Fancy virtual advertising in sport

By | July 12, 2021

Just a short one today – the boys are both home-schooling this week, so I’m busy hopping about a bit.

So I thought I’d share a random cool bit of technology with you.  If you’ve been watching the football over the last few weeks, you’ll have seen it in action, actually – although you might not have realised it.

Around the edge of the pitch, there’s a long strip of advertising boards.  They used to just be made of sturdy cardboard or plastic (and still are in a lot of stadiums), but Wembley’s got something a bit more sophisticated nowadays.

Rather than printed advertising, it’s more like a massive TV screen made of LEDs.  That way, they can change the adverts whenever they like without having to lug a load of big chunks of plastic about. 

The clever bit is what happens when they film the matches to put on TV.  The advertising that people in the stadium see might not be what you’ll see when you watch it on the telly.

Using some very, very clever technology (I don’t know how it works) they can superimpose whatever advertising they want onto the video, in real time.  That means that different TV channels can show different adverts.  And honestly, it’s seamless.

You can see some examples on this website taken from real video “feeds” – live video straight from the stadium.

Something a bit less fancy has been used for a while now – empty green (or sometimes white) boards in the stadium with various crosses and markers on.  They’re used to add adverts to the video, but they’re just blank and ugly for people who are there in the flesh.

This way, the people in the stadium get to see something, too.

Anyway, that’s it from me this week.

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