This summer, the Mexican National Team partnered with Versus Systems to deploy second-screen fan engagement for their 18th U.S. Tour. #MEXTOUR featured Versus’ innovative XEO platform. XEO offered Mexico’s fan base a new way to experience soccer, with cool and innovative features ranging from customizable photo filters to predictive trivia. Optimized for both in-stadium and at-home spectating, the XEO platform contributed to the success of 2021’s #MEXTOUR.
Mexico’s U.S. Tour is an annual series of games played throughout the U.S. against other national teams. It kicked off on May 29th in Arlington with a game against Iceland. According to Matthew Pierce, CEO Founder of Versus Systems, the tour is an opportunity for “some of the premier national teams in the sport to play in some of the largest and most exciting venues in the United States.”
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the tour has been a success for Mexico and Versus so far. The final game is scheduled for late October in Charlotte against Ecuador.
#MEXTOUR is part of a growing trend for sports teams to travel to foreign countries for exhibition games in an attempt to expand their appeal. The MLB recently inaugurated an annual London Series with a two-game showdown between the Red Sox and Yankees in 2019. Somewhat controversially, the NBA plays preseason games in China. And the NFL also plans to send four teams to London this October.
Mexico’s annual U.S. Tour has been running since 2003. And it has paid off. Soccer popularity has grown wildly among American young people, with the 2018 #MEXTOUR averaging 60,000 fans per game (with even more watching at home).
Recent innovations in second-screen technology are allowing Mexico to expand its fan base even more. These innovations can be powerful for every team or league with similar goals.
“The Biggest Sport in the World”
Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the world. The Mexican National Team has fans all over North and South America. Especially North America. Even with some past games topping 80,000 fans in attendance, the real driver for Mexico is all the fans watching the games at home.
This is where Versus comes in.
At-home engagement is at least as important as in-stadium engagement. Versus’ second screen XEO platform makes sure fans stay in the game, no matter where they are.
To take just one feature, predictive trivia, XEO begins drumming up excitement before each game by giving fans a chance to guess outcomes on the field. During gameplay, fans get even more chances to make predictions. Even better, they can win prizes – real products and DLC – for correct guesses.
For the Mexican National Team, which relies on a global fan base, Versus keeps fan excitement elevated throughout each game and throughout the entire U.S. Tour.
Photo Filters: Connecting Fans Around the World
Another piece of the XEO platform is exclusive photo filters. Fans can access these special filters with their mobile devices anywhere in the world. They can post on social media or share them within the platform itself to connect with other fans.
But the XEO platform is not just for fans at home. Everyone in the stadium with a smartphone can access the platform too. At most games, this means close to 100% of the audience.
Photo filters are especially fun in the stadium. Group filters let fans make new friends, forming bonds within the crowd. And these group photos are instantly sharable. XEO connects everyone in the stadium with all of their friends watching the game back home.
For Mexico fans, there’s even the chance to have their photo featured on the #MEXTOUR website for days after a game.
Photo filters are just one of the many features that allow fans to enjoy the Mexican National Team’s U.S. Tour – whether from inside the stadium or from the comfort of home.
There was another reason why it was so important this year for Mexico to connect with fans no matter where they are. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on soccer.
This summer, some fans were eager to get back to the stadium and show off their support for Mexico in person. Other fans were hesitant, worried about the Delta variant. Some stadiums had capacity restrictions.
Luckily, both groups of fans had ways to participate through their mobile devices. No matter their level of concern, everyone had access to XEO’s unique features. Not only was this a win for fans, but it was also a win for the Mexican National Team. Versus’ XEO platform ensures that Mexico and other teams can be robust and adaptable, ready for anything.
Fortunately, the 2021 #MEXTOUR has been safe and successful so far. No doubt in part thanks to second screen engagement. But no matter what happens in October, the XEO platform ensures Mexico can keep its options open. And it ensures that even fans who have to make sudden changes still get to participate in the excitement.
Increased Fan Participation
The Mexican National Team partnered with Versus for one big reason. To increase fan participation. Greater participation drives greater fan engagement.
Engaging with their widespread North American audience is one of the primary goals of Mexico’s yearly U.S. Tour. This year, second screen participation, from photo filters to predictions, helped the Mexican National Team take that engagement to a new level.
For sports everywhere looking to broaden their popularity in new markets and teams looking to grow their fan base and expand their appeal among younger generations, second screen technology equals more participation and fan engagement.