Manchester City, the current Premier League champions of England, has launched construction of the world’s first football stadium in the metaverse, with the help of virtual reality (VR) specialists from Sony.
As part of a three-year deal, City have teamed up with Sony, and although the project is still in its early stages, specialist teams from the firm have already visited the Etihad Stadium to digitally map it and develop a virtual reality version of it according to an exclusive report by inews.co.uk.
The club’s home stadium, the Etihad, will be transformed into Man City’s central hub in a virtual reality world using image analysis and skeletal tracking technology developed by Hawk-Eye, a subsidiary of the giant technology and entertainment.
Manchester City officials working on the project see a day when the virtual Eithad Stadium could be filled multiple times over, allowing fans who may never travel to Manchester to watch live games from the comfort of their homes, wherever they are in the world.
Additional concepts being considered include the ability for fans to meet other players in the metaverse, communicate with each other, and purchase things not accessible in the real world.
Nuria Tarre, Head of Marketing and Fan Engagement at City Football Group, said:
“The appeal we might 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 many as you want because it’s unlimited, it’s completely virtual.
“I think the traditional image of someone sitting on a sofa, staring at a screen, is something we can’t imagine will still be the reality not even 10 years from now, maybe five years from now. . Things are moving much faster than you think.
If football is a success in the metaverse, it has the potential to revolutionize the way television rights are distributed.
At the moment they are being sold to broadcasters as part of a Premier League-wide package, but teams are now considering selling them directly to fans, possibly through their own metaverses, in the future.