The Gujarat Titans became the first Indian sports team to venture into the metaverse last week as the newest Indian Premier League franchise unveiled their logo in the virtual space known as the ‘Titans Dugout.’
Although this metaverse logo reveal might be considered insignificant at this stage, it is a landmark step considering the future of sports, as traditional organisations embrace the concept of virtual and augmented reality, a phenomenon that could change the way sports is consumed in the years to come.
The metaverse, for those of you who don’t know, is thought of as the next version of the internet, where you can present people in virtual spaces, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Think of it as a 3-D virtual world using augmented reality that connects people and allows them to do and be whatever they want.
Using immersive technology, people can work, learn, shop, hang out with friends, go to concerts or stadiums in the metaverse, and as we inch towards this new reality, we could also see plenty of changes in the sports industry…including launching a new logo with your Captain, premier Batsman and your Coach if you’re the Gujarat Titans!
So here is what the metaverse means for the future of sports:
New Sports Viewing Experience
The metaverse would completely revolutionize the way we watch sports, allowing millions of fans from across the world to attend a live event and gain unprecedented access to sports teams and players. Inside the metaverse, instead of just watching a game on your TV screen, you can be at the game through virtual reality in the metaverse Wankhede or Wembley Stadium, and possibly even chat with the players in the dressing room.
Additionally, they could even walk onto the pitch and experience a matchday like atmosphere from the heart of the arena, alongside the players and opponents, thanks to the advancements of multi-view camera technology. They could also sit in the dugout, interact with the mascot and cheerleaders or watch the action from various vantage points that wouldn’t be possible in the real world.
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In the metaverse, there are no physical restrictions. Hence, every fan could enjoy the game from the perfect viewpoint in the best seats in the house with curated stats, live bets or even your own fantasy team’s score shown on the big screen in the stadium.
Greater Monetisation Opportunities
For sports organisations and rights holders, the metaverse provides a vast range of monetisation opportunities as fans from around the world are allowed to interact, sit in virtual stadiums and shop.
Sports teams could sell tickets to virtual VIP boxes, which guarantee special access and seating along with the ability to interact with players, team management and staff. These VIP boxes could also allow fans to play virtual reality games in between the live-action, ensuring there is some entertainment for the guests at all times.
Teams can also sell physical and virtual goods such as limited-edition memorabilia and souvenirs such as jerseys, collectables or other merchandise.
While the metaverse has plenty of benefits for the consumption of sports content, it can also help people stay physically fit and play sports. Using Zwift or Peloton, people can enter bicycle races all across the world from the comfort of their house or using virtual reality headsets, people can enter a boxing ring for a quick sparring session against an AI.
Athletes can also add a virtual reality training regimen to their practice sessions or pre-match routines, allowing them to use virtual reality to train in a game-like environment with crowds and opponents, better preparing them for the trials and tribulations of the actual action on a game-day.
While it is interesting to think of the possibilities of the metaverse, the traditional sports industry as we know it is not going anywhere anytime soon. However, as technology develops, the future of sports viewership and consumption could change forever, and just as companies had to prepare for the internet 20 years ago, every brand will need to have a metaverse action plan in the years to come.