When it comes to expanding into all areas of life, nothing has the potential for massive change quite like the Metaverse. The sports industry recognizes this massive potential and footballing giants such as Barcelona and Manchester City have already begun their foray into this new and uncharted virtual world.
English Premier League (EPL) champions Manchester City recently revealed their new third alternative kit for the 2022-23 campaign in the metaverse on the gaming platform Roblox’s Land of Games. It is the club’s first-ever kit launch in the metaverse. Roblox is an online gaming platform allowing users to create and share their own games.
The Kit Unveiling
The jersey features a neon yellow backdrop, known more accurately as “fizzy light” with three dark, broad stripes, the color official called “Paris Night,” according to the kit’s manufacturer, Puma. Laura Coombs, Kalvin Philips, and Ruben Dias were the three stars from the men’s and women’s clubs to sport the kit in real life.
Puma explained that the jersey resembles the Manchester worker bee—a nod to the city’s industrial past—while the texture of the three dark bands honors Manchester’s vibrant street art scene.
Man City’s Metaverse event featured the Roblox lobby reskinned to represent their home Etihad Stadium. It also enabled users to play around with the home and away kits. The club announced earlier this year that they’ve teamed up with Sony to create a more precise stadium replica soon. It will be the first to do so.
City-supporting gamers were also treated to games and competitions to win prizes as part of the Football Rush event, which Puma put on. There were digital versions of the new kits in the form of bespoke Roblox skins.
The German athletic apparel giant will also host a Football Rush tournament on YouTube that will have two teams of five Roblox users play for a chance at splitting $10,000 between them. The prize money can be taken as cash or applied toward Roblox.
A Sporting Metaverse
While this will be Man City’s first kit unveiling in the Metaverse, the path into extended reality (XR) is well trodden for football clubs. Well over 35 clubs of different leagues have a presence in the digitized realm and that’s just in the UK. The combination of NFT collections, tokens, and Metaverse interaction, for example, can offer fans an experience that includes living the best memories of matches, a metaverse iteration of famous stadiums, and the user’s virtual selves.
Other clubs with plans to land on planet Metaverse include Barcelona and arch-rivals Real Madrid who have put their differences aside to file for a joint cryptocurrency and metaverse trademark application.
The Italian Serie A also live streamed a match to specific markets in May of 2022 on the virtual world’s platform The Nemesis. In doing so, Serie A became the first major football league to broadcast a live game in the Metaverse. Even though we are only at the beginning of the Metaverse revolution, it’s clear major sporting clubs recognize the value and possibilities in the way fans will enjoy watching and interacting with their beloved clubs in the not-so-distant future.
On a final note, it is not only the mega-rich teams entering the Metaverse and NFT market. Less well-known professional and community teams are utilizing them.