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Technology and cultural traditions have a tenous relationship at best. But as the social cohesion that ‘the beautiful game’ has created over the last hundred years is undermined by GenZ’s entertainment consumption habits, Victory league’s platform seeks to provide an alternative to what it coins Wave 1, consuming football through television and Wave 2, through social media.

Explain the ‘Third Wave’ – how is this different from a specialist social media platform?

Essentially, it’s the evolution of how sports and fans interact with each other. In the first wave, you go to the stadium, you turn on the TV or radio, and you get information about your game. The second wave is a little bit more interactive as well as about you being in the stadium. And we want to bring this into the third wave, a more digital environment.

The word metaverse is overused but I think it’s a very good term for what it is like in this interconnected world. Though this concept is really about a feeling of ownership, following teams and having a direct dialogue with athletes that you that you look up to, with clubs that you want to get close to.

We want to use various means, not only going to a stadium or watching it on TV, but also going into digital spaces and experiencing football in new ways with your friends. That is where life happens today – in digital spaces. And we are building on top of this.

The key part is that it’s accessible from anywhere on a phone, on a browser, and in the future on through virtual reality. The reactivity and lack of latency is very little for the amount of players that are using it in the same instance so it’s like literally like 1,000s of players unlike something like Fortnight or Roblox like which can only support 100s. It’s all about getting people together because they love the same thing, like going to a concert and watching it with friends. All of this is going to move digital and we want to create the same feeling.

So how do fans actually access the game in the third wave?

We are platform agnostic. So, you’ll be able to access the events that were running on any mobile browser. It’s a bit like logging into a video game, in a sense, an immersive virtual world. How it works on the day that we run an event, for a game happening with your favorite club, we offer you, as a fan, an alternative viewing opportunity. So instead of sitting in front of the TV and watching your favorite game, we want to give you opportunity to use your phone or your laptop wherever you are – young people don’t sit in front of linear TV anymore.

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A link that you click on social networks, for example, will give you access. In this moment, you become an avatar in the Victory League world, avatar inside a digital stadium, where a replica of the game is happening in real-time. So you will see 3D characters, you won’t see the real players, you will see the avatars of the players.

Using Improbable’s Morpheus technology we can support up to 30,000 concurrent users in the same instance. So we can literally fill stadiums.

Do you buy a ticket for one of those seats?

It’s either a pay-by-view equivalent, or it’s going to be free for everyone. And there’s also some alternative viewing opportunities to play around a little bit. So, for example, why not drive a little car on the pitch and see the game from different angles? We did some tests with with a jetpack, where you can just fly over the pitch.

And we have the real life game broadcast concurrently going on in a small window. The idea is that you would want to have some point of reference to the real world. But maybe over time, this will become more and more blurred, or there will be less of a line.

But in the first instance, like we’re going to show you the real game, which is synchronized with the 3D digital twin, essentially happening at the same time.

What other products/services will Victory League offer down the line?

Essentially there’s three verticals we’re focusing on right now. Firstly, live broadcasts digitally inside the metaverse. The second one is the direct contact between fans and their favorite clubs. So, for this, we’re going to work with clubs to create Fan Fests or matchday experiences that are all happening inside a digital environment. Instead of being a Manchester United fan in India, you have an opportunity to connect with other fans inside this digital environment.

And then the third one is the fan athlete relationship, where we want to target more super-fans that want to get closer to their favorite athletes or idols, and create a more intimate feeling where you can ask questions and get closer to the athlete. This isn’t going to be like 30,000 users watching the game at the same time, but it’s more a small number of attendees in the range of 15 to 20, really giving them quality time with their favorite athletes. Real-time with the avatar of the real athlete. We will show the athlete on the screen as well with a webcam in the first instance, perhaps using a bit of motion capture so the player’s avatar moves like in real life.

How much interest have you had from clubs and how far do you plan to disrupt the traditional viewing business model?

Interest is very good. Because it’s clubs, broadcasting rights holders or TV channels that are all looking into ways to engage a young audience. How do you get young people interested in football? We’re offering a solution that is that is gamified, that is interactive, and at the same time accessible to their target audience.

And we want to offer clubs a way to bring this to the next generation. It’s difficult for clubs to engage their fanbase like they’ve done 20, 30, or 40 years ago. We’re not competing with TV, it’s an alternative viewing possibility for this audience.

What’s next for Victory League? Can Victory League apply to other sports?

We have broadcast games lined up with major teams involved. We’re still in the middle of a season, we have the Euros coming up, also the Olympics so it’s very sport heavy year.

Everything that we’re building is built to be sports agnostic. Of course, there’s a focus on team sport or something that has stadiums and fan engagement around it. But football is the is the biggest sport. And our focus right now is to to to do this a hundred percent perfect for football because then we know we can do it.

Do you imagine there’s going to be a sizable market for this business eventually?

Yes it’s a growing market, as our lives there are more and more online. The next generation are digital natives, and that’s where life is happening. There are other services that offer fan engagement like chats through like video, but for us, it’s around like the interactivity and creating something that you can experience instead of just looking at a screen or watching through a headset. It should feel like you are participating in something and it gives you a feeling of connecting with other with other players or other users around the world because you love the same sport.