On 5 August, football legends united at Stamford Bridge in London for Game4Ukraine. This charity match was the brainchild of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Andriy Shevchenko, and supported by United24 – President Zelensky’s initiative to efficiently and effectively collect donations to help rebuild Ukraine.
The player roster was a who’s-who of footballing greats. Alongside Zinchenko and Shevchenko were the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Robert Pires and Jack Wilshere. As the teams battled to a thrilling 2–2 draw, funds were raised to rebuild schools in Ukraine, starting with Mykhailo-Kotsiubynsky School in Chernihiv Oblast, which was destroyed in March 2022.
On top of a televised broadcast organised by Sky Sports, Victory League partnered with Game4Ukraine’s producers to develop a watch party in the metaverse. Aimed at fans who consume sports on social media platforms, such as fan-centric networks like GFN and AFTV, the virtual event bridged the real and virtual worlds.
Accessing the Victory League stadium was simple: fans only needed to click or tap a link in a web browser. They could then enjoy an immersive experience guided by AFTV founder Robbie Lyle and co-hosts Lee and Ty. This influential trio provided exclusive commentary and content, and fans could actively participate by voting to predict the winning team and showcasing their football knowledge in interactive quizzes.
More than 3,650 fans from over 100 countries participated in the event, which transcended conventional TV viewing due to its immersive nature. It demonstrated how the metaverse can be a powerful tool to gather people together and help them contribute to important causes. And it showcased how the metaverse can appeal to a community of football fans, by connecting them with fellow fans, providing a stadium-like experience, and bringing them closer to their sport than ever before.
In Robbie Lyle’s words: “This won’t be the last time – we’ll be doing much more.” A promising sign of more innovative and impactful events yet to come.
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