The Metaverse is a game-changer with potential benefits not limited to the virtual world. The original concept is becoming a reality as technologies align this vision: blockchain, AR and VR, AI, 3D reconstruction, IoT, and 5G. Seemingly indefinite, its use cases are easy to identify, but they’re multiplying at a fast pace. For instance, the landscape of sports is evolving in the Metaverse. More than half of fans would pay to watch a sporting event in the Metaverse that features their favorite athletes. It offers a level of interactivity and immersion that traditional games can’t provide. Each world in the Metaverse can be designed and managed independently, giving fans a comprehensive range of choices.
Metaverse platforms typically operate on blockchain technology, so it’s necessary to purchase and trade cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. The Ethereum price experiences swings on both daily and long-term valuations. Once acquired, the virtual money can be used to buy the merchandise of their favourite clubs, celebrate the sport with other fans, and watch games and events. The next step is to create the actual sports Metaverse. Not long ago, Manchester City unveiled their plans to build an Etihad stadium in the Metaverse. The English football club is joining forces with Japanese tech giant Sony to create a digital version of its stadium, which fans can explore as avatars.
Etihad Will Be the Central Hub of Manchester City in A Virtual World
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City, will become the football club’s center of activity in a virtual realm owing to image analysis and skeletal-tracking technology developed by Hawk-Eye, a subsidiary of Sony, the leading provider of audio/video electronics and information technology products. Using a dedicated headset, City fans worldwide will be able to watch matches as if they were in the stadium, so they’ll be more excited about what will happen next. Simply put, they’re part of the action. Fans will control what they’re watching, as there’s no broadcast point of view.
Officials at Manchester City working on the project anticipate a time when the club can fill the Etihad Stadium several times. The digital version of Etihad will have unlimited seating, providing comfort to spectators and communicating the colours and image of the club. Manchester City has signed a three-year agreement with Sony, and despite work being in the early stages, the experts have already visited Etihad to create a digital map and reimagine the space in the virtual world. The Metaverse, therefore, helps reduce geographic barriers so that fans can watch the game live and have a slice of the action.
Other Football Clubs Have Already Stepped into The Metaverse
Some football clubs have already tapped into the Metaverse: AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain, FC Barcelona, and Liverpool. FC Barcelona is an excellent example of successful integration with the current metaverse platforms. In collaboration with BCN Visuals, the Spanish giant launched an audio-visual digital art NFT recreating “Cruyff’s impossible goal.” As we can all remember, in a league game versus Atlético Madrid, Cruyff netted the ball home with the outside of his boot. The NFT immortalizes the iconic moment of the legendary goal. FC Barcelona wants to leverage NFTs to build its Metaverse to attract more fans.
Empty stadiums during the COVID-19 pandemic have proven the sports business model can be fragile, and it’s necessary to diversify revenue streams. In the Premier League, match income is the most significant revenue, so digital ecosystems like the Metaverse play a key role in ensuring future revenue for leading football clubs. Improving user experience and launching fan tokens can go a long way in boosting engagement. Diehard sports fans and enthusiasts are willing to try new things to get first-hand experience with their favorite teams, so sports clubs should use tokens to organize unique experiences.
Manchester City’s Foray into Web3 Could Be of Interest to Liverpool FC
The Reds will likely follow suit to increase revenue and continue the trend in the football world. Liverpool FC continuously rewards fans and innovates to create the best possible ways for them to remain engaged with the team, so they’re heading further in the Metaverse. To be more precise, fans can purchase the Liverpool team gear and customize their digital avatars on Meta platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. The recent hype around the Metaverse and Web3 has accelerated attention to how they could be used, so Liverpool FC has gotten into the game, even if the Metaverse is in its infancy.
Liverpool FC might soon tap into the new Metaverse economy, following in the footsteps of Manchester United, which has a multi-year partnership with Tezos, an open-source Proof of Stake blockchain. Manchester United have always been an innovator at heart, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they didn’t remain indifferent to the emergence of NFTs, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. A new digital era is kicking off where people can play games, shop, meet friends, and watch their favorite football players daily. Manchester United isn’t just waiting for a better Internet but embracing new ideas, experiences, and benefits.
Fans Will Find All the Promises and Events They Know from Real Life
Football has fanatical followers who manifest excessive enthusiasm and intense uncritical devotion. Sports fans want to meet their favorite players in person. It’s the holy grail. The Metaverse serves as a unique experience for fans unable to visit the stadium, so fans can meet their favorite players in the virtual world, interact with them, and acquire products that can’t be bought in real life while sitting comfortably on the sofa at home. Until now, the first contact with football was through FIFA – in other words, a video game experience. Nevertheless, it doesn’t compare to experiencing live games in person. Speaking of which, FIFA continues to expand into the digital space, offering gamified experiences in the Metaverse.
Overall, Manchester City is reimagining football in the Metaverse, and in a bit of while, fans will be able to enter the digital version of the Etihad Stadium. Let’s not forget that the partnership with Sony is in development. It should be released in 2023, but it’s still under consideration.