Live SportProductionTech Innovation

OZ Sports fills empty stadiums with the sight and sounds of virtual fans

By 14th May 2020 One Comment

The tech filling empty stadiums with virtual fans.

Sports tech company OZ Sports has launched an AR product called OZ Arena to bring fans from home into live broadcasts when football resumes.

Fans will appear as personalised avatars, and will make genuine cheers from home via an app. They will even be offered their preferred seat in the stadium.

OZ Arena will be offered as a standalone product or as part of OZ Connected Stadium, the all-in-one product for leagues and federations to augment sports by capturing, enhancing and distributing content.

The product will enable physically deserted venues to appear and sound like they are full to viewers at home. It was created in partnership with RVX Productions, which typically works on feature films and high-end TV.

As well as completely filling a stadium with virtual avatars, OZ Arena makes it possible to augment real spectators with avatars on the empty seats.

Meanwhile, the audio from the apps capturing fans’ responses at home are aggregated using low-latency synchronisation and AI algorithms, to manage volume levels. So fans yelling loudly won’t overpower the audio stream.

Gudjon Gudjonsson, CEO of OZ Sports, said: “Due to Coronavirus, we will see more games to be played behind closed doors with bans on large-scale public events. It is our job to keep the experience still as exciting as during the non-pandemic world. We do that by learning from esports, bringing new exciting elements into the real-world broadcasts. Our augmentation filters can be customised based on the branding strategy and the creative plan of the league.”

Dadi Einarsson, CEO of RVX, adds: “The team for this solution has previously delivered visual effects for blockbuster films, TV, video games and VR projects including Everest, Gravity, The OA, 2 Guns and Sherlock Holmes. The AI and machine learning team include PhDs and specialists on both player and ball tracking that have developed a low-latency perception framework for a detailed semantic understanding of sports games.”

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