Football Stadiums Change The Ads Depending On The Channel Or Country
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Twitter user Oliur (@UltraLinx) posted a set of four seemingly identical videos, which had been laid out in a square alongside each other to compare the footage in each.
While the footballing action itself is the same, if you look at the background you'll notice a different company advertised on the boards around the edge of the pitch.
In the top left-hand corner we've got BetVictor, along with Coca-Cola in the top right, Nike underneath that one and, finally, Enterprise in the bottom left.
Oliur wrote: "Today I learned that stadiums can have different ads depending on channel and country."
Today I learned that stadiums can have different ads depending on channel and country. pic.twitter.com/qfgGTK7tu4
- Oliur (@UltraLinx) July 4, 2021
And it seems many others were equally staggered by the revelation.
One person commented: "Wow, never knew this, incredible what they can do."
Others simply posted mind-blown emojis, while someone else wrote: "Okay well that is something you don't see everyday... technology at its peak."
Christian Kabasele, the footballer featured the video, also quote-tweeted the post, joking: "Today I learned that I could hold the ball better when I played right winger."
Today I learned that I could hold the ball better when I played right winger https://t.co/P4qHqn8IBV
- Christian Kabasele (@chriskabasele27) July 5, 2021
The digital trickery is actually called Virtual Replacement Technology, and allows broadcasters to add in regional-specific ads over the top of the existing perimeter advertisements in the stadium.
Speaking after an FA and ITV trial of the tech back in 2018, the then senior broadcast manager at the FA Tom Gracey said: "The potential for Virtual Replacement Technology is substantial.
"Perimeter LED displays have become a fundamental platform for activating brand partnerships in sport, so the ability to change that message to make it relevant for different fans around the world is hugely appealing for us and our partners."
Oliur later posted a screenshot from a Reddit thread, where someone else had helped explain one of the ways the virtual replacement can be done.
User AMV wrote: "The camera is mounted on a 'virtual head' which reads the positioning and alignment data. The lens of that camera is calibrated with the camera body and sensor, along with the software, so that the virtual software can be adjusted for any variance for offset off 'zero' when the camera was mounted.
"Think of a virtual 3D box, and they just tell the computer where to put everything relative to the camera.
"Data is fed from the camera, to a computer running the virtual software. After the calibration the virtual operator will load in the graphics they have been given, created to whatever specifications. They then use various keys to mask out what they want and don't want the virtual graphics to appear on.
"This same technology is not only used to make virtual billboards, but distance lines (e.g. horse racing), stat overlays, on-ground logos and images... up to and including whole studios.
"Have a look at companies like Broadcast Virtual, Statcast3D, and Zero Density for more examples. Even MLB Advanced Media do some amazing stuff.
"As others have pointed out, the top left is what people in the stadium see, this is not green-screen, just a key overlay. You can tell this by the shutter speed between the camera and the signage being different."
They added: "This is only one method of making these graphics, there are other ways as well like IR as suggested in other comments."
In the comments on the viral tweet, one other person shared an equally interesting bit of insight, writing: "Wait until the UK people see what the Match of the Day studio really looks like."
Wait until the UK people see what the Match Of The Day studio really looks like. pic.twitter.com/2hz95IVUVx
- Ben Jones (@DJBenJones) July 5, 2021
The photos are actually taken from filming of Football Focus, but the two shows use the same studio.
One person commented: "No way!! Here's me thinking they were sat in a big glass box at the corner flag."
Someone else said: "I saw this the other day and couldn't believe it. I always thought the screen behind was a massive tv where they watched the football!!"
A third simply put: "Well holy s***."