Metaverse became a buzzword once tech giant Mark Zuckerberg announced the revamping of Facebook into Meta. However, the term Metaverse came into the picture through Neal Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash” in 1992. Also popular as the Web 3.0 concept, this technology blends physical and digital existence.
The next version of the internet is an open-source 3D virtual world where you can create your 3D avatar and space to do zillions of real-life activities. An immersive virtual space that connects myriad worlds into a single unified digital environment with no physical borders. With an estimated market value of $758.6 billion by 2026, Metaverse is undoubtedly here to stay.
So what is the impact of Metaverse on the sports industry? Let’s find out.
Remote Sports-Viewing Experience
With the sports metaverse, fans will be right in the middle of sporting events from the comfort of their couches. The virtual world of Metaverse would allow spectators to assess every game detail up close and personal by providing 360-degree views of the stadium, replays, slow play, and angle customization options.
You can even enter the field, join cheerleaders, and chat or walk with your favorite player using multi-view camera technology. Besides, you can interact and enjoy matches with your friends in this virtual space, even if living miles apart. For instance, Manchester City is constructing its virtual Etihad Stadium in partnership with Sony, where fans can meet using their personalized avatars.
Numerous Monetization Sources
Apart from interesting interactions, the Metaverse sports arena opens various revenue streams for fans and companies both. Blockchain technology also plays a massive role in the monetization of Metaverse sports.
According to a CryptoSlam report, NBA Top Shot NFT (Non-Fungible Token) sales grew incredibly by 72%. Besides, Stella Artois partnered with an NFT platform Zed Run to generate a new source of income and user engagement through horse racing. It allows owners to rate, breed, and trade digital horses.
Furthermore, you can buy a seat in a virtual VIP box. So no more unavailability issues due to limited seating space in the real world. Besides, virtual stores inside Metaverse can generate new revenue opportunities by selling digital and physical items, like athleisure, souvenirs, sports kits, players’ autographs, and team jerseys.
eSports Tournaments and Sports
Metaverse is already integral in the i-gaming market, helping operators enhance the virtual sports gaming experience. With VR headsets, eSports gamers can absorb the gaming environment inside the Metaverse.
Today, various organizations host multiplayer video game competitions with a prize pool in cryptocurrencies. Besides, it brings together gamers from all across the world to showcase their skills.
Further, Metaverse sports enables you to participate in any of your favorite local or international sports events. For example, Qatar’s latest Metaverse FIFA gaming tournament accepts fans from all around the world. The $25,000 prize pool, fun environment, and interaction with new people make it an enticing experience for participants.
Hence, days are not far when you can play on offshore sites that can be trusted for an immersive sports gambling experience through digital space.
Risks and Challenges
Undoubtedly, the Metaverse is at the nascent stage of its road to building a fully immersive virtual experience for users.
Currently, the sports Metaverse arena requires costly AR/VR tools that are difficult to configure. Thus, it limits the access of virtual space to a smaller consumer segment.
Since Metaverse transfers vast amounts of data, there is also a high risk of cyber-attacks. But experts believe blockchain could effectively provide security through non-centralized data storage solutions.
Besides, various organizations struggle to build deeper, long-lasting relationships with metaverse users. High synchronization, strong audio/visual capabilities, and ultra-low latency will be vital for real-time viewing and engagement. Hence, it will be intriguing to see how Metaverse evolves to ensure users a seamless experience between different virtual spaces.
Even though Metaverse is still in its infancy, experts assume its future is bright and exciting in the sports world. With major market players, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Samsung, working to actualize this digital universe, it won’t be long until the Metaverse revolutionizes the online sports industry.
The newest technology may facilitate teams and athletes to connect with the fans and engage with brands that will help them make real-world dollars.