The Metaverse presents a tantalizing prospect for sports teams like Manchester City vying for more immersive fan engagement.
English Premier League club Manchester City has begun construction of the world’s first football stadium in the Metaverse in partnership with Sony.
City has partnered with Sony to help fans get involved in every game, wherever they are. The project, still in the early stages of its three-year duration, saw virtual reality specialists carry out an initial digital mapping of the club’s stadium to develop a virtual reality stadium. This venture has the potential to generate huge revenue for the club, given the club twitter has 11.6 million subscribers. The club’s stadium, known as the Etihad, will be the centerpiece of a virtual reality world made possible by Sony’s Hawk-Eye tracking technology and expertise in image analysis.
What the future might hold
City Marketing Director Nuria Tarre had this to say about the anticipated the metaverse experience, “The appeal we could imagine of having a metaverse is that you can recreate a game, you can watch the game live, you’re part of the action in a different way from different angles, and you can fill the stadium as much as you want because it’s unlimited, it’s completely virtual.The Metaverse is best described as a virtual world with a highly sophisticated visual and artistic experience and a crypto-based DeFi backbone, filled with autonomous communities and powered by interoperable blockchain networks.
The seven-time English Premier League champions are exploring the possibility of fans meeting players from across the metaverse and purchasing merchandise unavailable in the physical world. It is likely that purchases will be made using cryptocurrencies.
Participation in the metaverse is achieved via a virtual reality headset and joysticks to interact with the virtual space. Reality Labs, a division of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, seeks to be an early mover in the metaverse. With its recent purchase of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has also clarified its game for the Metaverse.
The current development of the metaverse makes it possible to play a football match in the virtual world, having the appearance of a FIFA video game. The ideal of watching real matches in a stadium is ‘not too far off’ according to Andy Etches, co-founder of Rezzil. Rezzil is a company responsible for a metaverse game Player 22 used to train Premier League players.
If the metaverse concept catches on, Premier League clubs could sell streaming rights directly to fans through their own metaverses. Gartner Infotech recently predicted that 25% of people will spend an hour in the metaverse by 2026 for, among other things, entertainment. Premier League broadcasts are currently sold to TV networks as a package.
Not everyone is thrilled that the Metaverse is in the hands of large corporations or institutions. In a survey conducted by the Advokate Group, 77% of 1,000 US respondents were particularly concerned about Facebook’s role in the future of an immersive virtual world.
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