The Football Association (FA) has delivered a world first by deploying Virtual Replacement Technology on the LED perimeter signage to target different worldwide broadcast audiences in their recent international match against Costa Rica. The deployment during England’s FIFA World Cup warm-up game played at Elland Road stadium in Leeds last week was the first time anywhere in the world that this LED-driven technology has been in full live, commercial use in international football.
Through the use of this virtual technology the advertising seen on the LED perimeter boards in the broadcast coverage was completely different in the targeted territories to the messaging on show to fans in the stadium and across ITV’s domestic coverage and the World Feed.
The successful implementation of the virtual feeds was delivered for The FA by domestic rights holder ITV in partnership with Supponor, who have pioneered the technology, together with stadium technology specialists ADI.
The Virtual LED solution, installed at Elland Road during last season, is the product of a partnership between the two companies to integrate Supponor’s virtual advertising replacement and ADI’s digiBOARD technologies, and is now rolling out further across top tier sports markets.
Commercial rights were managed by Interregional Sports Group (ISG), the UK-based sports media group. ISG secured the rights from The FA to deliver the virtual perimeter advertising for the game and commercialised two concurrent virtual feeds, one being delivered to the Americas and the other to Asia, Australasia and parts of Europe.
The FA’s Senior Broadcast Manger Tom Gracey commented: “The potential for Virtual Replacement Technology is substantial. Perimeter LED displays have become a fundamental platform for activating brand partnerships in sport, so the ability to change that message to make it relevant for different fans around the world is hugely appealing for us and our partners. We were delighted to be able to collaborate with various stakeholders in order to deploy it on this occasion.”
“Working with Supponor we delivered two virtual feeds,” explained ISG joint CEO Tony Ragan. “One feed carried advertising specifically focusing on fans in Costa Rica and the Americas region and the other carried adverts of a broader international appeal as a result of teaming up with our sales partner Sportseen,” he added.
“We are technology agnostic,” continued Ragan. “We look at what is the best solution for a specific rights holder and match the technology to that requirement and found Supponor’s digital billboard replacement (DBR) to be the best technology for this fixture”.
Supponor’s CEO, James Gambrell, commented: “We’re extremely pleased to see our Virtual Replacement Technology being deployed on the international stage. The work we’ve done with The FA follows a number of significant developments, including approval of our system for use in Germany’s Bundesliga as of next season. We look forward to helping The FA to continue to innovate and be at the forefront of driving value for its partners around the world.”
ADI’s CEO, Geraint Williams, whose company is the UK market leader in perimeter LED technology added: “The FA have shown real leadership in their keenness to explore virtual advertising. It’s an exciting time for the technology, and the next 12 months will be a game-changing era that will transform the way clubs, brands, leagues, and federations interact with their audiences.”
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Supponor pioneered and is the market leading specialist in virtual replacement technology of TV-visible signage for real-time broadcast and streaming of in-venue sports advertising. Our advanced technology delivers the most powerful and impactful brand activation in broadcast sports by integrating powerful augmented reality overlays with traditional broadcast quality solutions. This dramatically enhances the value of media and marketing rights for mass-audience sporting events for sports rights holders and their brand sponsor and broadcast partners.
Specialists in large audience communication, ADI has been established for 27 years and are one of Europe’s leading names in sports venue fan engagement platforms. Having installed some of Europe’s first stadium LED screens in 1997, the company has gone on to dominate the stadium LED market, whilst also providing similar services to retail and leisure markets. ADI’s LED installations can be found in venues across the globe, including FIFA World Cup stadia.
In addition to in-stadium technology, ADI provides venue broadcast connectivity. Their Live Venue broadcast fiber network connects over 100 venues, allowing them to deliver content to and from the stadium, including live match feeds to both domestic and international rights holders.
ISG is an established international sports media group focused upon global premium sports. We strive to provide our clients with the optimal engagement products. ISG specialise in connecting brands to specific markets around the world through the use of virtual advertising at major sports events.