Experts in Sport: Metaverse topic

Experts in Sport: How will the Metaverse impact the sport industry?

The metaverse continues to be a decisive area in the ever-evolving world of technology, yet questions remain as to how the sport industry can capitalise on new virtual reality spaces.

The latest Loughborough University Experts in Sport podcast delves into the possibilities on offer for those in the sector.

In a wide-ranging episode, Professor Aaron Smith (Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Loughborough University London) is joined by Dr Ben Shields, Senior Lecturer from USA-based MIT Sloan School of Management.

Together, they explore how the metaverse has developed over time, including the potential future benefits for those involved in sport – from venues, franchises, clubs, and ultimately, the fan and athlete experience.

Dr Shields also discusses the stark differences between established social media channels, gaming networks, and the metaverse. He explains how the latter creates immersive digital spaces for individuals to interact, communicate, connect, and partake in new experiences.

The panel touch upon how the metaverse can create new revenue streams for sports businesses, as well as creating new opportunities for spectators to develop their own sport performance skills.

Professor Aaron Smith is a leading industrial figure in sport business wherein he works at the intersections of money and meaning, and brains and brands to explain athlete performance, business innovation, fan psychology, and digital engagement.

Prior to joining Loughborough University London, Prof Smith worked at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, where he was the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor at its College of Business.  

Aaron’s most recent book ‘Football on the Brain: Why Minds Love Sport’, is published under an open-access license making it available for anyone to download and distribute. Download a free copy by visiting the Loughborough University repository or Aaron’s website.

Ben Shields is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His work as a teacher, researcher, and practitioner focuses on digital transformation in the sports, media, and entertainment industries. He developed and teaches a number of courses at MIT Sloan, including Sports Strategy and Analytics, Creative Industries, and Social Media Management. In 2022, he received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching, MIT Sloan's most prestigious teaching award.

Ben is also the author or coauthor of three books on sports, media, and entertainment as well as MIT Sloan case studies on Formula 1, the National Women's Soccer League, and Athletes Unlimited. Prior to MIT, Ben was the Director of Social Media at ESPN.

Listeners of the podcast can subscribe and download the latest episode by visiting iTunesSpotify, and TuneIn. All subscribers will receive an alert once new episodes are published.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/128

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.
Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.