Newspaper publisher and media platform USA Today has launched two augmented reality (AR) interactive offerings ahead of the start of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The experiences have been dubbed ‘Meet the Team’ and ‘Make the Save’, giving fans an opportunity to learn more about the game and the US national team’s stars. The offerings are available for both iOS and Android users via the USA Today app.
Meet the Team will allow users to learn more about the US national team’s players, set within a virtual football pitch.
Users will be able to access information about each player and also see their position highlighted on the virtual field, whilst additional statistics, including scores, standings and schedules will also be available.
Make the Save, meanwhile, brings a gaming element to the AR experience, with users attempting to save penalty kicks by stepping into the boots of US national team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
The virtual actions of Naeher, who will also speak to the user about her experiences in goal, were captured using photogrammetry to incorporate a 3D visual.
USA Today has experimented with the technique previously – perhaps most notably with an AR interactive offering earlier this year that focused on the Oscar-nominated costumes at the Academy Awards.
In April, the company’s ‘New Heights: Groundbreaking skyscrapers’ AR experience delved into some of the world’s tallest buildings. USA Today also created an AR feature about John Carlson, a defenseman at the Washington Capitals NHL ice hockey team.
“We wanted to provide an immersive way to learn more about the US Women’s team throughout the lifecycle of this year’s World Cup,” said Ray Soto, Director of Emerging Technology at USA Today.
“We have seen how much AR informs and entertains users so it’s a natural fit for brands to want to be a part of these engaging experiences as well, and keeping consumers engaged throughout the World Cup experience really builds excitement.”