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Super Bowl champs launch ‘Virtual Rams House’ with fan connections in mind

By Ben Fischer
The platform, from 6Connex, allows Rams fans to gather together virtually in various rooms.Courtesy of Los Angeles Rams

The metaverse may be 2022’s buzzword of the year in online fan engagement, but the new Super Bowl champions are focused on simply building a better version of Facebook.

 

The Los Angeles Rams are working with virtual event hosting software maker 6Connex to launch “Virtual Rams House,” which debuts this week. They hope it will become an always-on hub for online fan gatherings, team presentations and sponsorship activations.

“We started the search for something like this in 2020,” said Dan August, Rams vice president of strategy. “The Facebook group is nice, but how can we make something a bit more bespoke that really becomes a hub where you can get to know people?”

6Connex has signed a five-year deal to become a Rams sponsor as part of this work, which includes a “Powered by” tag on the page.

The launch comes two months after Facebook posted its first quarterly decline in daily active users in company history. Owned-and-operated sites, meanwhile, have no restrictions on flow of data or limits to commercialization, and can also accommodate new tech tools.

One example of something that couldn’t happen on Facebook: Season-ticket holders in the Virtual Rams House can gain access to specific “rooms” only for fans who also have tickets in the same sections of SoFi Stadium, with the idea of fostering communities among people who might see each other at games regularly.

The site’s first programming will be an offseason summit on Tuesday, where Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff and general manager Les Snead will recap the season and discuss offseason storylines.

San Antonio-based 6Connex’s product has exploded in popularity as a replacement for one-off corporate conferences during the pandemic. But it was first intended as a permanent virtual brand environment, and CMO Luiz Martins said the Rams’ page will grow more sophisticated with long-term use. Artificial intelligence will help steer content toward fans based on their behavior, and the team can add features based on feedback and data. Also, the 6Connex software enables matchmaking among users whose opt-in demographic data suggests common interests.

“Here you have a journey that’s designed with fans in mind,” Martins said. “In the case of the Rams, they’ll know who their fans are and know how to bring them together to discuss specific topics.”

6Connex’s Rams House looks like most virtual conference pages, albeit with Rams and SoFi Stadium branding and different “rooms” for season-ticket holders, general fans, specific events, and video and social content. This is the company’s first project in sports, CEO Ruben Castano said.

Even though pandemic gathering restrictions are over, the Rams see this as a tool to efficiently address a far-flung fan base. They expect the virtual home eventually becomes an asset for sale to sponsors, but will launch without brands (other than 6Connex) attached as they work out kinks and develop a user base, August said.

At a time when virtual engagement has taken a turn toward the metaverse, August said the Rams believe this more effectively serves fan interests. Said August, “I don’t think we’re looking to do something just to use the phrase ‘metaverse.’”

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