- Soccer club Manchester City has partnered with Sony to forge into the virtual world and draw in fans.
- Sony said on Tuesday it would help the club develop an entire virtual world out of its Etihad stadium.
- Big companies and sports clubs are diving into the metaverse, where virtual land sells for millions.
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Champion soccer club Manchester City has joined forces with Sony to launch a virtual-reality world based around its state-of-the-art stadium.
The English premier league team made Sony a virtual fan engagement partner and together they are going to create a global online fan community within a virtual Etihad Stadium, according to a statement from Sony on Tuesday. The virtual stadium will be an exact replica of "Man City's" home stadium and will feature virtual experiences, customizable avatars, as well as interactive loyalty programs.
"At Manchester City, we have a strong pedigree of continuously embracing the latest technologies to enhance our operation – with particular focus on exploring ways to engage and entertain our global fanbase," Nuria Tarre, chief marketing and fan experience officer of City Football Group, said.
"This partnership with Sony puts City at the development stage of an exciting project that will create immersive digital fan experiences that have never been seen before in football. We're looking forward to launching this collaboration and bringing together Sony's industry-leading technologies with the global network of Manchester City fans."
Sony also echoed Manchester City's vision to further the club's relationship with its fans through the metaverse.
"Sony will support Manchester City to further increase the value of its content and engagement with its fans around the world," Toshimoto Mitomo, Officer in charge of Intellectual Property and Business Incubation Platform, Sony Group Corporation said.
Manchester City is not the only sports club to delve into the burgeoning metaverse. In the US, the National Football League opened a virtual store recently as part of the Roblox video-game, hoping to benefit from the accelerating demand in the digital space. Sports clothing maker Nike created "Nikeland" - a virtual world on Roblox in late November.
The "metaverse" refers to a range of online 3D virtual environments, where people can play games, build things, socialize, work and even trade and earn crypto assets. Crypto giant Grayscale said in a report this week it could become a $1 trillion annual revenue opportunity.
Indeed, people already spend millions of dollars on it. A plot of land on the Sandbox gaming platform sold for a record $4.3 million this week. This broke the record previously held by Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, for its $2.43-million purchase of a plot in Decentraland, another virtual platform.