The Future of Volumetric Sports

The Future of Volumetric Sports

The future of broadcast sports is going to be here before we know it.

In 48 hours I saw 2 events laying the groundwork for the future of broadcast sports…

ESPN + Pixar:
They've turned a live NFL game into a Toy Story spectacle. Players as CG characters in Andy's room? Sounds fun, but the tech behind this is massive. It's not perfect, but the Pixar theme hides the flaws. Hats off to the ESPN Creative team & their partners.

Apple + F1:
Apple's placed a $2B (!!!) bid for exclusive F1 broadcast rights. They’ll have to outdo F1’s own feature-rich streaming platform.

Looking into the crystal ball :

This ESPN experiment? Sure, it’s a cute entry point for kids into the NFL.

But it’s also a R&D exercise setting the stage for volumetric sports broadcasts. Real-time dimensional data will be the ultimate tool to redefine the way we watch and consume sports. Volumetric 3D captures of every player and every movement will unlock infinite possibilities. Imagine camera angles within the action, player's-eye views, and on-the-fly data analysis.

Now, going from the fidelity of Toy Story to the detail and emotion we expect of primetime sports is no easy feat. Sensors, tracking and AI are evolving fast, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Now, Apple's F1 bid? Smart.

F1 is tech ready and better suited to a volumetric broadcast than most other sports. Crucially, a F1 car’s shape and movement is simpler to track than football player's physiology. Pair that with F1’s existing live telemetry, and you see where this is headed. And with F1 video games that already look too real? The jump to volumetric might be shorter than we think.

Enter Apple Vision Pro: The moonshot headset needs all the use cases it can get. A next-gen sports experience could be the killer app. Early demos hinted at sports integrations, some of which looked to good to be true. F1 could make this happen today.

To wrap it up: We are already on the pathway to volumetric sports broadcasts. It's going to tech some ambitious teams, a lot of hard work and serious technical wizardry. And when we get there, it’s going to make a 4K broadcasts feel like radio.

2024 blackbox infinite
designing positive futures

2024 blackbox infinite
designing positive futures