Real Madrid have unveiled plans to build a holiday resort in the United Arab Emirates, estimated at a cost of 1 billion dollars, that is due to open in January 2015.
The resort island will be a man-made set of peninsulas which will be shaped like the team’s crest. Besides the luxury hotels and villas, vacationers will enjoy a 10,000-seat stadium with one side open to the sea. That stadium will broadcast a futuristic show, dubbed the “first hologram football show” ever. In 3D, of course. It’s an awesome idea, but it’s not an original one.
Back in 2009, the Japan World Cup 2022 bid committee were hoping to win FIFA over with a promise of live 3D holographic broadcasts of football matches. According to the Japanese, people around the world would be able to visit stadiums and experience something very much like watching an actual game in person, even though they are thousands of miles away.
I actually discussed this idea with Ivan Bravo, who at the time was Real Madrid’s Director of Strategic Planning, back in 2007. He said “it would be amazing to have 40 Santiago Bernabéus around the world. It would give us 40 different match day incomes for one game – this is huge!”
These hologram football shows are not that far away from being a reality, and they can change football economics in an extreme way: The technology will turn the big clubs into “local” teams everywhere around the world – thus putting them on top of the local food chain. This will really squash local football markets, as many of which already suffer from a lack of local interest because of low-quality football.
Fabio Capello explained why this is happening in an interview conducted 5 years ago: “You have to be on drugs to watch your local Serie C team when you can watch the best football in the world on TV.”
So when you’ll have Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal or Manchester United playing right next door, what reason would you have to go and watch Strømsgodset IF, FK Aktobe, NEC Nijmegen, Maccabi Netanya, Viktoria Plzen or União de Leiria?
It’s a change that the football world will need to adapt to, and it might happen very soon.