Coming to America: Cricket’s governing body launches immersive app on Apple Vision Pro for T20 World Cup

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched a new app to bring the atmosphere of the ongoing Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in the US to fans through Apple Vision Pro.

Designed in collaboration with Quidich, the new ICC Immersive app brings users to the centre of the stadium to get a first-hand experience of what it is like to be their favourite batter faced with a hard ball flying towards them very quickly.

Users can re-live the most exciting moments from the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup in an accurately rendered virtual stadium, that utilises various data sources including player and ball tracking to create an exact replica of the action.

It has been created on the back of Quidich’s new HypeReality product, which collects 2.2 million data points per T20 game in order to give users a genuine view into a particular match.

Speaking to SVG Europe, Finn Bradshaw, ICC head of digital, says on the app: “Apple Vision Pro is the immersive VR experience. We are launching an app – ICC Immersive – for users so they can put on the Vision Pro and we’ve created an experience that basically puts them inside the stadium. It uses all the data that Quidditch has to recreate the experience of facing the best bowlers in the world.

“You put on the headset and it’s rendered a realistic recreation of all the stadiums. You look around and it feels like you’re in the middle of the stadium. Obviously we don’t have every ball in a match – no one’s going to sit through all of that – but it’s got the key moments of a match and you can watch a video of that, but then as that’s playing, you actually see the bowler coming and bowl at you at the batter.

“Because we’ve got all the right data points, every fielder is sitting in the right position,” continues Bradshaw. “The ball tracks as it should, and comes off the pitch, and so you get this sense of being a batter, where are the fielders standing? What were their options? But also you just get a sense of how quickly the ball comes at you or how much it deviates off the pitch.

“So it gives a very hyperrealistic experience for fans in a way that has never been possible before; just this fully immersive experience.”

Converting Americans to cricket

As to the goal of ICC Immersive, Bradshaw states: “I think it’s doing two things. One, I believe in this sort of idea that when your team’s had an amazing performance like the West Indies had yesterday, say as a fan you kind of want to consume a lot of content around that. Most people have seen the videos, they watch the broadcast, and I think they tend to have a fairly high level capacity for consumption of content. And so this is another way to do it.

“There’s an educational part of it too to for hopefully all these people in America who might’ve had a bit of a taste of cricket because it’s there, but want to know a bit more. It helps them understand the game a bit more.

“We think it’s a great way of both increasing understanding amongst existing fans, but obviously having this event in the US, a big part of that has been trying to educate new fans about cricket, and we think this is a way for maybe you’ve played baseball, but this gives you a taste of what playing cricket would be like.”

He goes on: “We still think the best way for people to watch a live match is to watch a broadcast. [ICC Immersive] is about after you’ve watched. Like yesterday when the West Indies were going absolutely nuts and hitting the ball everywhere, if you’re a West Indies fan, you might wonder what would that actually have been like to be Nicholas Pooran in the middle of the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia? And you could actually see how quickly the ball’s coming off his bat and disappearing into the crowd.”

Quidich magic end to end

Quidich has created the ICC Immersive app in Apple Vision Pro end to end. Bradshaw comments on how the company has done. “This it feels like a real step change a step change in terms of the experience, and in that [Quidich is] doing essentially B2B business normally, whereas this is a consumer facing product.

“They’ve used Unreal Engine, the gaming software, which they use currently for that sort of in-broadcast stuff. We have those features where it gives you a sense of the batter looking around and it gives you a sense of where the fielders are and stuff like that. For Quidditch, I think they’re obviously looking to expand the services they can offer to rights holders and so to be able to provide them with fan-facing, consumer-facing products I think is a really interesting direction for them to be taking.”

Rahat Kulshreshtha, co-founder of Quidich, tells SVG Europe: “At Quidich, we see the future of sports broadcasting in creating immersive experiences that bring fans closer to the action than ever before. Our HyperReality platform was used to build the official ICC Immersive app on the Apple Vision Pro, transforming cricket engagement by allowing fans to virtually step into the stadium.

“With 2.2 million data points collected per T20 game, fans can live each moment as if they were on the pitch. This technology not only elevates the viewing experience but also deepens fan connection, particularly attracting younger generations who crave interactivity.

“Given that nearly a third of the world’s population is Gen Z, experiences like these ensure that traditional sports content is consumed in formats they are excited about and comfortable with,” continues Kulshreshtha. “This convergence of advanced technology and sports will redefine cricket experiences and propel the ICC fan base to new heights.”

Quidich has spent the past three years developing the HypeReality vision. Notes Kulshreshtha: “The ICC and Apple Vision Pro have been key enablers in bringing this platform to life. By combining our data points collected in every T20 game along with the ICC’s global reach, we’re creating an unparalleled experience for cricket fans worldwide. Developed 13,000 kilometres away from the action in our innovation lab in Goa, India, the ICC Immersive app aims to revolutionise sports broadcast technology and redefine how sports are consumed.”

Apple Vision Pro users can download the app and be virtually transported onto the cricket pitch, surrounded by a roaring crowd and interactive data overlays and visualisations of the biggest cricket carnival ever.

This will give fans the experience of being inside each stadium across the six different Super 8 venues in West Indies, in addition to the historic 34,000 seater Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. Users can experience key moments from all matches from the Super 8s onwards.

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