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FIFA Is Putting VR Tech At The Centre Of This Year’s World Cup

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Can’t make it to Russia this summer to cheer on your favourite soccer team in the FIFA World Cup finals? Don’t worry, the International Football Association is bringing the Cup experience to you through a series of virtual reality projects designed to make fans feel like they’re right there, at the centre of the action. The new high-tech initiatives include touring the FIFA World Cup plane—a 360-degree virtual look at the official Coca-Cola sponsored FIFA aircraft—as well as UHD HDR and 360-degree virtual reality broadcasts of each match played in Moscow. Got a VR headset? You should be able to watch the World Cup on it.

An impressive 37 cameras will film each match. Eight of those will be UHD HDR-ready. Eight different cameras will be equipped to shoot in super-slow-motion and two will be ultra-motion cameras. There will also be a cineflex heli-cam on the field at game times to make sure not a single moment is missed.

As for the trophy tour, FIFA’s global digital lead Tony Francis reports that “The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is visiting more than 50 countries ahead of the tournament in Russia. Hundreds of thousands of people will experience the tour,” he explained, “but we wanted to bring the excitement to the millions of fans around the world who can’t be there in person.” To that end, Coca-Cola and FIFA will share a Web-VR experience that will give football fans virtual access to the FIFA plane, the tournament’s music, and some of the legendary stories about the epic wins and losses that have come out of FIFA’s 114-year history.

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“It’s a fantastic way to access the trophy… You feel like you’re there,” says Eran Galil, the chief technology at BYOND, the company that designed the VR experience.

If that wasn’t already awesome enough, Coca-Cola’s FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour will also offer sports fans the opportunity to virtually meet the players they idolize and have their photos taken with their heroes. A cool-sounding VR setup will let users put themselves in the frame with big names in soccer from both the current line up of greats and unforgettable players from the past.

The entire showcase will set up in Moscow at the FIFA Fan Fest beginning on June 14, the opening day of the tournament when Saudi Arabia faces off against host team, Russsia, and remain there until the final nail-biting match on July 15. You can check out highlights from the Cup’s tour across Russia in the clip below and catch coverage of the FIFA World Cup on TSN and CTV beginning June 14.