The combination of augmented reality and sport is offering exciting new possibilities for broadcasting, marketing and gaming.
Augmented reality in broadcasting
“Augmented Broadcasting” is already widely used for live broadcasts of sporting events, whereby powerful computing power is used to digitally process real-time game and performance stats, results or display partner logos at the venue. Since 2012, major broadcasters such as the BBC, always at the cutting edge of technology, have taken the process one step further by integrating more sophisticated augmented reality technology and superimposing studio images with match footage, as was the case for the Euro 2012 (pictured) and more recently for this year’s Wimbledon.
Howzat! Strengthening fan loyalty with AR
In India meanwhile, cricket, the much-loved national sport has also come into the digital era. In the spring this year, the Royal Challengers Bangalore introduced augmented reality-enhanced tickets, giving fans access to useful features such as live traffic updates from areas surrounding the stadium and parking and a call-a-cab service, as well as innovative features such as 3D stadium views, team store and video highlights, all of which are designed to strengthen ties between the teams and their fans. The feature uses Point, a platform for augmented reality apps developed by Intel-funded company TEliBrahma.
Similar marketing initiatives have been tested in other sports, such as baseball: the Philadelphia Eagles have started offering season ticket holders augmented reality features accessed via the official Eagles’ app, featuring player stats and information, and even messages from the players themselves, and videos on upcoming matches.
For (virtual) posterity
Not to be outdone by the Eagles, the New York Giants promoted at the Super Bowl 2012 their new app which allows fans to virtually try on and take photos with the new Tiffany-designed Super Bowl ring, and then share the photos on social networks. The initiative was not only a huge success but bode well for the team, who won the Super Bowl. Football has also been experimenting with similar technology: the UEFA Champions League app allowed fans to photograph themselves with the trophy.
Retuning to India and cricket, another augmented reality app is being used in gaming arcades in Mumbai’s smart Lower Parel business district. Created by Indian entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia and Sachin Tendulkar, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen in cricket, the simulator allows fans to play against their cricket heroes. The pair has also applied their combined cricketing and technology expertise to a Formula 1 simulator.
Fitness and the Quantified Self
Strava apps which track runners’ or cyclists’ performance and share them with their followers are becoming hugely popular, particularly with ultra-competitive athletes: the apps not only keep track of the user’s run, but also those of others using the app on the same run, and compares performance.