partnerships today at the E3 commercial video game event, Verizon said it is committing $ 1 million to five historically black colleges and universities and is also creating technology centers on campuses. Each school will receive $ 100,000 in scholarship funding for students studying technology at Delaware State University, Dillard University, Howard University, Morgan State University and South Texas University. (The scholarship program is an extension of Verizon’s $ 5 million Future Fund, which was launched in 2020 to support “new and emerging female talent through entertainment and technology.” Meanwhile, another 100,000 dollars for each school will help create technology centers accessible to all students.

The investment is part of Verizon’s strategy focused on developers, gamers and fans. With the professional sports organization Team Liquid, Verizon is creating ways to experience live events remotely through virtual reality. With Electronic Arts, Verizon will create ways to use 5G technology to optimize gaming. With Riot Games, she will launch a new program to provide training and advice to women’s sports wheels and also create new ways for women to compete in top-level tournaments.

“I’m fascinated by the whole dynamic and the sports community for some reason,” says Diego Scotti, director of marketing at Verizon. Forbes. “One, the level of commitment to games and competition occurs through the roof. Secondly, the commitment and reach that the players have with their fans is incredible. “

Verizon is also entering the world of non-fungible chips (NFT) through a new partnership with Dignitas. Starting today, 100 followers who collaborate with the organization’s social media channels will be chosen to receive an NFT hologram from Dignitas ’female FPS team that can be seen in augmented reality. The AR NFTs, which will be digitally signed by players later this month, will allow fans to put photos next to the players ’holograms. However, unlike other NFTs that sometimes sell for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, Verizon’s NFTs on its NFT beta platform cannot be marketed or sold.

This isn’t the first big partnership Verizon has made in the gaming space. As part of its Super Bowl strategy earlier this year, the wireless company partnered with NFL and Fortnite creator Epic Games to build a virtual football stadium within the game’s success. Battle Royale, where fans could see NFL players and professional players compete in the metaverse. (Verizon also recently announced a promotion whereby new and existing customers can play six-month games for free via Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass).

“We had millions of people come in to play,” Scotti says of the Fortnite association. “So when I compare it to, say, advertising, you have 30 seconds … It’s not just the cost, it’s the effectiveness of the commitment. I’m not talking about the return on investment, I’m talking about the return on commitment and the return of commitment was through the ceiling, significantly higher than what we did directing the TV spot because people were committed to experience and technology. ”

Individual initiatives do not have the same return on investment as taking a more integrated, long-term approach, according to Scotti. He says “it took a certain conviction because that sometimes the marketing industry is used to doing the next big thing and you do one and then it’s something that falls apart.”

“Doing the right marketing means being able to have an approach that is not unique, but involves a persistent and longer holistic investment in the category,” he says. “And the point about the association is important because no one controls everything. No one does it alone. There are a lot of synergies between the different companies, and when you talk about Verizon, we want to be that compelling. “

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