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The FA completes world-first virtual advertising deployment

Technology was used to target different worldwide broadcast audiences during England’s recent match against Costa Rica

The Football Association (FA) marked a world first by deploying Virtual Replacement Technology on the LED perimeter signage to target different worldwide broadcast audiences in England’s recent international match against Costa Rica.

The deployment during the FIFA World Cup warm-up game played at Elland Road in Leeds last week was the first time anywhere that this LED-driven technology has been in full live, commercial use in international football.

It means that the advertising seen on the LED perimeter boards in the broadcast coverage was completely different in the targeted territories to the messaging on show to fans in the stadium and across ITV’s domestic coverage and the World Feed.

The successful implementation of the virtual feeds was delivered for The FA by domestic rights holder ITV in partnership with Supponor, together with stadium technology specialists ADI.

The Virtual LED solution, installed at Elland Road during last season, is the product of a partnership between the two companies to integrate Supponor’s virtual advertising replacement and ADI’s digiBOARD technologies, and is now rolling out further across top tier sports markets.

At club level, the Deutsche Football Liga approved the use of virtual advertising in Bundesliga matches after successful testing back in February.

“We are technology agnostic,” explained ISG joint CEO Tony Ragan. “We look at what is the best solution for a specific rights holder and match the technology to that requirement and found Supponor’s digital billboard replacement (DBR) to be the best technology for this fixture”.

Supponor’s CEO, James Gambrell, added: “We’re extremely pleased to see our Virtual Replacement Technology being deployed on the international stage. The work we’ve done with The FA follows a number of significant developments, including approval of our system for use in Germany’s Bundesliga as of next season. We look forward to helping The FA to continue to innovate and be at the forefront of driving value for its partners around the world.”