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After a long hiatus, fans are slowly returning to stadiums and arenas all around the world to watch their favourite athletes and teams play sport. We are set for an amazing summer of sport with the Euros kicking off on June 11th, Wimbledon is back on June 28th and the Summer Olympics begin in Tokyo July 21st (fingers crossed!).
I think we can all agree that even if we can’t be there in person to watch the events ourselves, fans really do add to the atmosphere and experience for all involved, so it's great news that we will get to see spectators back at most events over the coming months.
To celebrate the summer of sport, we wanted to take a look at some ways athletes, teams, and broadcasters have been using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to enhance the fan experience and also help them stay on top of their game!
Rezzil Player 21 is a VR training system that helps footballers train effectively without the risk of injury. Backed by former Manchester City player Vincent Kompany the experience allows players to go through the motions of training and helps develop muscle memory as well as allowing them to virtually compete with other players around the world. The tech also helped players minimise the negative effects of isolation during lockdown by incorporating the whole stadium experience including crowd noise.
Would you like to see NBA All-Star LeBron James slam dunk right in front of you? Sure you would! Well, Snapchat made that happen by creating an AR lens for House of Hoops by Footlocker. Watch a 3D slow-motion version of LeBron as he scores one of his iconic slam dunks. A video of the Snapchat experience posted by LeBron himself hit over 2m views, watch it here.
Back in 2019, fans were given a sneak peek of what 5G and AR could do to enhance the fan experience when watching live sports, and it was awesome! Giant 3D holograms of the players appeared at halftime, as well as overlaying match data on the pitch, providing an insight into what stadium experiences might look like in the not too distant future. Fans could also take selfies with the players using AR technology at smart screens around the stadium.
We recently worked with the University of Florida Football team, which offers one of the premier programs in college football in the US, to create an Instagram filter that would allow fans and recruits to virtually try on the Florida Gators jersey. The effects are now live on its Instagram channel where fans can try on the jersey and practice their ball throwing skills. Give it a go here.
Fans with the new BT Sport App can experience a number of additional AR features that will augment their viewing experience when watching Premier League matches. ‘Match Day Experience’ offers AR viewing on the go. The app also uses AR to allow fans to virtually walk into their home stadiums, take a look around and access behind the scenes content.