As a result of Niantic’s nomination program for small businesses (that took place earlier this year), there are now 1000 small businesses that are apart of the initial launch for the Local Business Recovery Initiative. These businesses are widespread, taking up many countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and Japan, with the planning of adding more names to the list on the way. As Niantic also says in their initial announcement, they will be adding new tools for sponsored businesses “in the near future,” which can range from promotional campaigns to newly updated in-game features revolving around the business.
First announced back in June, Pokemon Go creators called upon the community to nominate small local businesses with the end result being a selected 1000 for the early stages. As the names and nominations rolled in by the thousands (some reports even saying they were over 38,000), the chosen businesses would be chosen from five different countries.
While they are apart of the Local Business Recovery Initiative, these businesses will receive the same perks as other sponsored Pokemon Go sites without having to pay any of the fees. Because of this, they are unable to decide whether their location becomes a Gym or a Pokestop, but either way the location add will bring Trainers their way. The businesses that are apart of the early stages of the Initiative will have free access to sponsored programs as well. As Niantic senior product manager Carla Li says,
Niantic’s Local Business Recovery Initiative is designed to spotlight many local businesses beloved by players and which have been negatively impacted by the global pandemic. Becoming a sponsored location will drive awareness and aid in recovery for both the business and the communities which they serve.
In their other program titled the “Niantic Sponsored Location Program,” which is still in its beta phase as of now, will also allow the business to choose which they want to be in the future along with giving them the opportunity to create their own involvement in the Pokemon Go game map. Along with this appearance on the map, the business will also be apart of Niantic promotional campaigns and have a chance in appearing in other Niantic titles by name.