STARNBERG, April 28, 2022 (Guest Post)
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and athletes were faced with sports events’ cancellations, some athletes started to explore the options that they would have in competing virtually. Social media sites, online casino forums and live streaming technology gave athletes the opportunity to reach their fans through virtual gaming endeavors.
Sharing traditional sports with esports arenas is proving to be extremely popular, especially for race car driving, football and tennis. Fans are as enthralled with the online action as they are with real life gaming and the response is encouraging many star athletes to take their talents online.
The new opportunities for traditional sports to be played virtually haven’t gone unnoticed by social media companies like Facebook who are putting major efforts into adding these types of sporting events to their esports platforms.
In an effort to bring more esports tennis to more people, VR Motion Learning has launched a Tennis eSports Demo on the Oculus Quest 2 via the Facebook Metaverse. Tennis eSports was developed in order to enable gamers to train and play tennis in the metaverse. Tennis eSports delivers a fully immersed experience that goes beyond the limits of distance. Fans and tennis players say that it delivers the closest possible event to real tennis played on an actual court.
Virtual Reality tennis generates incredible possibilities in competing, playing, learning, perfecting and socializing. Gregory Gettinger, the CEO & founder of Tennis eSports told EinPressWire, “This is a big moment for us. You can now train different excersises with a virtual ball machine, play with your friends online or even challenge yourself by playing against yourself in the exciting “MirrorPlay Mode”, all from home out of the living room. This application will open the door to authentic virtual tennis learning & gaming, virtual tennis tournaments and real tennis Esports. This innovative and fun approach will increase the appeal of tennis to new generations attracting many more players to the sport. Join us on this exciting journey to bring tennis to life in the metaverse.”
The Tennis eSports platform was developed to facilitate VR tennis training and playing. Developers sought to create the most immersive and realistic ball experience where users could hit the virtual balls with the Quest controllers. The platform will be available to consumers via the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and plays out on a 4×2 meter space.
For tennis clubs, fitness centers, VR studio works or hotel gyms there will be a pro version for the Pro2, Cosmos, HTC Vive: Pro headsets. These VR platforms offer a larger space (half a court) for running and striking balls with a racket, similar to what would be found on a real tennis court for a realistic experience of real tennis.
To draw attention to the new Tennis eSports, Facebook has organized an esports tournament, Mario Tennis Aces. In collaboration with the4 IMG talent agency stars such as Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams will compete in a 15-player tournament called “Stay at Home Slam” on May 3 at 4:00p.m. EST. The tournament will stream on Facebook Gaming and on the IMG Tennis Facebook Page.
In addition to Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, tennis pros scheduled to compete include Venus Willliams, Maria Sharapova, Taylor Fritz, Kei Nishikori, Madison Keys and Kevin Anderson. Appearances will be made by Karli Kloss, Gigi Hadid, Justin Bieber, Seal, Steve Aoki and TikTok influencer Addison Rae as well as NFL stars DeAndre Hopkins and Ryan Tannehill.
Observers believe that, via the metaverse, esports can move the sports world forward by driving a more sustainable revenue model.
They point to the potential of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and virtual spaces as examples of how esports can generate new and sustainable opportunities for athletes and franchise by creating a market for virtual assets. The esports market is estimated to have the potential to grow to be a $3 market by 2025 which is double today’s size. Whereas esports athletes have previously had to rely on prize money and scholarships for their revenue the NFTs can serve as a new income stream.
NFTs create recurring revenue to allow team managers to more confidently build their business models and their teams for the future. The ability to give players a contract means that teams have the chance to build over the long-term which prevents them from losing top talent when contracts expire.
One of the metaverse’s biggest goals is to drive long-term engagement. With athletic esports such as tennis and football games the NFTs could be used to allow discounts on tickets to merchandise or events, offer VIP access to online or physical events or even unlock exclusive content.
NFTs offers can be a vehicle to convey meaningful experiences for fans and give both fans and organizers a more authentic gaming event.