From Wimbledon to the Women’s World Cup, this is another busy summer for sports. And for Improbable too. Along with the official launch of M² (MSquared) and the M² Codex for metaverse builders, we developed two events to help 2023 also be remembered as a pivotal year for sports in the metaverse.
A home run: MLB’s Virtual Ballpark
On 8 July, baseball fans gathered in an immersive experience at Major League Baseball’s new Virtual Ballpark. The game-changing event centred around the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game presented by Corona at T-Mobile Park – but this was no ordinary watch party.
There was a real buzz as fans explored the Virtual Ballpark to unite with others under their favourite team’s flag, earned points by finding collectable cards and tested their baseball knowledge at quiz machines.
The game was streamed on huge strategically placed screens where fans got to watch their favourite celebrities play.
This digital experience redefined how fans watch baseball. The MLB Virtual Ballpark instilled a strong sense of presence that gave fans a unique, immersive experience with their beloved sport and meaningfully connected the real and virtual worlds.
Meeting a football legend: Kicking it with Kanu
On 13 July, Kicking it With Kanu brought over 1,100 fans across all formats together with football legend Nwankwo Kanu and AFTV founder Robbie Lyle as part of Victory League, an Improbable project designed to forge connections between sports fans and their idols like never before.
The vibe was intimate. The audience watched virtual Kanu and Lyle avatars discuss Kanu’s career, from Nigeria to European football superstardom at Ajax and Arsenal. Kanu spoke of how to stay strong and win, thrilled fans by recalling his famous hat trick against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and explained the importance of giving back through his work with the Kanu Heart Foundation. Fans then had the chance to ask questions and participate in a lively quiz.
This was a new kind of interaction with a star, beyond journalist-led formats or rare player appearances needing in-person attendance. In the metaverse, fans from anywhere could interact with one of their greatest heroes. During the event, Kanu enthused “every player wants to be here,” and said such interactions were “priceless”. Lyle, hugely experienced in fan engagement, called the event “one of the coolest things I’ve done,” and added: “Victory League is the perfect platform for fan-centred content – I think this is the future.”