HOT SECTOR TO WATCH: SPORTS METAVERSE
The evolution of immersive sport or the “sports metaverse” – that place that brings sports fans together through virtual reality, NFT sports player card marketplaces and live streaming – is becoming a very hot business sector. As startups and large corporates enter the opportunity over the next five years, they are going to need reliable, flexible talent from a variety of industries to meet exponential demand. This is a sector for creative and IT freelancers to watch. And for some, a dream industry to work in.
“Real-time 3D content”— will account for almost half of all visual digital content by the end of the decade” – This is John Riccitiello’s prediction about the future.
“When the CEO of Unity Technologies (the game engine that over 70% of all mobile games/apps is built on) says such a thing, one should listen to it,” according to LaSource, a B2B agency based in Paris, focused on sport, digital and technology.
“This is in comparison to what he estimates at only about 3% today. The easy availability of 3D rendering today will allow for more immersive digital experiences, now indistinguishable from photorealistic. And this will bring us one step closer into the Metaverse,” said LaSource.
While the news of this future phenomenon is impressive, it leaves the die-hard, annual ticket-holding fans in a tough position. Will the sports metaverse eventually replace the in-person live sporting experience? Will it take away club revenues and displace to big corporates instead? Will it create financial hardship for second and third division tier players?
Some startups are claiming that they will make the sports metaverse “work for all”. Companies, such as MyTVchain, a France-based sports, and blockchain webTV project, which has recently raised seed capital of $880k from some of the big-name blockchain venture capital funds and private investors.
How can the sports metaverse stay true to athletes and fans?
While multimedia corporations are racking up insane amounts of cash flow, talented athletes can struggle to fund their own competitions, such as those gearing up for the Olympics.
The problem with the multi-billion global sports industry, according to MyTVChain is that the revenue model and sports ecosystem is “skewed”.
“While streaming giants make the big bucks, the players, their teams and federations receive very little, despite doing the heavy lifting,” said a company spokesperson.
They continued: “Moreover, fans participation has been reduced to just paying spectators and consumers. The element of passion and devotion risks getting eliminated from sports if we don’t do anything soon.”
What is Fan2Earn?
MyTVchain claims it is a “one of a kind” platform that “decentralises” the streaming of sports, redirects the streams of revenue back to athletes, teams and federations while rewarding supporters for their loyalty and undying support.
Come 2024, the French startup hopes its Fan2Earn (V4) will be part of the Olympic Games. Its end goal is to help more than 1,000 athletes all around the world to monetise and animate their community so they can afford to attend the Games and interact with fans.
The platform also has a state-of-the-art 360 degree NFT marketplace and a staking and farming platform for its native $MYTV token (BEP-20). The company has plans to launch its $MYTV token via an ICO on the 8th of February, 2022. An ICO is a process or event where a company attempts to raise capital by selling a new cryptocurrency.
Through their ‘Fan2Earn’ model, MyTVchain hopes to democratise how athletes and clubs are incentivised to achieve success, and how immersive fans can make their loyalty to their favourites. Interaction and consumer loyalty and rewards can be earned via different options:
MyTVchain says it changes the status quo of sports: centralised streaming companies have acquired complete control over revenues from streaming. This leaves athletes, clubs and sports federations looking for external support and fundraising to sponsor their endeavours.
“With MyTVchain, sports actors can directly earn revenue from streaming and sales from NFT collectables. As they succeed, their fans are also rewarded,” said the startup.
“MyTVchain looks to add unique NFT card collections on its platform as well as minting capabilities for creators. The future also includes exciting partnerships, CEX listings, competitions and partnerships with renowned athletes.”
What is BT Sport up to in the metaverse?
“Currently for most sports fans the optimum place to watch an event is being there in person,” said BT Sport director of mobile strategy, Matt Stagg in a Broadcast Now report.
“Nothing can beat the atmosphere and excitement of being in a packed stadium. For many people, this is not possible, so the next best thing is to be in front of a big screen watching it with your friends. We feel that immersive technology can bridge that gap and give you a stadium experience from the comfort of your home and still being able to socially interact with friends,” said Stagg.
BT Sport has been exploring new immersive experiences and is working alongside other parts of BT as well as external partners in the 5G Edge-XR project, (5gedgexr.com).