Over the years, watching football has remained largely unchanged. Fans have made their way to Ibrox throughout the ages, wearing scarves and shirts, buying programmes and experiencing the highs and lows the beautiful game has to offer. From spicy Old Firm clashes to European Cup nights, Ibrox has played host to some wonderful events, but how we experience those events in the future could be changing. Football might evolve on the field, with the dreaded VAR, more subs allowed during a game than ever before and managers confined to a technical area, but in the stands, it has largely been untouched
In the modern world, the onset of smart glasses technology could seriously impact how we watch football. The digital world has slowly been changing the way we support our teams – Hibernian no longer produce a physical programme, instead relying on digital content. Half time scores are no longer needed, as fans follow the games live on their phones, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Here are three ways the Rangers’ experience might change over the coming years.
Fan driven media
Fan-driven media has exploded in recent seasons, and by reading this article, you’re supporting a fan-driven platform. They’re everywhere; some are valuable and full of rich and engaging content, whilst others are supporters getting animated and angry at the slightest perceived injustice for likes. Vloggers often make themselves the spectacle, not their team, which has been seen south of the border in personalities such as Mark Goldbridge and the people behind Arsenal Fan TV.
How those vloggers interact with their audience could be revolutionised by smart glasses. The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses have instant streaming technology, so instead of lugging camera equipment around, a vlogger could broadcast to their social media platforms instantaneously. It will be interesting to see how this intersects with those who choose to broadcast the game through their glasses, which would be illegal.
For a regular supporter, Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses allow you to quickly update friends and family on the game via images or videos. That means those who cannot get tickets to an Old Firm clash could still feel part of the action.
Longer term, smart glasses offer massive potential in terms of the user experience. Some smart glasses have a digital display, a bit like we used to see in films such as Terminator. That could pave the way for facts and figures to appear in front of your eyes as you watch the game. Imagine, if loan star Abdallah Sima nets against that lot on December 30th, a message could pop up telling you how many times he’s scored for the club this season (spoiler – it’s quite a few).
It could make watching the game in the stadium more like a television broadcast. For some, that would take away the very essence of being in the ground, watching live, but for a new generation of supporters powered by social media and on-screen graphics, it is exciting. Using augmented reality (AR) it could even be possible for replays to be played through the glasses as if they were happening on the field. The Apple Vision Pro headset is already a working example of how this might work, but it’s big, bulky and used at home rather than in the stands. Imagine that tech but in a stylish pair of Ray-Ban Aviators. The technology is in its infancy, but there’s no doubt smart glasses could enhance the view experience massively.
Changing the game
From a fan’s perspective, smart glasses could disrupt the football experience, but from a staff member or official, it could be a game changer. VAR is the scourge of the modern-day supporter, especially when a decision takes age to make. Smart glasses could feed those replays to an official on the field, cutting down the time it takes for him to run across the pitch and look at a screen. Decision-making could be quicker and more concise – no more VAR debates like the one raging around the 4-0 win against Livingston.
It could also lead to supporters being able to see those decisions in real-time. In the extreme future, we could even see the incident again, as it happened on the field. After all, if there are a thousand people with smart glasses in Ibrox, their cameras could, in theory, be used to create a 3D model of the incident, played back to everyone through their lens. It’s Back to the Future stuff now, but Back the the Future had hoverboards, and they’re a thing now – this technology is coming, and it will change the game.
Exactly how deeply smart glasses will impact football in Scotland and beyond is unclear. Certainly, vloggers and content creators are already reaping the benefits of the product, but how much longer before we see it used amongst the majority rather than the minority?