Back to Blog

5 Ways the Metaverse Will Change the Sports Industry

Apr 19, 2024

Callum Moates

The metaverse or 3D internet is a massively scalable network of interconnected virtual worlds focused on real-time interaction where people can work, meet socially, conduct business, play, and even create. These virtual worlds have become a popular channel for organizations across industries and sectors to connect with customers, work better, and innovate. Research by Wunderman Thomson shows that 85% of business leaders view the 3D internet as “essential to success.” The sports industry has notably outpaced competitors when it comes to leveraging the metaverse. Several sports brands and athletes use the 3D internet to connect with audiences and explore new channels for revenue generation. This move aligns with changing consumer behaviors, where Gen Z and Millennials now demand more interactive and immersive sports viewing experiences. The metaverse transforms traditional sports events and broadcasting into experiences where audiences can watch a match from a player’s point of view in virtual reality (VR) or view real-time statistics during a sporting event through augmented reality (AR) glasses.

In the blog, we will explore how the metaverse is transforming sports through five distinct areas: fan engagement, performance analysis, merchandising and collectibles, athlete branding, and fan-driven content creation. Each section will delve into the innovations and opportunities that the 3D internet brings to these aspects of the sports industry.

  1. Fan engagement

The metaverse is poised to revolutionize how sports fans engage with their favorite teams and athletes, offering immersive and interactive experiences like never before. Here are some ways the 3D internet is transforming sports fan engagement:

  • Virtual stadiums: Through virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other advanced technologies, fans can step into virtual stadiums and arenas, feeling the excitement of live games from their homes. These immersive experiences go beyond traditional broadcasting, allowing fans to explore interactive elements such as 360-degree views, behind-the-scenes content, and personalized content tailored to their preferences. 

  • Real-time stats: Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can provide statistics and predictions for a sporting event and a player’s trajectory. AR devices can overlay player statistics, highlights, and additional information directly onto the viewer's screen during a live game, making the experience highly immersive and exciting for the viewer. 

  • Interactive elements: The metaverse can allow fans to interact with digital avatars of their favorite players, attend virtual meet-and-greets, participate in live Q&A sessions, and even engage in virtual training sessions alongside their idols. 

  • Virtual competitions: The metaverse also serves as a platform for interactive gaming experiences, where users can compete against each other or even against professional athletes in virtual matches and tournaments. 

  • Social viewing: The metaverse, VR, and AR enable social viewing experiences, allowing fans to watch games together in virtual environments, interact, and communicate in real time.

A great example of fan engagement in the metaverse is Manchester City’s plan to create a virtual replica of the Etihad Stadium in the metaverse. This virtual stadium will allow fans to watch games as if they were present on the field or in the stadium from the comfort of their homes, even choosing their preferred angle for viewing. Similarly, Sky Worlds is a virtual reality sports viewing experience that allows Sky VIP customers to immerse themselves in a virtual experience from selected Premier League matches, hop around the ground to watch the action from unique viewing positions, and in the highest visual quality available in VR. These virtual experiences offer new revenue streams, fan engagement opportunities, and immersive content for fans who cannot attend games in person.

  1. Performance analysis

The metaverse offers athletes a revolutionary training tool through simulated environments for skill development and performance analysis. Using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), athletes can immerse themselves in realistic scenarios to practice and refine their skills without constraints. Instant feedback, analysis, and collaborative training experiences break down geographical barriers and elevate performance to new heights.

Athletes can use VR simulations to practice decision-making and strategy in controlled environments. For example, basketball players can simulate game scenarios to work on their offensive plays, and soccer players can simulate game scenarios to improve their positioning and passing strategies. Rezzil Player 21 is a VR training program used by major clubs to allow athletes to practice moves and skills like headers, rondo drills, and shooting in soccer. 

Additionally, motion tracking and biometric sensors play a crucial role in collecting data on athlete performance. These sensors can track movements, heart rate, muscle activity, and other biometric indicators during training sessions or simulated games. This data provides valuable insights into areas for improvement, such as refining techniques, optimizing movement efficiency, or managing fatigue. By analyzing this data, coaches and athletes can tailor training programs to address specific weaknesses, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of injury.

  1. Merchandising and collectibles

The metaverse offers a unique platform for creating, distributing, and exchanging digital collectibles and sports merchandise. Utilizing advanced blockchain technology enables the crafting of unique, verifiable virtual items as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can be bought, sold, and traded on specialized online marketplaces designed specifically for digital goods. This infrastructure not only facilitates secure transactions but also enhances the authenticity and exclusivity of collectibles, appealing to a global audience of collectors and fans.

