9th August 2022

AR in Sports: Why Broadcasters are Investing in New Tech

The broadcasting landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years and sports, in particular, had to pivot in a major way. Now, a new report from media company Appear shows that 75 percent of sports broadcasters expect to invest in new technology during 2022, such as augmented reality (AR) and remote production.

AR, remote production & new tech investments
In 2020, the report showed, budgets essentially froze. In 2021, broadcasters hit the ground running, investing over $500,000 in new tech to deal with a rapidly changing post-COVID landscape. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, remote production was the top investment priority as broadcasters pivoted to adapt their workflows. Teams also started experimenting more with CG and augmented reality to boost the excitement level of events with no in-person spectators.


Close-up of Ncam Reality server mounted on a camera.

This year, the report predicts, the top investments for sports broadcasters will be cameras and remote production. “Sports broadcasters said that the drivers for their 2022 technology investments were to support the delivery of content to more viewers, and to enable new capabilities that would maintain competitive edge,” says the report.

And what better way to be competitive than to be on the cutting edge of what’s possible? From pre-game entertainment to post-game fan activations, AR and in-camera effects can make a major difference to a sports broadcast.

Here are some of our favorite ways this tech has been used:


FOX Sports turns players into zombies for America’s Pregame.

Pre-game, time-outs & breaks
Film productions aren’t the only ones that get to have fun with monsters on set. FOX Sports used Ncam real-time camera tracking to create AR monsters out of NFL players during a Halloween airing of America’s Pregame. The team at FOX started using Ncam to enhance their graphics and studio environments, with the camera tracking tech offering a new level of flexibility. “We provide production with an augmented reality tool kit and they utilize Ncam for the tracking… which enables us to provide a set of tools for these studio shows to tell stories in unique ways,” said Zac Fields, VP of graphics & technology for FOX Sports.


An NFL player appears to dissolve into orange particles thanks to augmented reality.

AR at the Super Bowl
Using real-time camera tracking and AR graphics, Super Bowl LV was one for the ages. With a MovieBird telescopic crane outfitted with an Ncam camera tracking solution, CBS was able to generate real-time augmented reality graphics for both the pregame show and the game itself. “Producing the Super Bowl in a pandemic is different from producing a Super Bowl in normal circumstances,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “There are a lot of challenges but we met them all season long, and we’re going to meet them at the Super Bowl.”


Bringing the excitement home
To help fans experience the intensity and excitement of Formula E racing, Moov TV merged real-life racing with the thrill of video game power-ups through “Attack Mode.” Using Ncam tech, AR graphics were overlaid onto the track, giving drivers an extra boost when they passed through the “Activation Zone” and making viewers at home feel they were in their own augmented reality sports stadium.

Interested in upping your game this year? Get in touch with our team.

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