Soccer is undoubtedly the world’s most popular sport. The game has evolved significantly over the last few decades by introducing new technologies and innovations to enhance the viewing experience. Innovations such as goal-line technology, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), and other AI-based advancements are just a few examples.
Continuing the trend of adopting new technologies, the owners of Premier League giant Manchester United are now preparing to introduce augmented reality experiences for fans. They aim to create new revenue streams, despite already being among the top money-making sports teams worldwide.
Manchester United reportedly considering body cam on players during matches
Manchester United is preparing to undergo significant administrative and squad overhauls in the upcoming seasons following the 25% stake acquisition of the club by INEOS and Jim Ratcliffe, the new co-owner. They have mapped out new transfer plans and recently appointed Omar Berrada as their new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The new co-owner, Jim Ratcliffe, will be in charge of all sporting activities, alongside the majority shareholders, the Glazer family, who have owned the club since 2005. Following the sale of minority stakes to Ratcliffe and his company, they are now exploring new ways to generate additional income.
The Glazer family wants their players to wear special cameras during games to integrate augmented reality experiences. Fans would have the option to view the game from the perspective of the players’ cameras by paying a fee. This concept was envisioned by former vice chairman Ed Woodward.
A source close to the club stated, “The big idea, or maybe the big hope, that the Glazers have—and this was driven by Ed Woodward—is the emergence of augmented reality.” to ESPN.
He added, “The technology is already out there, whereby a player could have an AR wearable on his body and a supporter anywhere in the world could pay a small fee to experience a game through the eyes of his favorite player.”
Manchester United’s previous revenue report
Despite their sporting decline over the past decade, Manchester United continues to rank at the top, boasting a large fan following worldwide. In terms of revenue generation, the club remains in the exclusive list of the top ten clubs for the previous season.
Reportedly, the Red Devils generated an estimated £745 million in revenue last year, including income from sponsorship deals, broadcasting revenues, and matchday revenue such as season ticket sales and other commercial means of revenue.
Currently, they rank in the 5th spot, only behind the likes of PSG, Barcelona, their local rivals Manchester City, and La Liga giants Real Madrid, who hold first place with over £800 million in annual revenue for the 2022–23 season.