Virtual reality has now entered the US Open with its new campaign featuring the tennis star Maria Sharapova. Fans coming to see the US Open, which will start in two weeks time, will be able to return the tennis star’s serve through this technology. American Express is teaming up with Sharapova for this virtual reality game where US Open fans will get a chance to show off their moves.
“You vs. Sharapova”
The virtual reality game is called “You vs. Sharapova” and is just one part of the greater marketing efforts of American Express around this tournament, which the organization has sponsored over 20 years.
In this VR experience, fans can try to return the serve of the star for free. Anybody who has a ticket to the US Open can try it for free.
Sharapova told ESPN “I think our sport has grown so much because we as players have been able to get closer to the fans, especially through social media. This takes it to another level.”
Deb Curtis, vice president of global sponsorships and experiential marketing at American Express, said “We really are more than ever tapping into the competitive fire of the U.S. Open as an event that not only embodies the level of competitive intensity for the players but is also fueled by the energy and spirit of New York.”
He said that “You vs. Sharapova” is the first VR experience which will feature live-action along with computer generated image of a player.
Curtis added “In the past, virtual reality has been more of a passive experience, with people usually just watching. This allows the fan to step into a whole new world.”
Taking an Extra Step
This year, American Express wanted to take an extra step to provide the fans with a better experience of the two-week tournament. This step will allow fans to use VR technology in a more active way and feel the intensity of a professional tennis match.
In the VR experience, live action and computer generated image of Maria Sharapova is used, to let fans play a virtual tennis match with her and even try to return her 100 mile-per-hour serve.
Sharapova has signed a two year partnership with American Express for 2015 and 2016 US Open. This is the first time the company has worked with Sharapova.
What do you think?
What’s your thought about this VR campaign? Are you going to attend the US Open? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Source – wallconvert.com