Due to the ongoing pandemic across the globe, we have seen unprecedented bans on sports at all levels. As Governments slowly begin to ease lockdown measures and life becomes a little more reminiscent of life before Covid-19, international sporting bodies will have to make decisions on how their respective sports can be reintroduced in a way that is safe, for both the teams and fans. Could we now be at a pivotal moment for VR in the way we watch and experience sporting fixtures?
Virtual Reality is becoming more accessible and prevalent across the globe throughout many industries. Simulating experiences from the familiar world to places as far out as the imagination can think of, there is no denying that investment in this technology will lead us down a path where VR will become as crucial as the internet and mobile phones. No longer are VR/AR only seen in Tom Cruise Sci-Fi movies, but it is a technology ready to revolutionise the Sports Industry in every aspect, which in turn means big money.
VR can enhance an experience for everyone involved. Let’s think about American Football as an example. From a training standpoint, film has long been used as a way to record and replay previous games against opponents and to analyse strengths and weaknesses. However, VR offers the opportunity for players to be completely immersed through tracking the movement of the head and changing the view in response. Footage collected during previous games and practices can be relived and dissected as a team, which can show areas of improvement from a first-person vantage point.
VR undoubtedly can be used as a tool for players and coaches to improve, but what about the wider audience? In 2019, the NFL accounted for 47 of the 50 most watched shows annually in the US Market, with an average of 16.5 million per game. That’s a lot of people. This technology could be used in a way which offers fans the opportunity that they may not be able to experience in real life. Why watch a Football game on the television when you could experience being there in a real-time simulation? Connecting fans with the game on a deeper level will only strengthen interest in the sport. Ever wanted to go to the NFL Super Bowl? Or even better, fancied playing with the team you support? This technology has the ability to make that happen.