Sports collectibles

In the metaverse, fans can purchase NFTs collectibles and memorabilia representing iconic moments in sports history, limited-edition digital trading cards, or other digital sports items. Furthermore, collectibles in the metaverse foster community building and engagement among fans through digital ownership and exclusivity. Fans can showcase their collections in virtual galleries or share them with other enthusiasts online. Additionally, sports organizations can leverage digital collectibles to reward fan loyalty, offering exclusive NFTs, access to events, and meet-and-greets as incentives for token holders. Sports clubs and athletes that release NFT collections can also give token holders voting rights to participate in the sport. For instance, fans can make decisions and be more involved in the sport by voting on aspects like the stadium music and selecting the team’s jersey design. 

A notable example of virtual sports trading cards in the NFT market is Sorare, a platform that combines NFTs with fantasy sports. Sorare offers digital trading cards of football players that fans can collect, trade, and use to compete in fantasy leagues. Each card represents a real player and varies in rarity, appealing to collectors and sports enthusiasts.

Sports Merchandise

Digital merchandise in sports, such as virtual apparel or exclusive digital items, extends fan engagement into the digital realm and provides new revenue stream opportunities for teams and athletes. Fans can customize their avatars with sports team-branded clothes and accessories, allowing them to display allegiance to their favorite teams and players.

For instance, Wimbledon launched the WimbleWorld mini metaverse on Robox, which has a store where fans can view and purchase items from the Wimbledon Ralph Lauren 2022 collection. The virtual shop also offers visitors limited edition items like Andy Murray’s 2022 AMC cap. Digital sports merchandise creates a new channel to connect with audiences and build a stronger affinity toward a sports club or athlete.

  1. Athlete branding

In the metaverse, athletes possess opportunities to enhance their personal branding through innovative content creation, enriched fan engagement, and strategic sponsorship collaborations. The 3D internet offers a unique platform for athletes to transcend geographical limitations and connect with a global audience, amplifying their brand visibility and enabling innovative fan interaction. 

The 3D internet presents athletes with innovative ways to monetize their presence within the 3D internet through endorsements and partnerships. Here are some monetization opportunities for athletes in the metaverse:

  • Virtual endorsements: Athletes can wear or use branded virtual items during online appearances, offering brands a dynamic way to reach fans in immersive settings.

  • Partnerships with virtual platforms and experiences: Athletes can collaborate with metaverse platforms to host virtual meet-and-greets, offering fans 3D interactions like live Q&As and mentoring. These events can generate revenue through ticket sales or limited edition digital merchandise drops, enhancing fan engagement in a unique and personal setting. For instance, during NBA All-Star Week, LeBron James visited the NIKELAND metaverse on Roblox to meet community members and coach them. Visitors also had the opportunity to earn a ‘LeBron 19’ digital shoe special to Roblox.

  • Digital collectibles: Athletes can launch their NFT collections to build an engaged fan community and earn additional revenue. For instance, Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion, launched the ‘Tom Brady Origins Collection,’ including NFTs like his college resume and NFL Draft combine jersey. 

  • Sponsored virtual events: Hosting or participating in metaverse events with brand sponsorships allows athletes to attract large virtual audiences, build their brand, and earn revenue.

  1. Fan-driven content creation

The 3D internet has revolutionized fan engagement in sports by transforming enthusiasts from mere spectators into active content creators, enabling them to craft and share virtual experiences and narratives. This digital empowerment allows fans to design custom arenas, simulate matches, and monetize digital merchandise created. This shift towards fan-driven content creation enriches the sports ecosystem with diverse narratives. It strengthens the bond between fans and their favorite sports, heralding a new era of engaged, creative, and collaborative sports fandom in the metaverse.

A real-life example of fan-driven content creation in the metaverse is witnessed within platforms like Fortnite, where the community has embraced the opportunity to create custom tournaments and games through the platform’s ‘Creative Mode.’ In these virtual spaces, fans design their own competitions, with custom avatars representing themselves or their favorite athletes and unique game rules. Communities around the globe can use such platforms to host fan-created sports leagues and tournaments, showcasing not just gaming skills but creativity in game design and rule-making. This ability empowers fans to participate in the sports they love in a new way and shape their own unique experience.

Apr 19, 2024

Callum Moates

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

About LandVault

LandVault is the largest metaverse builder with over 100 million square feet of virtual real estate, more than 120 full-time creators, and nearly 300 completed projects. We’ve been helping brands build and grow in gaming environments since 2017 and the metaverse since 2021.

LandVault’s platform-agnostic proprietary technology and creative powerhouse builds and delivers tailored, data-driven, and optimized business solutions and insights. We help clients launch, optimize, and monetize metaverse experiences.

LandVault’s mission is to accelerate the metaverse economy through technology with a vision of a fairer wealth distribution across the web.

We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023

Landvault · Wam Group

All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved