Premier League champions Manchester City and its new partner Sony have begun building a virtual replica of the Etihad Stadium, which will be the team’s central hub in the metaverse.
Etihad Stadium is the home of Manchester City, England’s top soccer team at the moment. On Friday, the team announced that it had signed a three-year agreement with Sony, which will provide virtual reality to experts to use image analysis and skeletal-tracking technology from subsidiary Hawk-Eye.
Manchester City hopes fans will enjoy all the benefits of having a virtual stadium. Although COVID restrictions are still hampering travel options for some, the ability to watch games in an immersive metaverse setting could be a relief to fans itching to get a taste of a game setting again.
The team is tearing down geographic barriers for fans who want to be part of a live or recorded match by beginning construction of the virtual Etihad Stadium. City Football Group chief marketing officer Nuria Tarré told Inews on Friday that:
“The whole point we could imagine of having a Metaverse is you can recreate a game, you could watch the game live, you’re part of the action in a different way through different angles and you can fill the stadium as much as you want because it’s unlimited, it’s completely virtual.”
Sony’s Hawk-Eye subsidiary has long been dedicated to enhancing sports for viewers and officials. It helps officials make in-game judgments in real-time with specialized replay technology. Its visualization applications will be used to recreate the dimensions of Etihad Stadium in the metaverse.
Cointelegraph wrote on Jan. 23 that “increased interactivity and ownership of virtual items” were particular assets to having a base in the metaverse. Manchester City may be jumping on both of those opportunities to give fans around the world more accessibility to the team and stadium.
Man City’s foray into Web3 and the metaverse could be of interest to Liverpool FC. The Reds may follow suit in order to boost revenue, according to Echo, a Liverpool news outlet.
Rivals Manchester United have also pushed into the Web3 ecosystem with a new partnership with Tezos, announced on Feb. 10. Tezos will be the team’s official crypto and training kit partner and may also help develop digital merchandise.