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Friday, June 14, 2024

Stepping Outside Her Comfort Zone

How Lindsay McCormick parlayed herself into the opportunity of a lifetime with ePlay’s new augmented reality video game.

Lindsay McCormick (Photo via Lindsay McCormick)

The Opportunity

According to Digi-Capital experts, the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market is projected to grow to a $150 billion business by year 2020.

For those that are plugged in to the tech industry (no pun intended), that fact may not come as a big surprise. Especially since there was a huge response to Niantic’s Pokemon Go game which had a peak of 45 million daily users in July of 2016. And since the launch of Pokemon Go, industry experts like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, as well as multiple companies in the sports and entertainment space have been brainstorming ways to take advantage of AR in an attempt to enhance the experiences of sports fans around the world.

The newest company to leverage this technology within their platform? ePlay.

ePlay Digital Inc. develops real-time fan engagement technologies that enable TV networks, venues, teams, leagues and brands to evolve and meet the demands of today’s highly-engaged audiences. ePlay is operated by a team of sports, gaming and esports authorities as well as broadcast and digital technology industry experts, software engineers and athletes who are dedicated to changing the way fans interact with with their favorite teams, brands, and athletes.

The newest innovator to join ePlay’s team? TV host, sports broadcaster, actress, and fantasy draft guru, Lindsay McCormick.

The Decision

When was the last time that you did something professionally for the first time? For Lindsay McCormick, the answer to that question would be, “pretty recently.”

And to some, that may be a surprise considering that most people who have experienced the amount of success that McCormick has over the past 10 years (she’s covered four Super Bowls, appeared on ESPN, NBC, Esquire, CBS Sports, ESPN The Mag, and Comcast SportsNet, served as a Showtime guest correspondent for the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, and was recently named one of Houston’s most fascinating people, among other things) would be content to lay off the gas, get comfortable, and no longer welcome diverse professional opportunities.

But for McCormick, and so many other professionals that are at the top of their game, success means always moving forward and keeping an eye out for opportunities that are true to their brand but push them outside of their comfort zones as well.

And the most recent opportunity for McCormick to get outside of her comfort zone? A chance to partner with ePlay as a member of the go-to-market team for their new AR video game which is currently under development.

“Being successful in business is starting from somewhere and keeping an open mind for opportunities or creating ones that have a small connection or link to your brand but will also open new doors. I think the tech space is a really massive one and augmented reality is the future.”

In addition to having an influential role in helping the game go-to-market, it was McCormick’s own experience inside the game (she was one of the first people to test it out) that brought her to ePlay in the first place.

“Augmented reality keeps us in the moment and in our present daily activities and enhances them whereas virtual reality takes you out of that,” she said. “That’s why augmented reality is the future and it’s going to be huge. This platform enhances your everyday life as a sports fan and the way that you watch the game and that’s the main reason why I was so excited to be a part of this.”

As the newest member of ePlay’s go-to-market team, McCormick will join ePlay advisor, Ray Brown, and ePlay investor and 7-time NBA champion, Robert Horry, to support the marketing efforts of ePlay’s upcoming sports game titles.

“They sold me on this game when I found out that Robert Horry was going to be a part of it (laughs). I grew up in Houston and saw what he did for the Rockets and the back to back championships and I know how iconic he is. So when I heard that he was an investor, and when I heard ePlay’s concept for this particular game with fantasy sports, and the NBA, and their athletes, I felt like it was a perfect fit for me and my personal brand.”

Robert Horry (Photo via Houston Chronicle)

In addition to helping promote ePlay’s latest projects, McCormick will be a character in the game and will be introduced to ePlay users as they advance. Players will have the opportunity to take and share photos and add McCormick to their team, but her main responsibility will be to leverage her expertise (she’s a fantasy sports enthusiast who claims that extensive research is the key to successful fantasy picks) to help fans navigate the game.

It’s that enthusiasm for sports and the fan experience that McCormick is most excited to leverage in her role within this new game.

“I feel like the reason I have been successful in the sports broadcasting world is because I’m a fan at heart. I play Madden and FIFA. From the sports tech viewpoint, I can think ‘What would the fans who play this game want to see?’ And I can advise ePlay on that because I’m a fan myself.”

The Payoff

Anytime someone tries something professionally for the first time, there’s always a risk associated with it, especially in the sports and entertainment industry where the talent runs deep and there’s competition for roles at every turn.

So when it comes time to take the leap, it helps when there are people in your circle who want to see you succeed.

For McCormick, those people came in the forms of a producer and a tech guru.

“I feel extremely flattered that Ray Brown, my producer on the Bounce Back, even came to me with this concept and introduced me to Trevor Doerksen who also wanted me to be a part of it. What Trevor has done thus far with ePlay has been astounding and I’m extremely grateful to be a part of this.”

Additionally, anytime you try something new in your profession (specifically sports and entertainment) there’s always a chance that you may fail to engage your current fan base, constituents, company, etc. because it’s different than what you normally do.

However, if you take a risk that aligns with your personal brand, elevates your skill set, and engages your fan base and others in the industry in new and exciting ways, the response you’ll get is more than likely going to be positive.

“My fans have been really really excited about this announcement. I think it’s something that a lot of people didn’t expect. There are so many women that get into this field and do a great job in broadcasting but then they stay in one place. They work their way up the ladder in terms of going from station to station and then network to network and they do a great job. But for me, I’ve always admired strong women that don’t just stay in their lane.”

For McCormick, the opportunity to venture outside her lane and grow her own skill set as a partner with ePlay is one that she’s extremely thankful for.

“I’ve been in this industry for 10 years and I’m always surprised and flattered by every job that I get because I know that there are 10 other people that would kill for this same job and this same opportunity. But I feel like there were some jobs in the past that I didn’t get but I probably deserved. And some jobs that I got and that I didn’t deserve.”

The Takeaway

So the next time your faced with a new opportunity in your professional career that may be a little risky, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Does this opportunity align with my personal brand?
  2. Does this opportunity provide me with new skillsets?
  3. Does this opportunity have the potential to create new experiences for myself and for others in the future?

If the answer is yes to all three of those questions, follow McCormick’s lead and take the risk. You never know, you could find yourself in a fantastic new reality.

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.


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