On Jumbotron Activations: Make Sure You Use That Great Screen in the Sky
Fan videos on the jumbotron can be a great way to leave a lasting impression

On Jumbotron Activations: Make Sure You Use That Great Screen in the Sky

May 3, 2024

At FEVO HQ we’ve recently become obsessed with the jumbotron activation. From humble origins as a method for filling dead space when action on the court/field/pitch wasn’t occurring, it has evolved into one of the most innovative (and hilarious) spectacles in sports and drives not only entertainment for fans in person, but also consistent viral engagement on social media after the fact. Real win win.

It all began with the Kiss Cam, which has debated origins but achieved liftoff sometime in the early 1980s, back when teams were just starting to get “large” (tiny by today’s standards) color screens in-stadium. 

While the bloom may be somewhat off the Kiss Cam’s rose in 2024, it remains a staple and an inarguable classic akin to The Godfather or The Rolling Stones — it might not be your number one favorite, but no one’s ever mad that it’s on. Fans know it, fans expect it. There have been Reddit AMAs from Kiss Cam Operators. Even the President and First Lady have been featured on a Kiss Cam. 

And in a world in which fans are continually documenting their experiences and sharing them on social media, teams are realizing that giving them more downtime moments like the Kiss Cam is a winning strategy.

Heart-pounding finishes and on-field triumphs are undeniably the best conduit to you-had-to-be-there-ness, but remain largely out of the control of those running the event.  Downtime between game action, howevder is in short, a fully customizable asset. And in the right hands, it can be just as powerful as in-game moments in terms of giving fans something to remember and share with others.

So now we come to the current state of the Big Screen. Variations on the Kiss Cam have long been a thing, but 2024 finds us in a veritable golden age of teams experimenting with virality-seeking, fan-focused video alternatives. Some teams go with pop culture references hoping to capitalize on the zeitgeist — like the Mets referencing Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave with a Driving Crooner Cam, placing a fedora and cigar on screen to superimpose over fan faces. The Simba Cam, by most accounts done first by the Atlanta Braves, has become a staple across leagues and gives parents the opportunity to hold up their children like Rafiki does Simba at the beginning of The Lion King (The Mets also did this at one of their Bark at the Park event, to hilarious effect). The St. Louis Blues do a Look-a-Like Cam that has become such a success they even do behind-the-scenes content on how they create it at games. And others just embrace the weird, like the University of Kentucky and their Snackwards Cam, a stunt that takes footage of fans eating food and reverses it to look like fans are pulling food from their gaping mouths — roll your eyes all you want, it’s racked up over 12M views on TikTok. 

And while creating a moment of a fan on screen that goes viral is no doubt a huge win, don’t forget that it also comes with a fan who then talks about that moment to everyone they know for the rest of their life. A moment that goes down in family lore about the time “Billy made it on the Shrek Cam.” (Ed. note: we don’t know if the Shrek Cam actually exists anywhere, but dare to dream)

Opportunities are endless and only really depend on how creative your production and sponsorship teams can get in generating new ideas. Think of every moment as an opportunity to make an impression on a new fan for the first time (or to make an old one’s day). And while moments like scoreboard activations certainly won’t make or break a franchise, none can deny that they enhance the experience for fans — and that can only ever be a good thing. Shrek Cam, anyone?

Does your franchise run any interesting Kiss Cam alternatives? Write in and let us know and maybe we’ll feature it. 

Other assorted nuggets of internet wisdom from this week…

AP News: Churchill Downs unveils new $200 million paddock ahead of the 150th Kentucky Derby

Yahoo Sports: What would House v. NCAA settlement mean? A revenue-sharing model to end college amateurism

CBS Sports: Tri-City Chili Peppers to play 'cosmic baseball' game under black lights

Topps: The Mets made hot dogs cards to commemorate recording setting hot dog sales night

Sportico: Want a day off after the Super Bowl? So does Roger Goodell

Front Office Sports: Euro soccer nearing matches in U.S. as legal barriers fall

On Jumbotron Activations: Make Sure You Use That Great Screen in the Sky