The First Ever Football Game Broadcasted in the Metaverse Was a FlopNovember 26, 2022
The World Wide Web had a big day on Sunday when AC Milan’s home game against Fiorentina became the first football match broadcasted in the metaverse. Outside of Italy, this game marked a leap towards the new frontier of a 360-degree virtual experience that claims to be the next revolution in our everyday lives. At the same time, the Rossoneri faithful were focused on taking another step toward the Serie A title.
“We present ourselves as pioneers of a period in history full of technological innovations that pave the way for revolutionary broadcasting possibilities, reaching and involving more and more young fans around the world,” said Serie A CEO Luigi De Siervo.
In short, despite so many international setbacks (not least failing to qualify for the World Cup), Italian football has been able to ride the metawave ahead of the pack, joining the (few) other innovators in the entertainment world by positioning itself in the same way as virtual concerts, private events, and everything else that revolves around shopping, social life, and work.
So far, so forward-thinking. But unfortunately, the initial outcome was a flop.
Version 2.0 of the pub match
If we ask you to imagine a football match broadcast in the metaverse, you’ll probably imagine a pretty revolutionary experience: whether it’s viewing the game, inconceivable interactivity, shots impossible to see on TV, or, more simply, the ability to travel inside the stadium in real-time, allowing virtual fans to truly feel a part of the event.
In reality, none of this took place.
In the metaverse, Milan-Fiorentina was transformed into a virtual room where the match was streamed and accessed with an avatar, allowing users to interact with others by inviting them to chat or send reactions. You can get some Serie A merch by downloading a free NFT, implying that virtual club scarves and shirts are on the way. Aside from that, it was essentially going to the pub as version 2.0, with no significant technological innovations.
When will we be able to watch all of the metaverse’s games?
The potential is enormous because the metaverse is now considered the next step in global technology development and this uncharted territory could enable new levels of creativity. For example, why not combine the images from all the cameras and let the viewer choose the exact shot they want, similar to the A-“Heskey League’s Cam”? Or can sensors worn by players be programmed to appear in augmented reality data, with information updated in real-time?
English clubs are joining in on the fun. Manchester City has recently hired a metaverse director, and Birmingham City has become the first EFL club to ‘enter the metaverse,’ collaborating with an esports company to digitally map St. Andrew’s. Spurs even offered something similar during the construction of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a few years ago.
The metaverse experience from last weekend was reserved for audiences in the Middle East and North Africa, and it will most likely be some time before we see it in Europe – where the battle over broadcasting rights will reach a climax.
Until then, there’s still plenty of room for growth in metaverse football: clubs should be concerned about empty stadiums later.
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