Businesses and organizations see opportunities in attracting Pokémon Go players

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O’FALLON, MO (KTVI) – The rapid growth of a smartphone game known as Pokémon Go has business operators sitting up and taking notice. Millions of people have downloaded the game application to their smart phones since it was launched a week ago.

Even agribusiness giant Monsanto, headquartered in Creve Coeur, sees the craze as something positive. The firm's manager of Global Digital Communications, Kate Humphrey, discovered on Monday that a well-known sculpture in the heart of the corporation's campus had been designated as part of the augmented virtual reality game.

The statue called "The Branches of Promise" was designed by Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Winston Churchill.

The statue is designated as a Pokestop. Players gather at such landmarks to pick up virtual game pieces as they search for the cartoon characters in the Pokémon world. The characters appear on top of the actual scene in front of you as you watch your smart phone video screen.

Humphrey said Wednesday "we always look for opportunities to engage with the public, so having it here I thought was kind of an interesting thing for us and very new." Monsanto permits the public on its campus during normal business hours. The firm also sees the game as a plus for employees who take work breaks by walking around the campus.

She is predicting the business connection to the game will grow quickly.  For more of her ideas see this link.

The River City Rascals, a minor league baseball team, is encouraging fans to come to the Friday night game in O'Fallon, Missouri an hour early. Pokémon Go players will be able to wander the stadium searching for the game characters on the field and in the bleachers. The Rascals stadium is also a Pokestop. Creators of the game designated certain landmarks as Pokestops or gyms.

A Creve Coeur church, St. Paul's Evangelical has both designations. Pastor Brian Bish said the church will welcome Pokémon Go players. "We won't be running them off or putting up no trespassing signs or anything like that, "he said. Some churches already see this as a way to connect to young people who are not church members.

The Six Flags amusement park is promoting its operation as an ideal location to play the game. Park management has issued tips to help participants navigate the park and the game safely.

Local police departments have also issued warnings about playing the game while driving.  On Tuesday a fire truck belonging to the Fairview Caseyville Township Fire Department was nearly struck by a van which ran a stop sign. The firefighter reported the driver as yelling an apology saying they were chasing a Pokémon character.

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