Seeking to get more young kids engaged with football in general and the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament in particular, April saw UEFA take the tournament to a new platform when it unveiled a trio of mascots in the virtual gaming world of Roblox.
Collectively known as ‘Hat Trick’, Kai, Robyn and Ashley (who were developed by games maker Dubit) first appeared as playable characters in its ‘The Road to Uefa Women’s Euro’ game in the metaverse before debuting in person in England during July’s tournament.
The gamification initiative saw the tournament’s three mascots – Kai (an intelligent number 4), a strong Robyn (number 10) and a skilful Ashley (number 7) – appear as interactive characters in ‘The Road To UEFA Women’s Euro’ skills challenge virtual game.
The game, which was created by Dubit, enables players to dress their avatar in their team’s colours and train with the mascots to earn powers, collect golden tickets, unlock team kits, play matches, earn medals and win trophies.
A series of obstacle courses, known as ‘Obbys’, are tackled by players who will be timed and must complete each course as quickly as possible by scoring goals and collecting golden tournament tickets along the way. A ‘Stadium Obby’ will be unlocked in June in the final run-up to the tournament.
The game encourages kids to ‘take an epic journey from your bedroom, through the neighbourhood gardens, streets, park and training grounds’ and to ‘race your friends, teammates and the whole world to get to the top of the leaderboards’.
The virtual game is complemented by a skills challenge and educational video series on YouTube where Hat Trick (the collective term for the mascots) bring their unique personalities of skill, strength and smarts together with 12 star players including Alexia Putellas (FC Barcelona and Spain), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal FC and Netherlands) and Lucy Bronze (Manchester City FC and England). The videos explain the key skills needed to be a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder or a forward and also explore how to fuel your body and how to have a good mindset for football and life.
The interactive game and skills video series can be watched by kids, parents and teachers on YouTube and was also shared with schools across Europe through the UEFA’s Football in Schools program.
The initiative, which seeks to appeal directly and authentically to young girls and boys aged between eight and 11 through the platforms and channels they use regularly, runs in Roblox and dovetails with a Metaverse Gaming League partnership that will include live-streamed events being hosted on Twitch.
“The Uefa Women’s Euro promises to be a record-breaking tournament. It has the potential to inspire millions of girls and boys to play football, so it is important for us to take the tournament to the platforms and spaces they occupy,” explained UEFA Marketing Director Guy-Laurent Epstein. “We hope our new gaming experience will capture the imagination of children and get them to interact with football and UEFA Women’s Euro in a way that we have never explored before.”
“Europe’s next top players are out there right now, and the UEFA’s Women’s EURO mascot campaign could be the initiative that inspires them to fall in love with the game,” added FC Barca and Spain’s Alexia Putellas. “It’s been brilliant to play a role in encouraging children to be active. We want to ensure that everybody, everywhere has the opportunity to play football, so it’s exciting that this initiative is being rolled out in schools across Europe. But there is no better way to inspire the next generation than by delivering a world-class, entertaining tournament, and we certainly aim to make the UEFA Women’s EURO an unmissable event this summer.”
The Hat Trick mascot campaign supports one of the main goals of Time for Action the UEFA Women’s Football Strategy : a project which aims to double girls’ and women’s participation in football by 2024.
Roblox currently boasts more than 50 million daily active users – of which more than 50% are children under 12. UEFA is activating on the platform to engage and inspire children between eight and 11 to become more active, play and engage in soccer.
The Roblox move sees UEFA follow in the footsteps of an increasing number of sports brand. Just last month Nike challenged kids to build a digital world based around the Air Max sneaker on Roblox.
UEFA’s Roblox game was launched less than 100 days until the start of the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament where Kai, Robyn and Ashley will greet fans in person England from 6 to 31 July. The tournament, which has been delayed since 2020, has already broken ticket sales records and is set to be the biggest women’s international tournament yet.
The tournament is backed by UEFA global sponsors include Adidas, Booking.com, Euronics, Grifols, Heineken, Hisense, Hublot Just Eat, Nike, Walkers, Visa and VW, while the local partners are LinkedIn, Lego, Pandora, Gillette Venus and Starling Bank are among the event’s official sponsors.