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Tech Stack: Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and more

Featured image credit: Telefónica

Spanish LaLiga football club Atlético de Madrid and telco Telefónica have piloted a new initiative to deliver a 5G-powered virtual-reality experience for fans at the Cívitas Metropolitano.

The project debuted during Atlético’s recent match against Osasuna and was offered again during Sunday’s game against Real Sociedad. The experience allows fans to watch the match from different angles via tablets or Meta Quest Pro VR glasses that receive real-time images captured by 360-degree cameras located around the stadium.

Fans will be able to sample views from each stand, as well as the tunnel area as teams walk out onto the pitch. Three pre-recorded scenes will also show the changing room, a stadium light show, and the atmosphere in the lead-up to Atlético’s 120th anniversary celebrations.

To ensure there is no time delay between the real-life action and the content being viewed, the video can be sent from the 360-degree cameras to the VR glasses in less than 500 milliseconds. Telefónica worked with mSurgery, a startup that specialises in virtual reality and real-time video distribution, on the pilot project.

Leonor Ostos, innovation manager at Telefónica España, said: “This immersive experience has been a technological challenge with which we wanted fans to enjoy football in an innovative and unprecedented way. 

“The joint work with Atleti Lab – the club’s innovation division – in a stadium at the forefront of technology such as the Cívitas Metropolitano, has been essential to develop this use case. The capabilities of the latest technologies such as 5G and connectivity have been used to pave the way for a different way of enjoying sport that puts the fan at the centre of the experience.”

Elsewhere in LaLiga, Barcelona has teamed up with Plastiks to launch a series of NFTs, with proceeds to support the fight against plastic pollution.

An exclusive collection of NFTs will be released as part of the Unleash Your Passion drop, which will feature a total of 3,000 collectable animal-themed pieces of digital art. Barcelona said that each of the NFTs will contribute to removing 35 million kilograms of plastic from the planet.

The first collection will contribute to a reduction in plastic pollution of an amount equivalent to the waste from four football matches. The owner of each $30 (£24/€28) NFT will also have access to benefits and rewards.

Digital services and consulting company Infosys has revealed new innovations as part of its continued partnership with the French Tennis Federation (FFT).

The innovations are powered by cloud technology, AI, mixed reality, data and analytics, and are designed to enhance the fan experience at the ongoing French Open. Fans will be able to practice and measure their serving skills with the Infosys x Wilson Smash Corner at Roland-Garros initiative.

Other features of the partnership will include enhancements to the Match Center and a virtual reality experience that will place fans at the centre of a virtual game. The Infosys Roland-Garros 3D Art Museum, a dedicated digital space to the tournament’s heritage, has also unveiled the Yannick Noah Room to mark the 40-year anniversary of Noah’s grand slam win in 1983.

English League One football club Bolton Wanderers is set to fit a new big screen and LED advertising boards at the University of Bolton Stadium ahead of next season.

Bolton chief executive Neil Hart told The Bolton News that the club will also be upgrading its Wi-Fi system. The upgrades will be funded by the Wanderers Bond scheme.

Bolton’s home ground will be rebranded as the Toughsheet Community Stadium on July 1 after the club recently signed a five-year naming-rights deal with local recyclable building products manufacturer Toughsheet.