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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
Dec 20, 2016

Martial arts-based event Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), at its Fan Village in Ottawa, Canada, provided a Near Field Communication (NFC) radio frequency identification-based feature to enhance its fans' experience this summer: It increased game participation for those who wore NFC wristbands (versus those not doing so), and provided up to 5,000 social-media-linked activities. The NFC-enabled bracelets allowed participants at the Fan Village event to access games, take photographs and share the photos and game scores with friends via social media. The concept was provided by marketing company Bond Brand Loyalty, using technology from XOLUTION, a company that makes RFID technology for use at events.

Approximately 2000 individuals, representing 70 percent of those entering the village, registered for the RFID-enabled wristbands at the two-day event, held in June. They then used the bracelets about 5,000 times, equating to 2.5 taps per guest. Participants also shared 700 photos online through social media and e-mail.

Users input personal data to be saved with their wristband ID.
The UFC offers Fan Village events around the world, aimed at bringing the sport and fighters to the fans. Such events typically include some celebrity fighters, as well as games and programs intended to help fans get closer to the fighting experience. According to the UFC, this was the first such event held in Ottawa.

For the Fan Villages in Ottawa, says a spokesperson for Bond Brand Loyalty, "We were looking for a smart, digital solution that would connect and enhance the fans' experience as they moved through each activation area. It needed to motivate both in-person and social engagement, while delivering extensive attendee and activation data for UFC and their sponsors."

XOLUTION (rebranded for BASH! Interactive) is a seven-year-old company that offers turnkey solutions for social-media-based marketing. The company provides a system that it likens to Legos, in that clients can build their own solutions based on their particular needs and the blocks of features XOLUTION offers, explains Conor Davies-Taylor, the firm's "Xperiential Eventor" and head of business development. "We offer a build-your-own digital experience," he says. The features include photos, gamification, social-media sharing and feedback, as well as contactless payments.

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