It seems like the furor around ‘the bizarre secret society of fallible referees’ that so dominated the 2010 World Cup is now a distant memory. Technology has finally won the day and become an integral part of this game too.
The technology is now an absolute pre-requisite of every first class football match; social interaction with the fan base has blossomed and profits have come flowing back into many a financially-challenged club.
At yesterday’s England vs Germany clash, more than 60 million fans voted for the player-of-the-match via Facebook. Every dribble, tackle and foul is analyzed in real-time.
Rather than detracting from the flow of the game, the pervasive technology has kept viewers glued to every moment of the match. Every decision by the referee is made open and transparent by direct viewer access to all the digital data that the referee sees himself. Instant replays are fed live to the ref’s 3D ‘Star Trek’ eye-piece and his discussion with the ‘Video Ref’ is broadcast live to all media.
Murdoch’s ‘Virtual Reality World Cup’ has been a phenomenal success that has been called ‘Immersive Wii for Millions’ and is NewsCorp’s fastest growing revenue source.
One new feature is created by the game ball being impregnated with nano-mirrors and a special scanning camera that gives fans a 3D ‘ball’s eye view’ of the action. The over-35s seem to be struggling with the unrelenting speed of the action but their kids are delighted.
There has been an absolute explosion of interest in the World Cup, unprecedented in its history. The media have relished the ability to generate viewer participation and targeted advertising based on real-time attitudinal changes. The gaming industry has created a plethora of new ways to include individuals and communities in matches and the profits derived from them.
FIFA reports that this has been a new turning point for the fortunes of professional football now that 100% of the world’s population is connected to ubiquitous wireless networks.
FIFA ex-President Sepp Blatter could not be reached for comment.