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Other TV films for the US and China: This is the background to the EM perimeter ad

Other TV films for the US and China: This is the background to the EM perimeter ad

The European Championships in Germany will be telecast live around the world. But not all fans in the stadiums and in front of the screens always see the same images. For example, while German television viewers noticed an advertisement for a large chicken slaughter in Lower Saxony, Americans and Chinese did not notice anything. Even those in the arena don't see these ads on the LED boards around the stadium. The reason for this is a special technology.

UEFA, the European football union, is producing specially designed adverts for TV audiences in Germany, China and the US – with virtually adapted billboards. This means that different advertising displays are shown on LED boards during live games in each country.

“For example, a spectator in a stadium sees Coca-Cola ads on billboards in English, while a television viewer in Germany sees a similar Coca-Cola ad, but in German,” UEFA told the German press agency..

AI Premier at the European Championships

The technology uses artificial intelligence to overlay billboards in real time. According to UEFA, the ad will only be changed on the main broadcast camera during the game. Advertising on boards is not adjusted for other camera angles.

UEFA has been testing this practice for the past six years. Virtual perimeter advertising will be used for the first time in Super Cup 2021 as announced by the association – and now the technology will be used for the first time in the European Championship. Since the 2018/19 season, the Bundesliga has had the option of virtual perimeter advertising.

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Christoph Breuer, professor of sports economics and sports management at the German Sports University in Cologne, talks about the huge impact sponsors can achieve through virtual advertising. Brand messages from UEFA sponsors may be displayed in their respective national languages. And national sponsors can also be featured.

Special mention to ARD and ZDF

“Technologically, it has been possible for years to change broadcast images in real time without the television viewer noticing,” says Breuer. This technology has been used for a long time, especially in American sports, and is now increasingly used in Asia. In these countries, brand logos often appear on the pitch. “European sports organizers have been very wary of this for a long time,” he notes. At the European Championships, virtual advertising will be used only to a very small extent – more is technically possible.

When broadcasting, ARD and ZDF indicate the use of virtual advertising at the beginning and end of the program. The state media agreement also states that this should be indicated in broadcasts. It also states that virtual advertising will only be allowed if it “replaces an existing advertisement in the active space”. This means not creating additional virtual advertising space.

Expert: Fair action

Breuer sees the new advertising format as uncomplicated. “Ads aren't being shown anymore, it's being shown more intelligently,” he says. It is also made clear that the images shown in the 1:1 ratio do not match the images seen by the stadium audience. “On this basis, I think the approach to increasing added value is a reasonable step,” says Breuer.

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“If additional advertising space is installed that does not match the situation of the stadium, it will be very problematic,” says the sports economist. For example, this happens when brand logos are displayed almost in a central circle, five meters wide, or in the corners. When asked if UEFA was planning such measures in the future, it was open-ended. (dpa/bv)