The UCI Track Champions League is about to become the most interactive competition in world cycling.
During next weekend’s rounds in London, event organisers Warner Bros. Discovery Sports will offer fans a preview of the “unique metaverse experience” they’ve been working on with newly established tech partner Infinite Reality.
The two companies have promised to deliver the “latest innovations in entertainment”, complete with “cutting-edge fan engagement opportunities”. Speaking exclusively to Cycling Weekly, Infinite Reality co-founder Elliott Jobe revealed exactly what this involves for those watching the racing.
“It’s a web browser,” Jobe said. “We’re really interested in making this as easy and accessible as possible.”
Clicking on to the website, fans will be invited to create their own 3D avatar, which they’ll use to navigate the virtual realm of the Track Champions League. Jobe outlined that, once inside the platform, users will find two new tools.
The first is the opportunity to stage “live watch parties” online. “There’s the ability to socialise the streaming experience,” Jobe said. “So even just watching the broadcast feed and inviting others to come in and video chat and hang out.”
In addition to this, fans will be able to combine multiple camera angles on screen with the ‘Choose Your Own Director’ tool. This includes eight different live feeds that are normally edited into the main television broadcast.
“Anything that normally would be edited out and around, you can go in and pick and choose what you’d like to focus on,” Jobe said. “Maybe there’s a particular racer you’re interested in, or maybe it’s a commissaire.”
Despite the initial press release promising the "potential to interact with athletes", there will be no live chat with riders in this year's preview.
“The riders right now are a really important part,” Jobe said. “But due to time and focus there, that kind of interactivity or how we’re presenting them is not a major part of this first release.”
Next month's preview, Jobe was keen to point out, serves as a taster for what the company will be doing in later editions of the competition. He added that Infinite Reality intend to turn the experience into a "museum" of cycling, with historical content, retail and eventually live interaction with athletes.
The Track Champions League metaverse experience will launch for the competition’s two final rounds in London, taking place on 2 and 3 December.
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