In a rapidly changing world, we must adapt in the swiftest way possible. This is why we thought it was of the utmost importance to host two panels dedicated to the future of the web and technology at our Football Innovation Forum on one of the hottest topics of the moment: the metaverse. You’ve heard about the concept, but how much do you really know about what is in store for the coming years? Look no further, we have put together a set of the most interesting and important questions that you need to be answered thanks to the opinions of the experts that were present in Sevilla.
This report was initially featured in our WFS Digest, our insider’s guide to the latest and most relevant thoughts and practices from within the football industry. You can subscribe to WFS Digest HERE.
We’ve come a long way from when Web1 began to trend in the late 80s. Nick Marullo (Cinco’s CEO) explained this evolution in a way that makes perfect sense and is easy to understand: Web1 focused on taking physical banners and advertisements from the street and putting them in a format called the internet through words and images. Companies then realised the need for real conversation amongst and with consumers and fans which gave way to the birth of social media platforms, content creation, and blogging known as Web2. However, we are now at the doors of Web3 which will revolutionize the internet forever, moving from 2D to 3D, with ownership and immersion being the two key elements in this new mode of consuming the web.
The topic was discussed in two different panels:
‘Demystifying the Metaverse – the X factor behind your hybrid sponsorship and fan engagement strategies’ that counted on the presence of:
- Nicolas Marullo (President, CINCO)
- Jorge Paradela (CMO, Sevilla FC)
- Ramón Alarcón (General Business Director, Real Betis)
- Mounir Zok (CEO at N3xt Sports) as moderator
‘Explore the Marketing Metaverse: Blurring the boundaries between the old and new industrial realities’ with the participation of:
- Kike Levy (Sports Southern Europe Lead, Meta)
- Fred Antunes (CEO, RealFvr)
The experts delved into and answered some important questions:
When was the metaverse born?
Fred Antunes: “The word metaverse is not new at all, it is just an evolution of what we have lived 15-20 years ago. Now we have 5G which means a much better and easier way to facilitate connection and many more people are dipping into technology in comparison to 2005. Therefore, today we have a much better condition to scale up the product.”
????️ "One mistake is that everyone thinks metaverse is only VR – it's more than a virtual space which can be experienced through different devices."
— World Football Summit (@WFSummit) May 18, 2022
How will we access the metaverse?
Kike Levy: “One mistake is that everyone thinks the Metaverse is only VR – it is more than a virtual space which can be experienced through different devices. It can be accessed through VR but also through mobile phones, laptops, desktops… it will be easily accessible for everybody.”
What is the main difference in comparison to Web2?
Ramón Alarcón: “The big thing that has changed with Web 2.0 is the conversation. Everybody understood that people want to create communities, they really want to have conversations and people want to have a new identity in a new world. So now, the metaverse has arrived where you have a new world with interaction, there’s a lot of potentials there. GenZ is going to be there interacting, so for a football club, we have to be there too.”
Why are people investing in the metaverse even though it won’t be ready for approximately a decade?
Nick Marullo: ”The metaverse is not a place to jump and go right now, so why are people buying land in the metaverse? Because they hope that they’re going to buy land right next to one of their digital stadiums. So, their land is going to be worth a lot of dollars and then they can sell it. The way we’re going to buy in the metaverse is going to be through crypto.”
Kike Levy: “Metaverse gives new possibilities and new experiences to fans. Football clubs should embrace new tech to stay ahead of the curve and give the best experience to their fans. It’s key to use the tools available today and prepare for the next big thing already – always start with the basics,” which was one of the main topics Kike touched on in his recent interview with World Football Summit.
How can clubs prepare for the metaverse?
Jorge Paradela: “The first step is digitalizing the assets. This is the most important thing because you will use those assets to create a virtual world where people can go or use that virtual world in other metaverses. We need to try different things. We’ve seen behaviors changing a lot, and just by trying things, we’re going to know how people behave and we’re going to pick up on the way they want to interact with us.”
Kike Levy: “The metaverse is more a vision of 5 to 10 years, but there are things that you can do now and I think it’s key to use the tools that you have available at the moment and then start preparing for what’s coming. Sometimes when I talk to football clubs or partners, they immediately want to build the next big thing in the metaverse and they want to always think very big, but I think you have to start with the basics and make the things that are possible today right to then start thinking about what will come in in the future.”
What is the most important thing when it comes to connecting football with the metaverse?
Nicolas Marullo: “So, what we see a lot is the engagement during the game. What’s happening is that there’s a game outside the game being played here. If you take the example of Formula 1 and what they did with Netflix there, their long documentary, it was hugely popular in the U.S. Why? Because we talked about everything around the drivers, everything around the game… So, the game outside the game is going to be very important.”
Fred Antunes: “I think the challenge is what the football clubs want to be – do they want to be innovators or conservative? Additionally, do they have the means or if their brand allows it.”
Will the metaverse take over from the life experiences?
Nicolas Marullo: “Live will always be number one. What’s the second-best thing after life? That’s going to be the metaverse or hybrid program,” was an important and fundamental question that Marullo spoke more about in his interview with World Football Summit last month.
Kike Levy: “The metaverse is the intersection between real and digital life. A simple filter IG allows fans to create content around your brand – this will create value for any and all football clubs. They need to take these baby steps before thinking about the big picture.”
The experts agree that the time to begin to get ready is now, even if the expectations are that we still need to wait years for the metaverse to be adopted by the mass market. In a sense, it is a similar situation to when social media platforms started to emerge (and everything else that resulted from the rollout of web2). The winners in the space were those that got ahead of the wave and allocated time and resources to understand the platforms. This implies embracing a “learn & iterate” mentality and above all, a willingness to understand fan behavior around new technological developments.
Hopefully, this insight has helped clear up some of your doubts and give you a better idea about what’s in store for when the football industry and the metaverse collide. Make sure you subscribe to WFS Digest HERE so you do not miss any updates or insights from the top experts in the industry. And, rest assured these topics and many more will be covered in full detail at our main event, WFS Europe, in Sevilla this coming 28th and 29th of September.