PanStadia & Arena Management Magazine is the undisputed world leader for the business of stadia, arenas, sporting events and venues on a global scale.

AR puts football fans in closed-door stadia

OZ Sports has teamed up with RVX Studio to launch innovative Augmented Realities (AR) technologies that are set to bring fans from home into live broadcasts when football resumes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Virtual fans can personalise their experience with their own avatars, club shirts, genuine cheers from home via an app – and even appear in their preferred seat.

Unlike other ‘crowd noise app solutions’ currently being discussed, the OZ ARENA product not only provides the inclusion of fan avatars via AR but also allows them to provide their own audio rather than just choosing from pre-selected options.

OZ ARENA, while standalone, also forms part of the OZ Connected Stadium, the one-stop-solution for leagues and federations to augment their sports by capturing, enhancing and distributing content.

With the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ conversations undergoing, and the Bundesliga set to start again behind closed-doors this weekend, OZ Sports believes this is a viable solution to keep the fan experience as exciting as it is in the non-pandemic world.

With the new solution, which also integrates into the wider OZ Connected Stadium, spectators can be dynamically added to live broadcasts with the use of advanced augmented reality technology.

OZ ARENA technologies can either completely replace the stadium entirely or augment spectators into existing empty stadiums. The process is added to each camera feed in the workflow opening up support for multi-camera processing.

The servers aggregate all fan audio, using low-latency time synchronisation and AI algorithms, to manage volume levels, enabling fans to yell as loudly as they like remotely, without overpowering the audio stream. These solutions enable broadcasts to maintain full integrity and sound effects during fan-free games.

Gudjon Gudjonsson, CEO of OZ Sports said:

Due to Coronavirus, we will see more games to be played behind closed doors with bans on large-scale public events. It is our job to keep the experience still as exciting as during the non-pandemic world. We do that by learning from esports, bringing new exciting elements into the real-world broadcasts. Our augmentation filters can be customised based on the branding strategy and the creative plan of the league.

The idea is to protect the integrity and experience of the game, by turning the attention away from the empty stadium, and instead replacing it with appealing surroundings to make the game more interesting, and as close to reality as possible. These are times to explore and experiment, to make sports even more appealing and to bring it closer to the latest developments in esports.

Watch a video here.