Planning and putting together a tournament of the scale of a World Cup is no easy task.
Yes, the host nation is in charge of the groundwork of building the infrastructure and the hospitality but it still falls on the shoulder of the governing body to make sure that everything is up to the mark and in line with expectations.
Qatar, to be fair to them, has done an exceptional job getting the country World Cup-ready in terms of stadiums, hotels and other things.
We will not be going into the unsavoury things. Those have been mentioned multiple times before here and elsewhere, this post is about something else.
It is not just the host nation that has done well in the “experience” regard. Technology plays a major part in how the tournament is perceived and followed and FIFA has done a rather good job with their app, FIFA+.
Yes, there was that hiccup about the ticketing issue before the England – Qatar game but that was sorted and besides, that has been the only problem reported thus far.
The app, available in as many as 11 languages, ensures that fans can have a complete tournament experience, be it physically or virtually.
For people watching on screens, the app tells users which broadcaster is streaming the game in their country, along with behind-the-scenes and other squad-related content.
For those watching the game in the stadium, the app acts as a ticketing platform and also as a guide, directing watchers where to go and about the activities and events happening around them.
But it is INSIDE the stadium where FIFA+ truly shines.
Using Augmented Reality, the revolutionary experience allows fans to truly immerse themselves in the game. Supporters can use AR to watch the match with an overlay of stats, insights, heatmaps, TV-like VAR replays, player tracking and a lot more.
The viewing experience enhances the ability to follow the game and support your teams.
Words cannot exactly justify what the app does, so watch for yourself.
Twitter, as usual, is divided on this.
Some are questioning the very basis of going to the match if all you wanted to do was watch a screen, while others are praising the technology, saying it is a nice addition to those not well-versed with players or want to get live stats.
Both sides of the argument are fair and not incorrect. The good thing is, this is a feature on an app and not a mandatory exercise everyone needs to do. So, whoever wants to, can use it. And whoever doesn’t, just ignore it.
Either way, the usage of AR is very impressive and I, for one, would like to see this scaled up and used in domestic leagues as well.
Sure, the traditionalists will have an issue with it. But what new thing does not face resistance? Technology is not going anywhere, in fact, it will only get better and more ingrained in our lives. Might as well use it to make the beautiful game more beautiful and accessible.