Can the Metaverse change the way we consume Sports?

As a single, all-encompassing, and immersive virtual environment made possible by the usage of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets, the “metaverse” is a version of the Internet that is in its initial phases of development. A “metaverse” is a term used to refer to a network of 3D virtual environments that emphasise social interaction. The words “meta” and “universe” were combined to create the phrase “metaverse,” which first appeared in the science fiction book Snow Crash in 1992. Because of the growing demand for immersion, the development of the metaverse is frequently associated with improvements in virtual reality technology.

Web 3.0, a theory for a decentralised internet, has recently sparked interest in metaverse development. For public relations objectives, terms like “Web 3.0” and “metaverse” have been utilised to exaggerate the development progress of numerous related technologies and projects. Concerns about information privacy, user addiction, and user safety exist in the metaverse because of issues with the video game and social media industries as a whole.

But what does the metaverse mean for Sports? The answer to this query is not trivial. Traditional sports somehow have nothing to do with the world of the metaverse, but on the other hand, as a result, the sports world will profoundly change. The metaverse reality will essentially look to alter how people watch and consume sports initially. Sports fans will congregate in a virtual sports stadium with their virtual avatars, purchase, and wear fan gear from their preferred teams, mingle, celebrate sports with other fans, and, of course, watch the games and festivities. Of course, there are no longer any physical or geographical limitations. Any number of fans can watch the Superbowl in a metaverse stadium in the metaverse.

With the aid of multi-view camera technology, fans can even enter the playing field itself, join the football cheerleaders, and watch the game from a variety of angles. Finally, the metaverse enables everyone to hang out with their friends in the same space, even if they are physically thousands of miles apart. In the metaverse, sports fans will not only be present at sporting events but also right in the thick of them, all while relaxing on their couches or sitting at their computers.

This sounds like a vision of the future that will never come true, but the metaverse is one step closer than you might imagine. The Etihad Stadium will be virtually reconstructed in the metaverse, according to the Manchester City soccer team, who are the first to make this announcement. This will make it possible for soccer team supporters to view live games without going inside the stadium. As Miah explained in his book ‘Sport’s digital future: biodigital design, e-sport, mixed reality, fan engagement and gamification,’ this points at the factor of immersion increment that VR and AR pose for the future.

In conclusion, as Demir et al. (2022) have explained in their paper, the concept of sports and metaverse are not far from each other. Sports and even sports brands in the metaverse will increase in the future, and the magnitude of changes to be expected from this is simply immeasurable.

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