MLSE, Amazon bringing AR, VR to sports viewing

A journalist at Scotiabank Arena's practice grounds tries out a virtual reality feature as part of AWS's Immersive Basketball Experience, launched by AWS's MLSE and SpaceX, allowing viewers to visualize a 3D rendering of a life-size sports game. True (Credit: MLSE)

A journalist tries augmented reality features as part of the Immersive Basketball Experience, launched by MLSE Ditigal Labs and Amazon Web Services’ SportsX program, allowing viewers to visualize 3D renderings of life-size sports games. (Credit: MLSE)

If you walk into the Scotiabank Arena gym on Monday evening You’ll see a room full of journalists, developers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) representatives.

What you haven’t seen yet are 3D models representing players from the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks recreating their latest NBA matchup. That is until you put on an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) headset.

With a headset, you can dive directly into the virtual reality action. Players come to life in front of you. Give them the opportunity to follow them from the main line to the main line. Or just sit on the sidelines Whatever you feel gives you the best perspective on defensive losses and attacking explosions.

Humza Teherany, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at MLSE, said: “It’s looking to the future.

MLSE Digital Labs and AWS have teamed up to launch SportsX, a new research and development program. The first initiative is to introduce AR and VR to change the way we can watch professional sports. That’s both a fan experience and to help boost the team’s performance. Because players and coaches can relive moments to help with training.

As part of the January 24th launch, MLSE and AWS demonstrated how AR and VR headsets can be used to display a variety of aggregated data. This allows those wearing headsets to immerse themselves in the action directly. Or even get real-time stats as part of their view while watching games, such as during the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Islanders game on Monday night.

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“To be honest, this has never been done anywhere else in the world before,” Teherany said.

“The key thing about this program is to shape the future of sports from Toronto to the rest of the world and to allow us to use these great things in MLSE. left”

how technology works

“Immersive Basketball Experience” uses a combination of body posture data for optical tracking, such as individual joint and limb positions, 3D models and video game development tools. The end result is a way to bring the game back to life. Because players will be rendered in 3D around you.

For the NBA experience, MLSE and AWS use in-game cameras located throughout each court to collect necessary data. The same experience can be applied to NHL games as it has progressed in other professional sports such as Formula 1 to acquire biomechanical data. Because we expect this experience to come to all sports.

For the NHL, the experience is more realistic as the league uses the “NHL Edge” to collect data. The NHL uses infrared technology embedded in players’ jerseys and jerseys. This is the data that is passed on to the AWS outpost in the Scotiabank Arena. make way for features “Augmented reality stats overlay” on AR or VR headsets

While watching an NHL game, viewers have access to an overlay showing both teams’ stats such as ball possession, speed and distance traveled. Using the laser feature is part of the remote that comes with the headset. Viewers can select individual players, such as Auston Matthews, to focus on specific stats.

“You can enjoy the game while looking at real-time analytics and data all in one place,” Teherany says, noting that diehard hockey fans or people learning the game can use this.

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reporters wear futuristic

reporter wearing headset “Mixed Reality” as he watched the Toronto Maple Leafs play the New York Islanders on Jan. 23, allowing him to use the NHL Extended Reality Stats Overlay to access real-time stats about the game (MLS).

Future Uses: Arenas in everyday life

It currently costs a few thousand dollars and the size of the headset remains a challenge to reach a large crowd. Teherany said that when innovations like Apple’s augmented reality glasses come out, it will change the market. And we expect these features to be accessible in the size of your everyday glasses.

Eric Gales, Country Manager for AWS Canada, says what has changed dramatically about the market in recent years is that Before you needed multiple devices to render AR or VR experiences, now thanks to all the aggregated data available in the cloud. They are ready to create this experience when there are accessible options to make it mainstream.

“Augmented Reality Stats Overlay” is an experience MLSE wants to offer fans inside the arena. It will enhance the viewing experience especially for those sitting higher in the crowd. A similar statistical experience — without the headset element — also displayed on a table-sized panel in the Scotiabank Arena — could become a fixture in a fancy suit.

Viewers in the Scotiabank Arena can use the dashboard to track players in real time, such as their movements.  Ball possession, speed and distance traveled (Credit: MLSE)

Viewers in the Scotiabank Arena can use the dashboard to track players in real time, such as their movements. Ball possession, speed and distance traveled (Credit: MLSE)

Outside of the arena, there was a problem figuring out how to license these games for AR and VR use, as Rogers and Bell owned the broadcast rights.

For a realistic basketball experience for professional NBA games, members of MLSE and AWS wanted to extend their capabilities far into people’s homes for everyday use. from talking to many developers The actual duration is 5-10 years, considering the price and size issues of the headset above.

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Christian Magsisi, MLSE Vice President of Venues and Digital Technologies, explains that for life-size rides You’ll need a larger, more accommodating space. For example, if you want to be next to a life-sized Kawhi Leonard during his 2019 match-winning shot, you need a larger space, like a gym or stadium

But with AR and VR capabilities, users will be able to place their experiences on smaller surfaces, such as even on a tabletop. Help them see the action happening right in front of them.

create a competitive advantage

One of the benefits of VR and AR experiences is that for professional sports organizations as part of the MLSE, Magsisi says it allows players and coaches to create key moments from their games and learn from them.

“This helps us create a competitive edge,” Magsisi said, noting that members of the Raptors and Leafs have already tried the technology.

Instead of 10 real-life players to create a specific play on an NBA court, you can use AR or VR to bring the moment to life in a virtual way. Players and coaches can also watch or re-watch the game with headset technology that displays key stats as the match begins. Give them the opportunity to see what contributes to their team play.

Gales also discusses the impact it can have on increasing our understanding of injury. and how to avoid injury to increase player safety. This kind of data and innovative research has been a focus for the NFL, partnering with AWS since 2019.

get people involved

In addition to enhancing the viewing experience and giving teams a competitive advantage, SportsX is also committed to the idea of ​​community involvement. They want their fans Help lead them to future ideas through submissions. But also give AR and VR experiences a try.

“We have been watching sports the same way for a long time. Giving people virtual reality glasses is a big change. So we need to make it easier for people to pay attention. So even though it might be available sooner. But I think it will take some time. It’s time for people to actually adopt them.”

Those interested can register in right away to test the technology for themselves.

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