Beyond the Hype: Will Tech Deliver Slam Dunk For Brands?

May 31, 2024
kevin durant

There’s no better case study in fan engagement than live sporting events. Take it from sports merchandise giant Fanatics, which tapped Komo Technologies to measure its level of fan engagement as part of a new partnership that’s set to debut at the first-ever Fanatics Fest in New York City this summer.

Kicking off with a bang, the fest is set to boast appearances from Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, Kevin Durant (pictured), the Manning brothers and Hulk Hogan — just to name a few — plus breaks to trade cards live, see brand activations, check out main stage programming and purchase exclusive merch at a superstore.

Though Komo Technologies Co-founder and CEO Joel Steel couldn’t divulge which exact Komo experiences would make their debut at the Fanatics Fest, taking over Big Apple’s iconic Javits Center Aug. 16-18, he alluded to real-time leaderboards designed to inspire a competitive edge, enhanced Q&A features for live panels and a plethora of interactive elements.

Backstory: Komo Tech, which has hubs in New York and Australia, is set to capitalize on the Fanatics Fest’s positioning at the nexus of sports fandom and culture by infusing the event with the immersive gamification, polls, user-generated content (UGC) and badge-earning opportunities — among other features — that it’s known for.  “These features are designed to captivate attendees and amplify their fandom,” said Steel, adding that each experience is “completely customizable and brandable.”

Why it matters to exhibitors: “These are the perfect way for brand partners to connect and engage with the audience at a deeper level than ever before,” Steel said, noting that Komo’s platform will be able to track sales during and after the event, plus pre-event anticipation and post-event engagement such as e-commerce transactions, digital coupon functionalities and lead capture tools.

Done deal: Komo Tech Co-founder & CEO Joel Steel (left) and Fanatics Events CEO Lance Fensterman (right) inked a deal to debut Komo's tech at the launch of Fanatics Fest. Photo: Komo

What they’re saying: “True ROI extends beyond these immediate figures to encompass long-term gains such as enhanced brand awareness, stronger customer relationships and increased loyalty,” Steel said. “For a comprehensive understanding of ROI, it's crucial to connect event outcomes with strategic objectives like lead generation, brand positioning, merch sales and market expansion. This holistic approach ensures that the event's financial impact is fully realized and accurately measured.”

How it works for ROI: “A common misconception among event planners is the belief that high engagement during an event, such as impressive attendance numbers or active social media participation, directly translates into immediate financial ROI,” Steel said. “This narrow focus often overlooks the broader, long-term benefits and deeper value that comprehensive engagement can bring to both the event and its sponsors.” Though short-term metrics like the number of attendees or social media activity are important, Steel said, they’re not indicators of an event’s true impact or ability to generate future sales and high customer retention rates. 

How the deal came together: A self-proclaimed Fanatics fan himself, Steel said that working with Fanatics was a goal of his since the inception of Komo in 2014, though at the time it was a Quiz App to help nonprofits raise funds and awareness for their cause. “I’ve always admired Fanatics, their CEO Michael Rubin and the communities they bring together in sports and entertainment,” Steel explained. “I continued to reach out to the folks at Fanatics and eventually got in touch with the right people. I then had the opportunity to demo the power of the Komo platform, and the rest is history.”

Fanatics Fest is launching Aug. 16-18 at the Big Apple’s iconic Javits Center​. Photo: Javits Center

Steel noted that Fanatics Events, the live and special events arm created by Fanatics live in July 2023, immediately recognized the platform’s value to a three-day fan experience like the Fanatics Fest.


Main photo caption: Olympic champion Kevin Durant of Team USA in action at group A basketball match between Team USA and Australia of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Durant will make a guest appearance the 2024 Fanatics Fest. Photo credit: Shutterstock


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