The English Premier League champion aims to become the first football club to enter the Metaverse in a three-year partnership with Sony. The club hopes to fill the virtual Etihad stadium several times over, allowing fans to watch live games from anywhere in the world.
The U.K.’s Manchester City football club, the reigning English Premier League champions, is on the verge of making history by becoming the first club to construct a football stadium in the Metaverse. The replica Etihad stadium will be built with virtual reality (V.R.) specialists Sony.
According to an exclusive report by inews.co.uk, City has inked a three-year deal with Sony. The partnership will see the club’s home stadium transformed into the central hub of Man City in a V.R. world thanks to image analysis and skeletal-tracking technology developed by Hawk-Eye, a subsidiary of the tech and entertainment behemoth. The report shows that even though the project is in its initial stages, several teams of Sony’s specialists have already toured Etihad stadium to create a digital map so they can develop a V.R. version of the stadium.
The ability to watch games in a metaverse setting is expected to offer relief to fans
City hopes that football fans that travel restrictions by Covid-19 restrictions have hampered will enjoy the benefits of having a virtual stadium. The ability to watch games in a metaverse setting is expected to offer relief to fans longing to get a taste of a game setting again.
If everything goes according to plan, the team will have torn down geographic barriers for fans who intend to become a part of live or recorded matches at the virtual Etihad Stadium. The club’s group chief marketing officer Nuria Tarre said:
“The whole point we could imagine of having a Metaverse is you can recreate a game, you could watch the game live, you’re part of the action differently through different angles, and you can fill the stadium as much as you want because it’s unlimited, it’s completely virtual.”
Clubs would can air their home games in the Metaverse
The initiative by Manchester City means that soon, the ultimate goal would be to allow fans to experience the live setting of a Manchester City F.C. home game from home. Should that come to pass, the initiative could become lucrative for the world’s leading football clubs. Such clubs would be to air their home games in the Metaverse, removing the need for broadcasters.
According to a CNBC report, NBC retained the U.S. English and Spanish-language broadcasting rights to the English Premier League with a bid of more than $2.7bn over 6-years. Tarre added:
“I think the traditional image of someone sitting on a sofa, watching a screen, is something we cannot imagine is going still be the reality not even in 10 years, maybe in five years already. Things move much faster than we think.”
If football is a hit in the Metaverse, it has the potential to revolutionize the way television rights are distributed. At the moment, they are sold to broadcasters as part of a Premier League-wide package, but teams are now looking at the prospect of selling them directly to fans, maybe via their Metaverse, in the future.