Soccer fan or not, you’re likely familiar with Spanish giants Real Madrid — they’re like the Yankees of European football. Sure, they’re easy to hate because of their success, the way they do business or even just because they have Ronaldo. But let’s venture outside football allegiances for a moment to discuss something the club and the Spanish league is doing to revolutionize the spectator experience.
There are 38 cameras permanently installed around the grounds at their stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu. Each camera has been fitted with Intel’s replay system, which combines the footage from 5k ultra-high definition replays and 2D footage from all other cameras to give the viewer access to a 360 degree experience.
Naturally, those promoting the technology are very bullish when it comes to the tech’s use in football, as MEDIAPRO production manager Oscar Lago told the official La Liga website: “Other sports are slower-paced, but in football everything can change in the blink of an eye. It’s a challenge to have this innovative technology at our disposal.”
Successful trials were conducted in the NFL and NBA, but La Liga will be the first European football league to utilize the technology. This development comes after last December’s El Clasico became the first match to be broadcast in virtual reality. You can bet that this won’t be the last we hear of Real Madrid’s innovations, as they’re redeveloping the stadium starting this summer with plans for a £360m retractable roof among the upcoming changes. Plus, the VR game took place in Barcelona’s Cam Nou, so there’s no chance Real will want to let their bitter rivals take all the new tech glory.
With consumers using new technology and being glued to their mobile devices, it makes sense to invest in this sort of stuff. The spectator experience is one that needs to constantly evolve to keep interest high, and it’ll be interesting to see what people think about these new viewing options and if they even stick around.