Weavr Consortium has been awarded a two-year demonstrator grant by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body of the UK Government for innovation and research.
The grant is part of the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and will focus on esports broadcasting. ESL UK‘s experience in the industry will be used to demonstrate the result of the funding.
Weavr Consortium won in the Sports & Entertainment category, receiving £4 million in matched funding for the upcoming project: a cross-reality viewing experience that displays “high fidelity statistics, visualisations and data-driven stories” to give insights into live matches. AI and data learning will be used to create a more engaging experience for viewers.
Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries commented: “The UK is home to some of the world’s leading digital and creative talent. Through our modern Industrial Strategy and multi-million pound creative industries sector deal, we are bringing them together to give audiences a truly unique experience.
“The growth of immersive technology has the power to transform the way in which we watch theatre, play games or go to the cinema, and these new projects will demonstrate how we can take people closer than ever before to the live action.”
ESL itself will focus on project management and will test the project during its event, the University of York will assist with machine learning, UX design, and research, Focal Point VR will contribute 8K video capture hardware and software, and Rewin will create VR and XR apps for the viewer experience.
James Dean, Managing Director of ESL UK added: “At the forefront of an emerging and rapidly growing esports industry, we’re in a very fortunate and unique position to have insight in the live viewing habits and interactivity of young, tech savvy and early adopting audiences. We’re ecstatic to be working alongside industry leaders across the Weavr consortium to pave the way for the next generation of immersive technology and, with UKRI’s support, to realise a framework for the future of live entertainment and sports.”
Esports Insider says: We’re slowly seeing the rise of UK esports with events coming to the nation, local organisations such as EXCEL joining major competitions, and an increase in education at universities. Now, a government-funded project that’s aimed at improving esports viewership at large will help to further put the UK on the map and to possibly make a giant leap forward for spectators. This is great, great news.