Bundesliga granted new commercial opportunity as virtual advertising approved

The German Football League (DFL) has today (Tuesday) approved the use of virtual perimeter advertising in the top-tier Bundesliga, with a system developed by technology company Supponor and the Lagardère Sports agency being the first to be granted the green light.

Today’s announcement comes after Lagardère Sports and Supponor, along with LED technology provider ADI, the DFL and its subsidiary Sportcast concluded the final test of the technology last month.

On February 26, the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg at Signal Iduna Park saw an additional world feed, provided outside German-speaking markets, broadcast live for the first time.

Supponor’s technology is fully integrated with the regular broadcast of a match using perimeter boards and optics technology. The result of this is that the advertising space is multiplied virtually, through the creation of broadcast standard virtual overlays of the physical perimeter boards. While audiences in Germany do not experience any difference in the stadium or on screen, various brands can occupy the same space on the existing perimeter boards and advertise to different markets via the television broadcast.

Philipp Hasenbein, managing director of Lagardère Sports Germany, said: “The virtual advertising breakthrough has supposedly been imminent for more than 15 years now. We are therefore delighted that we have been able to further develop the technology together with our strategic partners Supponor and ADI in order to ensure that it meets the very high quality standards of the DFL. 

“We are convinced that the use of virtual perimeter advertising will provide an enormous boost to the entire Bundesliga’s internationalisation efforts. As an international marketing agency, the technology enables us to create added value for both rights holders and sponsors. We support our partners in further shaping their positioning in their respective target markets and in reaching their customers with targeted and country-specific advertising.”

Charlie Marshall, chief operating officer of Supponor, added: “It was of critical importance in choosing Lagardère Sports as our partner that they shared our vision to cooperate with all of the DFL clubs to maximise the opportunity for large scale deployment of Supponor’s virtual technology to as many club partners as possible, regardless of their marketing affiliations. 

“Everyone at Supponor is now looking forward to deploying our augmented reality technology to help drive the incremental value for our existing and new Bundesliga partners that comes from delivering audience-relevant, high-quality virtual LED advertising.”

The DFL added that in future, each club will be able to use approved systems in conjunction with the League, where they consider this to be appropriate. The DFL will arrange a workshop in the near future to inform the 36 clubs across the Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga about the exact conditions and potential scope of the use of virtual advertising. 

The League added: “The plan is to then issue a joint guideline together with the clubs in order to ensure maximum process security in using the new technology.”