England’s Premier League is undoubtedly the world’s most popular soccer league, but it has been lacking in one significant regard: There has been no way to give fans and broadcasters video-game style views of players and highlights.
With today’s announcement from Intel that it’s bringing its True View technology platform to three of the Premier League’s biggest teams–Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal–in the next few weeks, soon, fans from Manchester to Manhattan will be able to appreciate the game in a whole new way. “As consumer media behavior and expectations have evolved, there’s a wonderful opportunity for immersive media to step in and give some of the most avid fans opportunities to interact and engage in ways they’ve only been able to do before in something like a video game,” says Intel Sports’ VP and general manager James Carwana. “Through these systems, it gives us the opportunity to provide views from the pitch in ways fans have never experienced before.”
To pull this off, Intel puts 38 5K cameras around each team’s stadium to capture volumetric data, height, width, and depth. This enables it to render the action in multi-perspective 3D video. Meanwhile, advanced data processing reconstructs the action into content that can be viewed in 360 degrees.
Arsenal Football Club is embracing the technology because of the fan-driven imperative to be as close to the action as possible. “With the 38 cameras installed around the stadium, it will be able to let global supporters feel that they’re a part of the match,” says Arsenal’s commercial director Peter Silverstone. “They’ll be able to see every piece of footage, whether an overhead kick or a cross-field pass, replayed from all angles. That allows for huge interaction across all platforms.” Silverstone adds that the new angles also give the club a new trove of content for its own social and content channels.
One key wrinkle: This is for the teams and their audiences and is not being used by the referees. So you may be yelling at the TV even more at that next missed offside call.
American sports fans will recognize the technology, as it’s been used with both the NFL and Major League Baseball. The expansion to the Premier League represents Intel’s latest move in trying to revolutionize how we watch sports. In 2017, the company was already broadcasting MLB games in VR and entered into VR deals with both the NBA and Spain’s La Liga soccer league.
If everything goes according to plan (the Premier League’s broadcast partners still have to give their final sign-off), Arsenal intends to debut the True View technology for its match against Manchester United on March 10.