English Premier League soccer side Southampton FC has joined the growing number of clubs that have installed a virtual advertising system enabling pitch-side content tailored to different TV audiences around the globe.
Southampton FC signed a deal with stadium technology specialists ADI to install new Virtual Hybrid perimeter LED displays around the pitch at St Mary’s Stadium, which use augmented reality from Supponor to replace the image for different markets.
The content and virtual ad insertion is remotely managed by a team at ADI’s fiber connected production hub and enables the club to commercialize the space multiple times over and therefore generate more matchday revenue.
“We’re excited to be one of the first clubs in English football to have a fully functioning Virtual Hybrid system. Following a competitive selection process we chose ADI because of the functionality and quality of their technology. The market is clearly heading toward the adoption of virtual advertising, and there is definitely demand from sponsors. The ability to combine that functionality with a system that is UEFA compliant is extremely appealing to us,” said David Thomas, Southampton FC’s commercial director. The same UEFA compliant technology has also been deployed in the German Bundesliga, which has been in action since the start of the 2018-19 season.
“We’re entering a new era in the way clubs activate commercial partnerships. Sponsors are demanding greater value and more opportunities to reach their audiences, and virtual advertising certainly offers a platform through which to achieve that,” said Geraint Williams, CEO, ADI.