The Premier League's New VR: It's Your Time!

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And just like that, we are back! Welcome to the Sports Road, ladies and gentlemen. Tending to make our lives just that bit easier, the technological revolution is up and running. Changing the way we consume sports on a near-daily basis, here at The Sports Roads, we make sure you know about any – and all – updates first… Enjoy!

Here's what we got for ya today:

  • The Premier League’s Newest Tech

  • Golf x AI

  • The Future…

  • The Apple Vision Pro!

Most Valuable Sports Teams:

Let's get into it!

The Premier League is Levelling up!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Run in… 

Wow, where do we even start with talking about the Premier League… I mean, should we focus on the three-way title race? The dramatic relegation battle? Manchester City’s 115 charges?  Or, their newest technological development?

I think you know where this one is going…

Since the announcement of Apple’s Vision Pro, it seems like the talk of the tech-world has been surrounding Virtual Reality (VR). 

Allowing people to transport themselves into realms stretching as far as the imagination can reach, the technology allows for immersive experiences unlike any other; and it looks like the Premier League is set to push the boundaries of what that really means…

Let us explain: 

  • Signing a multi-year partnership with specialists in VR, Rezzil, the Premier League will invest and take an equity stake in the firm. While figures remain undisclosed, the main facet of the deal will be the development of a new VR-style Premier League game set to come out later this year.  

  • Although not many details on how the game will actually look have been released, it has been confirmed that the software will utilise official Premier League licensing, and seek to offer fans the opportunity to put themselves in real-life players’ shoes, recreating classic goals, and more. 

  • Multiple Premier League sides already use the firm’s many systems in training. Having shown its effectiveness in training spheres, many clubs also use the software to create digital twins. 

“We are excited about the ongoing development of VR technology within football. Rezzil are highly respected in the field and have developed an excellent reputation with training products that are being used by many Premier League clubs alongside leading sports teams and leagues around the world… The applications for this technology are expanding quickly and this partnership will see the Premier League working with Rezzil on products that can help redefine player, fan and viewer experiences.”

Will Brass, Premier League’s Chief Commercial Officer

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AI is BACK!

As we keep mentioning, the sport of Golf has been thriving recently… Consistently showing themselves to be as innovative as they come in the sports-technology scene, those involved with the game seem to continually be upping their game. 

From digital experiences, to what can even be defined as a transformation in how the sport is played (TGL), innovation in the scene is – rightfully – dominated by a shared goal to improve fan engagement. 

So, what now, you ask? AI, baby! 

For those who are avid readers of The Sports Road, you would remember that last year we spoke about a massive development in the capabilities of AI. 

Allowing for AI-powered, automated commentary, the technology was carried out across various sports, yet perhaps most successfully, at Golf’s Masters Tournament. 

Specifically leveraging IBM’s Watsonx platform, the AI showed itself capable in providing in-depth analysis, predicting future shots, and projecting player analysis. In fact, the AI was so good, it ended up covering over 20,000 videos!

While this may sound all well and good, there actually is one issue… It’s only available in English! Until now…

Ensuring that all clips will be available in Spanish and English this year, IBM has developed new models trained to natively communicate and understand the language. 

It doesn’t end there, though… Just like last year, in addition to the linguistic features, the firm has added more big changes.

Introducing live data-driven analysis on individual shots, ‘Hole insights’ – a technology that utilises existing data to predict results – will actually be able to translate statistics into logically-interpretive text. 

“The generative AI power of Watsonx is enabling IBM and the Augusta National Golf Club to co-create technology solutions that bring the magic of the Masters to life for millions of fans around the world.” 

Jonathan Adashek, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM

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The Future?

For those unfamiliar with the firm Cosm, it could be time to get familiar…

Dedicated to transforming viewing experiences for the world’s biggest sports, Cosm combines virtual and real-life environments to allow fans the feeling of being inside an arena without having to, you know, actually having to be there… 😅

Presenting events through an 8K immersive experience, fans can be seated together in a stadium-style set up, while watching the event on a – get this – 87 FOOT SCREEN!

Having signed a deal with the UFC last year, ever since, the company has gone from strength-to-strength. Opening multiple venues across the United States, Cosm – in a deal with TNT Sports were granted access to a handful of sporting events.

Importantly, however, this partnership granted fans a view into what the future of the company could look like. Placing a focus on teaming up with broadcasting services, these deals could set a precedent for what the future of broadcasting looks like. Especially after this week's news… 

That’s right. This week, Cosm announced a blockbuster partnership with (drumroll please 🥁🥁🥁) ESPN!

Allowing Cosm total access to the coverage of the NBA, NHL, US Open, and more, the firm’s dedicated facilities could begin to gain MUCH more traction. 

“This agreement represents years of collaboration with ESPN as we continuously work to bring fans some of the biggest and best sports events in the world… Now, we get to extend our work into shared reality, a new category of entertainment bringing fans closer to the action than ever before, with the same standard of excellence that ESPN stands for. With the addition of sports like tennis, incredible new college content, and a wide breadth of championship coverage, Cosm can now super serve every sports fan, regardless of their favourite sport, team, or league.”

Jeb Terry, Cosm Chief Executive and President

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We Need to Talk About: The MLS

Look, usually at The Sports Road, we refrain from talking about the same sport two different times in one Newsletter.

BUT, the ramifications of this story could go on to have some pretty serious implications on the wider world of sports and broadcasting…

Having multiple long-standing partnerships, Apple and the MLS have consistently worked together over the past year-or-so to bring us some pretty cool tech innovations. This, however, could change everything…

Alright, alright. While we may sound pretty dramatic, the intriguing way in which the MLS is looking to produce content on the Apple Vision Pro could serve us an introduction towards what to expect in the future. 

Specifically leveraging the capabilities of Camb.AI – a firm made known to the MLS through their tech-incubator ‘MLS Labs’ – the league will broadcast a match from its developmental league on the Vision Pro in FOUR DIFFERENT LANGUAGES…

How? AI, of course!

Working similarly to the IBM x Masters development touched upon earlier, what sets the MLS’ work apart is the fact that translations are being done in real-time.

Translating games into Portuguese, French, and Spanish, this is especially important (and impressive) as – according to the MLS – it is the first time a live sporting event has ever been able to successfully do this. 

“Soccer is a global game, as illustrated by the players and teams who will be competing at Generation Adidas Cup, as well as in our MLS ecosystem every day, so it is fitting that we are able to offer this MLS Next Pro match broadcast in multiple international languages… MLS Next Pro is a league of innovation and this is yet another example of the league’s ability to test cutting-edge technologies.”

Chris Schlosser, Senior Vice President of E|erging Ventures, MLS

Quick Bites

Meme of the Week

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Quote of the Week

"I didn't even know that they were playing tonight"

Jurgen Klopp on Manchester City’s game against Arsenal this weekend

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