Manchester City football club getting to grips with VR for fans

Rachael Power is an editor at TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.

Picture credit: Manchester City FC

The potential of VR to transform how people view and interact with sports is huge. Just take games such as EA’s FIFA franchise and numerous other sporting titles released every year. If simple video games can make such waves in sport, imagine what fully immersive VR can do for the sector?

It’s not just sporting games who are capitalising on the opportunity. Clubs, such as Manchester City, have spent time and money developing their own VR experience for fans.

Last year, it became the first club to install a 360-degree camera in the players’ tunnel and has also tested VR for live matches, working with LiveLike VR and Sky. However, it’s still in an experimental phase.

The club has also recently launched an iOS/Android app and limited edition headset for its fans, CityVR. 

The app includes exclusive footage of Manchester City FC and women’s team players practicing their skills and other 360 degree videos such as:

  • Fans can have a free kick is “blasted past” them by a City player
  • A panoramic view of the Etihad Stadium from the centre circle
  • Stand in the middle of a training pitch as our Women’s team players pass the ball around
  • Play their Find The Ball game in 360° against the clock

They’ve also gamified the app slightly. As users play within the app, they can uncover ‘Cityzens’ – a type of Club fan membership – rewards to redeem online.

CityVR app and headset are both free but are on a first come, first served basis and fans can apply online.  It’ll be interesting to see how sports clubs and broadcasters, such as Manchester City and Sky, roll VR tech out even further following its experimental testing.

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