NFL’s Carolina Panthers creates viral Mixed Reality Panther

By Alan Kwok
Posted on October 4, 2021

The mainstream adoption of Mixed Reality continues. If you do not believe so. The NFL’s adoption of Mixed Reality technology should convince you otherwise.

The Carolina Panthers season home opener featured something new for football fans. The game featured a Mixed Reality panther bouncing around Bank of America Stadium. The new mixed-reality mascot became a viral sensation with over 8.9 million impressions on Twitter. Yahoo, NBC, and various other media outlets wrote featured articles.

Like augmented reality the main difference with mixed reality is the ability to interact with the environment like Bank of America Stadium. Fans in the stadium do not actually see the panthers but through the camera on the jumbotrons throughout the stadium. They experienced a visual and audio sensation, where the saw and heard the panther jump into the stadium and bounce around. The Mixed Reality panthers interacted with the surrounding including pouncing around the stadium and eventually tearing the opposing teams flag off a pole.

This is not the first time we have seen Mixed Reality at an NFL game before. Back in 2019 in primetime on Sunday Night Football the Baltimore Ravens featured their own Mixed Reality raven at their home M&T Bank Stadium. Creator from The Famous Group mentioned in an interview with Yahoo the two main differences. The first was that the night game lighting “affected the realism of the raven which threw people off.” Second is the interact to the environment mentioned previously. Success was similar with national media coverage including a featured spotlight ESPN’s SportsCenter.

The Carolina Panthers are trilled by the respond generated and are committed to feature the Mixed Reality Panther at every home game this season. Other teams in the NFL have investigated Mixed Reality, The Famous Group mentioned they are currently working with the Houston Texans as well. The week before they utilized this technology for a cool sponsored race at NRG Stadium.

The main use for Mixed Reality has been to keep fans entertained before games, during halftime and commercial breaks. The future of this technology includes business use where teams will have the ability to do just about anything from a marketing perspective. Teams can utilize this technology to add product placement where they want, they can hide or remove empty seats. Mixed reality will continue to evolve to where you cannot tell the difference between the physical world and augmented world.    

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