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Virtual advertising: The new sports reality?

If you’ve watched any kind of sports coverage over the past few years, you would have noticed the broadcast of your favourite sports dotted with digitally inserted advertisements, be it on the boundary boards, the playing arena, or emblazoned anywhere there’s a bit of space to be had.

Augmented Reality has been used to deliver this virtual advertising to you, the unwitting viewer across cricket, basketball, football, and even kabaddi feeds. Usually geotargeted, this allows the broadcaster to deliver ads that maximise revenue potential in a given location.

This is yet to fully come of age in India, though since the two major rights holders in world cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC), don’t want geotargeted ads, because it will jeopardise their existing sponsors. And since cricket accounted for 85% of the overall sports industry spending last year, according to the India Sports Sponsorship Report 2023 by media buying agency GroupM, this is why there’s some way to go on this front. Expect to see it used at the upcoming Cricket World Cup though.

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