AI Motorsports sportsbiz

How Augmented Reality is leading improvements for fans to improve the sporting spectacle

February 15, 2024

David Granger, content marketing consultant pens down his insights on how Augmented Reality has acted as a boon for the sports industry.

Over the last few weeks the new liveries (and slightly strange team names) have been unveiled ahead of the 2024 F1 season.

There’s much to get excited about. There are a marathon 24 rounds, those new cars’ colour-schemes and the sixth (final?) season of Drive to Survive. Plus… new methods of experiencing (let’s hold on the “enjoying” for now) motorsport are being mooted.

F1 has always been at the absolute forefront of technology in its cars, but hasn’t always been the most progressive in terms of fan experience. It was very much Paddock v Fans – anyone who’s had to queue to get in or out of Silverstone or taken the trains/buses/hikes through the park to get to the Monza circuit from Milan will know the glamorous side of the sport is for the few.

However, the sport, its teams and supporters are taking steps to introduce technologies which will enhance the racing – even if they can’t stop one team’s domination this year. 

Or are they? 

If you’ve seen the incredible footage demonstrating Apple’s Vision Pro the $3,500  mixed reality headset, as an augmented method to follow Formula One races at home with a virtual track displayed on your living room floor, then you’d be rightly impressed. 

But it’s a concept. 

The footage comes from a John LePore and BlackBoxInfinite who are imaging what F1 (or any other sport) could look like if the augmented reality headset and 3D spacial designers combine their skills. This would not only be great for motorsport, but team sports as well could vastly improve the experience for home spectators watching from behind their headsets.

These augmented reality ideas are being explored in other series. Nascar has established a dedicated group from across its departments to see how emerging tech can be used to enhance the sport for fans and sponsors. 

NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell is quoted by : “We have a dedicated group focused on emerging technologies. There’s an incredible amount of learning to do in the sport, especially on, ‘How we can enhance the fan experience?’ We want to take it one step at a time and do it right. You want to be on the forefront of AI (artificial intelligence) working with sponsors, but ultimately making it a better fan experience.”

It’s not just motorsport. reports the National Basketball Association will launch an app in which you can stream up to five games overlaid with real-time data, stats and scores. An app from Major League Baseball immerses spectators in a virtual ballpark providing visualisation from live ball-tracking. And the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour launched a Vision Pro app which overlays stats on 3D renders of courses again powered by live shot-tracking data.

Sadly, progress via new technology is not always welcomed with resounding success. When Mahindra Racing made the bold move of recruiting a virtual influencer, AI female avatar Ava to join its comms team, motorsport fans went decidedly cold on the idea. One perspective was motorsport would do anything *but* hire women to join its teams. A slightly chastened Mahindra, removed the influencer from its roster while reiterating its commitment to both diversity and inclusion. It was an interesting, innovative idea, but perhaps should have spent slightly longer with the planning team, and HR, before Ava’s signing was announced.

So bring on the motor racing year, and let’s see if there’s as much action on track as there is off it in 2024.

AI Motorsports sportsbiz