Sponsor Insights

Growth of the Metaverse Provides New Sponsorship Opportunities for Enterprising Brands

As metaverse platforms like Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Roblox continue to cultivate their digital realms, they’re enticing brands and entertainment-related entities with a variety of opportunities to integrate into these expanding online worlds. Virtual events are increasingly evolving into gamified social experiences–a way to stay connected with friends, make new ones, and explore new digital environments in an engaging way. Numerous sports and entertainment entities have already forged a virtual presence on these fledgling platforms. 

Both traditional and emerging sports leagues/teams–including the NFL, La Liga, the Australian Open, and FaZe Clan–have embraced the metaverse as a way to reach a younger demographic and ultimately convert them into fans. Last December, the NFL unveiled NFL Zone, a multifaceted metaverse experience built in Fortnite Creative. Presented by Visa, the league’s Official Payment Services Technology Partner, NFL Zone aims to engage existing fans while growing fan discoverability through an NFL-inspired social hub for both Fortnite players and NFL enthusiasts. “The Hub” offers a comprehensive fan experience, including a virtual tailgate and Visa-sponsored stadium and mini game. 

Media and music brands/organizations are also targeting the metaverse to launch new content in innovative ways. In January, Warner Music Group made a splash by debuting Rhythm City, its first persistent metaverse music experience, on Roblox. The music-themed social roleplay activation introduces players to new music and artists, and offers access to a collection of digital items sold exclusively on the platform. These kinds of unique, limited-time events will no doubt expand in step with the metaverse, further highlighting the burgeoning overlap of these forms of entertainment. 

Another prime example: Decentraland’s second annual Metaverse Fashion Week, which wrapped up on March 31st. Showcasing the importance of self-expression and the ability to create an identity in the digital world, the four-day virtual experience featured fashion shows and storefronts from brands like Adidas, Roland, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gaian, as well as parties, shopping, and panel talks. In this emerging virtual universe, brands can customize their stores and create various digital wearables and collectibles to be sold or gifted to visitors. The Doritos Triangle Studios–launched in Decentraland in February in a building the snack brand purchased on the platform–featured a venue filled with Doritos triangle-shaped musical instruments, and offered participants the chance to win prizes including wearables and a custom PC. Fully realized, 360-degree digital environments like these offer a compelling glimpse of the future of entertainment, marketing, and commerce in the metaverse.

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