The global sports industry is colossal. According to recent analysis, the industry is expected to be worth over $700 billion by 2026. The metaverse has the potential to transform sports and open up new monetization routes in ways that most sports bodies haven’t even imagined would be possible. In this blog, we’ll explore 4 ways in which the metaverse will transform the sports industry.
The metaverse will give sports fans the opportunity to engage with their favorite sport on a whole new level. The days of just watching the match on a flat screen will be a thing of the past. Through the use of immersive technologies like AR and VR, fans will move from being passive viewers to active participants of an experience. Instead of watching the match or the race with friends and then talking about it afterwards, fans will now be able to attend the game virtually with their friends or other fans at the stadium or the racetrack. Fans can also engage with other fans, teams, or athletes in ways that have never been possible before.It doesn’t stop there. Race fans could have the chance to explore every corner of the Formula 1 car and even experience how it feels to drive around the iconic Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo. With haptic clothing, fans will be able to feel the vibrations of the track as they drive through the city streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine. Being able to experience physical sensations in the metaverse in this way is already possible. Existing haptic technology can be used in wearable devices such as vests, suits and gloves, and works by applying forces and vibrations to simulate touch and sensations.Tennis fans will get to experience how it feels to walk the players’ areas of Wimbledon, and will even get the chance to experience the excitement of playing a match against a friend while the crowd cheers on.The metaverse will make it possible for fans to engage with sport on a much deeper level than ever before.
Fans will have the freedom to personalize their viewing experience in ways that are not possible when watching the match on a limited 2D screen. Imagine being able to experience the game in 3D from any number of multi-cameras. Rugby fans could watch the match while sitting on the crossbar, feeling the need to duck when New Zealand boot the ball their way.The viewing area will no longer be limited to a screen sized space. Fans will be able to view the main fixture with their preferred replays alongside it, shown in a second area of the field of view. In this extended viewing space, statistics about previous games, teams, and players can be pulled up.All of these expanded viewing options will be both life-size, and 3D. Imagine watching a football match and having the ability to select your favorite player during the game, who will then appear in a separate space in front of you with all the statistics that you want to explore.
Limiting factors, such as location, time, and cost, that prevent viewers from engaging more with the sport they love, will be a thing of the past. No matter what the sport, the metaverse will make it possible for fans to experience it in ways previously unthinkable. Fans will be able to follow every Grand Prix race as it moves location, feel the excitement of being at the Olympics no matter which country is hosting it, and experience the different atmosphere at each of the tennis Opens and Wimbledon.Those who follow sports that are popular in other parts of the world will finally have the opportunity to watch that sport firsthand. People from anywhere in the world will be able to experience being at the Buffalo Bills vs Minnesota Vikings NFL game in Buffalo, New York without the associated travel time and costs.
As the metaverse opens doors for sports fans to engage and interact in unprecedented ways, sports bodies will be positioned to take advantage of this by creating sponsored metaverse experiences to suit each and every fan. Rights holders will have the opportunity to monetize premium seats and even multi-camera views.Metaverse experiences will offer sports bodies an interactive 2-way platform, to push merchandise sales and target superfans directly. Club or tournament items are no longer limited to real-life physical products. Virtual assets will be as desirable as real-life assets and will add a whole separate monetization stream. The next generation of fans are already kitting-out and customizing their avatars, so immersive sports brand extension that is closely linked to the main event will be the next step. Future fans may even buy both a real and virtual set of the same sporting merch. By removing the real-world limitations of time and space, the metaverse infinitely expands the potential audience for sporting events and experiences.
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