Virtual-Reality Soccer

by Nigel Assam

In a further attempt to expand their brand and give viewers around the world the feeling of being at the game, the English Premier League, in association with Sony and Electric Arts, is hoping to introduce immersion technology. Imagine sitting in your own living room in front of your HD television, with headphones on and choosing which part of a select stadium to sit in, whether at the Stretford End in Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium, the Kop at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium or the Shed End at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. “It’s Avatar-style,” quips Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s chief executive. Possibilities could include viewing games from a corner flag, behind the dugouts, or from the directors’ box. You can turn your head in either direction and get panoramic views.

Just like the real thing. Only it’s not. For overseas viewers it seems an innovative experience. Scudamore hopes, however, that it won’t cut into match attendance in England itself. Watching soccer, however, is a social experience for many and this technology certainly has its limits. But as a way to enhance and expand the EPL brand, it’s an interesting concept.

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