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NBL VR-01

Courtside NBL seats fast-becoming a (virtual) reality for many

  • The global augmented reality and virtual reality market is poised to reach US$209bn in 2022.
  • AR and VR headsets are expected to have sales of more than 30m units annually by the end of 2023.
  • Deloitte Global predicts that there will be more than US$2 billion in sports-related NFT transactions in 2022.

The digitisation of sports has become transformative, spurred by growth in capturing and analysing athlete data, adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, sports gaming platforms, and the rise of NFTs.

According to Deloitte Globals’ 2022 Sports Industry Outlook: Scouting the biggest trends in sports, the use of VR and AR in sports has surged over the past few years, with new applications for training and simulation, broadcasting, and in-venue experiences.

Sports organisations are looking to combine the best of both the physical and virtual worlds, as are media players, by enhancing live events and bringing energy, immediacy, and excitement of in-person experiences to the digital realm.

Could getting courtside NBL seats via VR or AR become a reality? Well, could be as Deloitte says in 2023, this blending will likely accelerate as emerging technologies gain wider adoption.

The global AR and VR market is poised to reach US$209bn in 2022. AR and VR headsets are forecasted to have sales of more than 30 million units annually by the end of 2023, as previously reported by Grafa.

“With the greater deployment of 5G and its low-latency benefits, AR applications are multiplying,” the Deloitte report said.

Another major trend accelerating the merging of physical and virtual worlds, Deloitte says, is the rapid growth of sports-related NFTs.

Known as non-fungible tokens, NFTs are non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain (a form of digital ledger), that can be sold and traded as digital files such as photos, videos, and audio.

A plethora of leagues and athletes are making digital collectibles, video clips, and enhancements to physical collectibles available for sale and trade. Deloitte Global predicts that there will be more than US$2 billion in sports-related NFT transactions in 2022.

Sports-related NFTs have seen a lot of attention and investment over the past year, opening the door to additional blockchain-enabled innovations.

There’s also been an influx of players paid in crypto, however some teams are also accepting membership with the NBL’s South East Melbourne Phoenix the latest major Australian sporting team to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Whether it’s the NBL, NRL, overseas in the Premier League or UEFA Europa League, or if it’s Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour, the digitisation of sports is becoming ubiquitous.

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