The National Football League is making big strides into the metaverse with partners including Roblox and Fortnite Creative.
The NFL Zone is the headline endeavor of the league, a metaverse environment built in Fortnite Creative. Fortnite Creative allows users to build their own games and experiences that can be published and shared with the wider Fortnite community.
The NFL and Fortnite Creative
The NFL has partnered with Visa to offer a digital landscape appealing to football fans and Fortnite players alike. The hope is that these experiences will appeal more to Gen Z, which is showing less interest in traditional sports.
Ed Kiang, the vice president of video gaming for the NFL explained the rationale behind the move.
“We believe in meeting fans where they are at,” said Kiang. “The metaverse, its experiences, and its technology are going to be key in engaging the next generation of fans as more of their time is being spent in persistent virtual experiences as a new way to socialize with others and consume content,” he added.
“We see the metaverse as an extension of the NFL’s real-life engagement platforms for emerging social connectivity, providing a new, always-on, virtual hangout destination with activations tied to NFL events and initiatives,” Kiang said.
The NFL Zone has been built with the help SuperAwesome, a subsidiary of Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite. The San Francisco 49ers are the first team featured in the game, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and further teams to follow.
Each team will have a unique home. The 49ers area is designed to resemble an old gold mining town.
NFL Tycoon hits Roblox
Fortnite is not the only metaverse that the NFL is exploring. Earlier this year the company launched NFL Tycoon via Roblox. In NFL Tycoon players can build and play in their own NFL-branded stadiums.
The next game on the NFL’s agenda is a targeting game called Quarterback Simulator, allowing armchair quarterbacks the chance to become virtual quarterbacks from the comfort of their armchairs.