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SGG Media: the Metaverse, sports betting & micro-influencers

By - 3 June 2024

Troy Paul, Co-Founder and CEO of SGG Media, ponders the future of the metaverse and its impact on sports betting and micro-influencers.

It’s been two and a half years since Mark Zuckerberg provided us all with a glimpse into his vision of the future. The Facebook founder walked onto the stage, oculus goggles in hand, and invited us all to witness this ambitious new reality. A world of uncanny avatars, virtual card games, and interactive robots dubbed ‘The Metaverse’.

In the time since, the excitement has quickly died down. The idea of floating through virtual space playing cards with Mark Zuckerberg and robots has not been widely accepted, and many critics have been quick to write up its obituary.

Whether it’s the dystopian vision of all of us standing in our houses wearing goggles and living in virtual reality, the potential expense of it all, or the sheer ambition of the project, Zuckerberg’s original vision of the Metaverse has failed to catch fire with the general public. Virtual realities and metaverses, in general, continue to be a hobby for tech enthusiasts and billionaires.

However, from the ashes of that original vision, a more tangible version of the metaverse is beginning to exist, one that could hugely benefit sports, influencers, and sports-betting operators. Like all ideas, it has already started to evolve, and the possibilities are worth getting excited about.

The interception of AI, augmented reality, and smart products provides us with a glimpse into an exciting future. It touches upon Mark Zuckerberg’s original ideas but feels less sci-fi and dystopian and more grounded and achievable.

Picture this: you’re walking down the street in New York wearing smart Ray-Ban glasses, and you need to find your way to the nearest Subway station. You make a request that is transmitted to the glasses, and the directions appear unobtrusively on your screen.

Now, translate this into the world of sports and sports betting. Imagine being able to watch a game where live stats are presented to you as you watch. Many sports fans now end up spending half of their time pulling their phones out to see how individual players are performing. The ability to do this through your glasses could revolutionise how we watch sports.

From a betting perspective, the possibilities for this are endless. The ability to bet live in-play becomes all the more exciting and there is also the potential to watch odds fluctuate in real-time. Imagine a cash-out option playing out in front of your face like a crash game or something similar.

Operators and promoters could also use this technology to engage with their audience. Live offers, perhaps even personalised ones, could appear on your screen as you watch, tailoring the experience exclusively to your betting needs and interests.

The status of influencers and micro-influencers in this new technological frontier is also a point of discussion. Influencers need communities, and these emerging technologies could provide an entirely new avenue for creating and managing them. This, in turn, creates other ways for businesses to connect with their customers.

Currently, the closest we have to these direct interactions between influencers and players is streaming, which lends itself perfectly to these technologies. The option to join streams using these technologies and have live and direct interactions with the influencers and other community members could be huge.

Our streaming SGG Media NFL show, Live Drive, shown on the Twitch platform, has been a huge success and does an excellent job of connecting sports fans with one another and with operators. The potential to add more layers to this through these technologies is extremely exciting.

Even further into the future, and perhaps more in line with Zuckerberg’s vision, influencers and micro-influencers could curate virtual events where people can attend and play alongside their favourite streamers and bettors.

Likewise, at a sports event, instead of logging onto X or Facebook to see how people are reacting, you could receive real-time reactions through your screen, all while still being able to enjoy the action in front of you. This shared virtual space could be narrowed down to a certain radius, allowing you to interact directly with people in the same stadium or area and enjoy the game together.

Skepticism around new technologies is parred for the course, and the Metaverse has received more than most. However, we are finally beginning to see a version of this brave new world emerging, and it could change the sports betting and influencer industries forever.

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