Golden Gophers Go VR To Tempt Football Recruits

Golden Gophers Go VR To Tempt Football Recruits
November 24, 2016

The next time a college football player receives information concerning the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football program, it may come in the form of a virtual reality experience. Working with digital marketing agency FusionSports, the Golden Gophers have captured behind-the-scenes footage of practices, workouts, game day, campus experiences and more, which will be packaged to provide a more immersive experience for fans, and more importantly recruits.


The Golden Gophers jumped at the opportunity to use virtual reality to tell a story about the program that may be otherwise difficult to convey to recruits. All one needs is a pair of Google cardboard glasses or other VR hardware, such as the Oculus Rift or Samsung VR goggles.


“There’s certain misconceptions people around the country have about life here in Minnesota, such as the weather,” says Golden Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys. “We wanted to not only dispel those, but help them understand what a day in the life of a Golden Gopher would be like, from player development to game day to campus and city life. This way, recruits could understand how amazing their athletic and collegiate experience could be by choosing UM. Virtual reality is the only way to do that efficiently.”


All VR content will be packaged and distributed through a custom mobile application to be launched in the near future that has been custom designed for the Golden Gophers football program. It distinguishes a Golden Gophers program that is often overshadowed in a competitive Big Ten conference that includes the likes of Ohio State University and the University of Michigan.


In fact, Michigan has already used VR to recruit athletes to the institution’s football program. A year ago, it may have distinguished Michigan from other college football programs. Now, Minnesota and undoubtedly many other schools will turn to VR as it becomes a necessary component of the recruiting process.


“It’s insane. This changes the game,” Arkansas football head coach Bret Bielema has said about VR in the past. Arkansas is one of a number of schools that work with FusionSports competitor StriVR.


FusionSports believes that its VR experience through the custom built mobile app also helps to cause recruits to avoid noise from social media and keep them engaged and focused on the content that takes a lot of time and cost to develop.


“Filming the Gophers was not only exciting for us, but also for the players, fans, and even Goldy Gopher,” adds FusionSports Founder and CEO Ashley DeWalt. “With this VR app, I have no doubt recruits nationally will see the football program in a whole new light and dispel any misconceptions.”

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