How Close Are We to A Virtual World Cup?

by Guy Frum

Football has its ups and downs, victories and defeats, milestones and controversies. But everyone would agree that it is a beautiful game. But it took a hit with the Coronavirus pandemic. Fans were not allowed into the stadium. Goal celebrations were restricted to handshakes. Weird. Now imagine if we didn't have to go through all these. What if fans could attend a football game virtually? What if a match could be played in the Metaverse in real-time?

Nike and Manchester City recently reached an agreement to do a virtual rendition of the club's stadium. The Etihad. With a capacity of over fifty-five thousand seats. The club is looking to enlarge its fan base in a world where everyone is online with different kinds of entertainment vying for their attention. A 90-minute game that requires you to attend a stadium or sit in front of a TV could soon lose its appeal.

The Future of The Beautiful Game

Soon, all clubs would have a virtual twin stadium, a replica of the physical original.
It's derby day, and City is about to face arch-rivals Manchester United in a Premier League Match. The game has been talked about for weeks and is eagerly anticipated.
But the seats are filled. Tickets are sold out. What do you do? Watching TV with friends isn't the same as being right there in the stadium with thousands of die-hard fans, all focused on the action.
Imagine if all you needed was your VR headset to be transported right there into the stadium. Avatars, so like their replicas, with the players in the field about to kick off. VR hardware is so advanced; you can feel the vibrations of the stadium as the fans jump around and celebrate the misses, the dribbles, and the goals. The goals. The rocking of the entire stadium in rapturous jubilation. All this, and you're still seated on your sofa, donning a Headset.

Nonsensical Fallacy or Inevitable Outcome

With the fierce competition among football clubs, when Manchester City achieve their aim, it won't be long before other clubs follow suit.
With virtual stadiums and physical competitions, the gap between both would be connected eventually. Hosting the Champions League, The Premier League isn't far away. And maybe, just maybe, the grandest stage of them all, The World Cup, is just on the horizon.