The NBA is a phenomenal source of joy for billions of people across the globe. However, the sad reality is that not everyone has equal access to experience this joy. Recognizing this disparity, Michelob ULTRA, a brand synonymous with the belief that enjoyment is paramount, took a significant step in addressing the issue of accessibility in sports. In an effort to contribute to the cultural conversation, they embarked on a mission to make the exhilaration of live games accessible to everyone. This blog post delves into their innovative approach and unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity in the world of sports.

The Challenge:

An astonishing 284 million sports fans worldwide face challenges in fully enjoying live games due to blindness or visual impairment. While these fans can rely on play-by-play commentary to keep up with the action, anyone with a genuine love for basketball understands that the game encompasses much more than mere words.

The Insight:

The sheer delight of being a basketball fan lies in truly feeling the game. Michelob ULTRA recognized this profound insight, understanding that blind and visually impaired individuals should have the opportunity to engage with the game on a sensory level, moving beyond auditory experiences alone.

The Strategy:

To bridge the gap between blind or visually impaired fans and their beloved game, Michelob ULTRA set out on a remarkable journey to translate the action of a basketball game into a language that could be felt rather than merely heard. Their objective was to develop groundbreaking technology capable of immersing blind and visually impaired individuals in the joy of live sports.

The Breakthrough:

Enter Cameron Black, an extraordinary individual born completely blind but with an unwavering passion for sports broadcasting. On April 21, 2023, Michelob ULTRA transformed Cameron’s dream into reality. Over the course of a year, they collaborated with him to create groundbreaking multisensorial technology, enabling him to fully experience and commentate on a live basketball game. Harnessing the power of data and artificial intelligence, Cameron could comprehend and emotionally connect with every gameplay moment and movement. This profound experience allowed him to share his unique perspective with millions of sports fans worldwide.

Expanding the Commitment:

The partnership with Cameron during the NBA Playoffs marked just the beginning of Michelob ULTRA’s broader commitment to accessibility. In October 2023, the brand intends to make this revolutionary technology accessible to everyone through a free app specifically designed for the visually impaired. Leveraging sound, haptics, and spatial audio, this app will provide an immersive and inclusive sports experience. Furthermore, Michelob ULTRA’s mission extends beyond basketball, as they aim to introduce accessibility features for other sports like soccer, football, and baseball.

Recognition and Impact:

Michelob ULTRA’s tireless efforts in accessibility have been widely acknowledged and celebrated, notably at the prestigious Cannes Lions 2023. Their commitment to inclusivity earned them the esteemed Entertainment for Sport Grand Prix award, along with several other accolades in categories such as Media, Design, Radio & Audio, and Digital Craft. These awards serve as a testament not only to Michelob ULTRA’s innovative approach but also to the significance of creating equal opportunities for all sports enthusiasts.

Alexis Verschueren

Making brand experiences that stick!