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NFC Gets in the Ring at UFC Fan Village

This past summer, Ottawa's Ultimate Fighting Championship Fan Village found that participants using NFC-enabled technology from XOLUTION had higher game participation rates, and also shared event-based information via social networks about 5,000 times.
By Claire Swedberg

UFC opted for the registration, photos and gamification features only. The UFC Fan Village wanted an experience that would make fans feel as though they were part of the UFC experience, even though they were not fighters themselves.

The installation consisted of nine RFID-enabled tap stations, known as X-Stations. These were installed at registration; at a speed, power and endurance competition tent; and at a photo kiosk where guests could be pictured going head to head with their favorite fighter. XOLUTION's X-Engine cloud-based software managed the data related to each read event.

Each tap of an RFID wristband enabled participants to link pictures or game scores with their personal data.
As each individual arrived at the event, he or she was offered the NFC 13.56 MHz wristband, employing an NXP Semiconductors chip and compliant with the ISO 14443 standard, which was designed with the UFC brand printed on the front. Each wristband came with a unique ID number encoded on the NFC chip embedded within. Upon registering, users first approached an X-Station kiosk, where they tapped their wristband, causing the Xolution software to captures the ID number. They were then invited to input personal data, such as their social-media accounts, e-mail address, weight and height, as well as the name of their favorite UFC fighter. That data was then stored in the software, along with the unique ID.

Conor Davies-Taylor
As guests moved around the property, they could participate in games and other features. For instance, at the UFC Tale of the Tape Poster station, they could tap their wristbands against an X-Station with a built-in RFID reader from Feig Electronics. The reader captured each participant's ID, linked to his or her personal information and favorite fighter. The guest then struck a fighter's pose in front of a screen, as directed by UFC brand ambassadors, and the resulting picture displayed that participant with that fighter, as though they were about to go head to head. Personal information, such as height and weight, could also be included. The individual could then proceed to a kiosk and share the image on social media, or create a poster that could be e-mailed to that person.

"Their registration data allowed us to include their personal stats, squared against the UFC fighter they had selected at registration," Bond Brand Loyalty's spokesperson says, thereby providing "a much more personalized experience with the brand."

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