The first football game broadcast in the Metaverse was a bit of a flop

Sunday was a big day for the World Wide Web: AC Milan’s home game against Fiorentina has become the first football match ever broadcast in the metaverse. If the Rossoneri faithful were focused on another step towards the Serie A title, outside of Italy, this game marked a leap to the new frontier of a 360-degree virtual experience that claims to be the next revolution in our everyday life.

Serie A announced the news with great pride: “We stand as the pioneers of a phase of 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 Luigi De Siervo. , CEO of Serie A. In short, after so many international setbacks (including the failure to reach the World Cup), Italian football has been able to ride the metawave ahead, joining the (few) other innovators in the world of entertainment by offering the same as virtual concerts, private events and everything related to shopping, social life and work. So far, so futuristic. Unfortunately, the initial result was a bit of a flop.

Match in the pub, version 2.0

If you are asked to conjure up images of a football match broadcast in the metaverse, you will probably think of a rather revolutionary experience: whether in terms of viewing the match, inconceivable interactivity, impossible shots see on TV or, even more simply, the possibility of traveling inside the stadium in real time, allowing virtual fans to really feel part of the event. In reality, none of this happened.

Milan-Fiorentina in the metaverse was transformed into a virtual room in which the match was streamed and accessible with an avatar, giving users the opportunity to interact with others by inviting them to chat or send reactions. By downloading a free NFT, you could copy some Serie A merchandise – which seems to indicate that virtual club scarves and shirts are right around the corner. On top of that, it was basically pub 2.0, with no major technological innovations.

When can we watch all matches in the metaverse?

The potential is enormous: both because the metaverse is now seen as the next step in the development of global technology, and because this uncharted terrain could enable new levels of creativity. Why not combine footage from all the cameras to let the viewer choose exactly the shot they want, like a futuristic version of the A-League’s “Heskey Cam”? Or program the sensors worn by players to appear in augmented reality data, with information updated instantly?

English clubs are getting in on the action. Manchester City have just hired a metaverse manager (obviously), and Birmingham City have become the first EFL club to “enter the metaverse”, by partnering with an esports company to digitally map St. Andrew’s. Spurs even came up with something similar a few years ago when they built the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Away from the fledgling stages of English clubs, last weekend’s Metaverse experience was reserved for audiences in the Middle East and North Africa, and it’s likely to be some time before we see it in Europe – where the battle over broadcast rights will peak. Until then, there is plenty of room for improvement in metaverse football: clubs shouldn’t worry about empty stadiums just yet.

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