While Australian sports fans were glued to the NRL and AFL finals on the weekend, over in the US the NFL returned for the 2021 season.
And despite high numbers of Covid cases across the country, crowds were still in attendance.
As anyone who has watched the NFL – or any other major US sport – would know, the game day experience for fans is always phenomenal.
But the Carolina Panthers took it to another level ahead of their match against the New York Jets on Sunday, debuting a mixed-panther to cause (virtual) havoc across the ground.
The panther jumped through the goalposts, climbed onto the big screen and even ripped the Jets’ flag.
You can check out the footage below.
Check out our new mixed-reality panther that debuted today 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/8DwEvam9KM
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 12, 2021
While the panther was (obviously) not real, fans were reportedly able to see it on the video screens at the game, which no doubt would have been completely confusing for anyone that had had a bit too much to drink.
It was clearly enough to give the Carolina side a competitive advantage, with the team winning the match 19-14.
Mixed reality differs from augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in that it enables digital and real-world objects to interact.
The Carolina Panthers’ use of mixed reality is by no means the first of its kind.
Earlier this year, sports streaming service Kayo and ESPN launched an AR-driven campaign ahead of the Super Bowl.
The campaign featured legendary NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson and used digital, social and out of home media across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane with two giant street murals, located in Sydney, designed by prolific Australian graphic sports artist Lee Olsen and painted by graffiti artist Reubszz.
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