City Football Group, the owners of Manchester City have announced a global partnership with Sony to develop new digital fan experiences and specifically a virtual world for fans of the club.
The first stage of this partnership is a proof of concept and will see real-world digital capture tools used to bring match experiences into a virtual environment via Sony's Hawk Eye system.
Commenting on the initiative, Nuria Tarre, chief marketing and fan experience officer at City Football Group (CFG) was quotes as saying: '
At Manchester City we have a strong pedigree of continuously embracing the latest technologies to enhance our operation – with particular focus on exploring ways to engage and entertain our global fanbase. This partnership with Sony puts City at the development stage of an exciting project that will create immersive digital fan experiences that have never been seen before in football. We’re looking forward to launching this collaboration and bringing together Sony’s industry-leading technologies with the global network of Manchester City fans.”
City Football Group are ahead of the rest of the Premier League in terms of virtual world strategy having created a Metaverse team several months ago. A digital twin of the Etihad stadium to be the focal point of the virtual world and don't be surprised if replica shirts as virtual goods are also available.
Whilst Manchester City are not the first football team to go virtual, they're the first premier league team. Shown right, Ajax re-created their famous Johan Cruyff Arena stadium a few years ago inside Second Life and streamed matches to the residents, a strategy allowing fans across the world to come together and support their team.
Think about this concept for a second....
The capacity of the real-world Ethiad stadium is 55,000 whereas the capacity of a virtual stadium is basically limitless. This will allow Manchester City to potentially sell virtual tickets (even as NFTs) to fans across the world. In terms of the actual experience, (media rights pending) matches could be streamed into screens inside the virtual stadium. Hinting at the role Hawk Eye could play in this scenario, it could even be possible for live matches to be re-created digitally. Pretty cool!
This is a great example of how brands can leverage the Metaverse to both augment and enhance their relationships with customers or in this specific case fans.
At Metaversed we've been working with brands in The Metaverse since 2006. If you're a brand-owner or marketer considering a Metaverse strategy then get in touch.
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