Kangaroo inks NASCAR deal with Sprint-Nextel, offers more brand opps

Merely watching a sports event in the stadium is so 20th century. Now well-heeled fans can enhance the experience with hand-held devices that receive live broadcast feeds and behind-the-scenes action - plus sponsors' content.

In its first deal with a major marketer, Kangaroo Media has licensed its Kangaroo.tv technology to Toronto-HQ’d Sprint Nextel. The hand-held video devices enhance sports fans’ in-stadium experiences. Sprint Nextel will offer them as a feature of its sponsorship of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race series, which kicks off Feb. 18 with the Daytona 500. Rebranded by Sprint Nextel as ‘FanViews,’ the devices are now available for online purchase ($369.95) and in-stadium rental ($50 per day, $70 per weekend).

Since launching in Mirabel, Que. 18 months ago, Kangaroo Media has directly sold and rented the gizmos to thousands of race and football fans. Before the new licensing deal, Sprint Nextel was among the renters, deploying the devices at NASCAR events last year.

Kangaroo.tv devices have built-in monitors that deliver four channels of video, audio and data feeds in real time, enabling users to catch the action their eyeballs miss, eavesdrop on conversations between racecar drivers, and receive stats and background info during games.

Kangaroo Media is now offering brand opps tied to Formula One races, as well as some National Football League games, Sean Dalton, Kangaroo’s EVP/GM, tells MiC. ‘Marketers can literally put their brand messages into people’s hands as they sit in the stands, which means they interact with the brand for either (the duration of) a game or for a whole weekend of games and related events. This is a lot more effective than just blasting a (marketer’s) name all over the stadium and, at the end of the day, not knowing how much attention they got.’

In addition to airing on-screen ads, Dalton says marketers may choose to rebrand the device itself, as Sprint Nextel did. ‘We’re talking to a lot of companies in several countries now,’ he adds. ‘And if there are Canadian brands that are looking to reach American or even international consumers, we can offer them great opportunities.’