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England-Holland TV Broadcast Implements Virtual Advertising Technology For Overseas Viewers

Blink and you may have missed it. I certainly did. While watching today’s entertaining match between England and Netherlands, The FA and a sports production company implemented virtual sideline advertising boards that displayed different ads around the world than the real ones shown in the stadium.

The technology was so seamless that I didn’t notice it until a reader pointed it out. For those of us who watched the game on television or the Internet outside of Netherlands and the United Kingdom, we would have seen several different adverts on the boards that were set next to the sidelines. Astute observers would have noticed that the ads were for Asian companies such as Indovision (Indonesian pay TV service), Garuda Indonesia (Indonesian Airline), ANA (Japanese airline), Astro (Malaysian pay TV service), and NowTV (Hong Kong IPTV service). But those watching the game either in the stadium or on UK or Dutch TV would have seen ads for ING, PriceWaterHouse Coopers, Dutch State Lottery, etcetera.

If you watch the game on a rerun, you’ll notice that the main camera angle shows the ads for Asian companies. But when the field-cameras are used for close-ups and different angles, you’ll see the advertising boards used to promote Dutch companies. Meanwhile, the boards behind each goal featured advertisements of England and The FA sponsors. Watch the video highlights below to see what the spectators saw in the stadium as well as on UK and Dutch TV. And then compare that to what you watched on television.

Hats off to Input Media, the sports production company responsible for implementing the technology of virtually displaying ads over the ones in the stadium. This certainly opens the door to other opportunities moving forward for football associations and clubs to generate even more revenue from advertising. And it also sends a message in regards to where the most revenue potential is: Asia.

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  1. Chris

    March 2, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Is this similar to how the NFL paints things on to the field, which obviously you can’t see live?

    • Chris

      March 2, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Also, is this why when the players were next to the advertising boards, they had that weird outline?

  2. olivert

    March 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Compare the “official” FA video as shown by the YouTube video above to the video supplied by Input Media to viewers outside the UK and Netherlands (in the link below at and you will see the virtual ad technology in use:

    The ads for Indovision, NowTV, Garuda Indonesia, Astro, ANA, etc. are only visible to TV viewers who received the “3rd party” video feed from Input Media.

  3. olivert

    March 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    The big difference between what the North American. broadcasters have done with virtual advertising compared to what Input Media/The FA did on Wednesday night:

    – North American broadcasters used the technology to add additional advertising signage to the broadcasts. None of the real ads were blocked out.

    – Input Media/The FA used the technology to REPLACE the real advertising signage (which were paid for by Dutch companies) with virtual advertising targeting TV viewers in Asia.

    This is a HUGE development.


    One can imagine that UEFA will soon be able to use the technology to superimpose virtual ads for beer during matches held in countries such as France, where ad signage for alcohol is prohibited.

    One can also imagine that some countries (China, for example) will be able to use the same technology to superimpose virtual ads to block out real gambling ads on the shirts.

    • The Gaffer

      March 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      I would think that the dream scenario would be that advertisers in different countries could take the TV feed and then use virtual ads specific to that country. But if the one TV feed is the same international feed that everyone uses, then this wouldn’t be possible. Anyone have any insights on this?

      The Gaffer

      • olivert

        March 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        Input Media bought the virtual ad system from one of several companies.

        One can imagine that:

        1. Government-owned broadcasters can purchase the same technology to block out gambling, alcohol, and tobacco advertising. The Chinese, for example, can use the technology to remove gambling website advertising (including shirt logos) during EPL telecasts. The French, for example, can use the technology to remove beer advertising.

        2. The likes of UEFA can use the technology to ADD beer ads to video of matches played in France, where real alcohol advertising is not permitted. UEFA Events can order two different video feeds to be produced: one with beer ads, one with no beer ads (to France.)

      • Josh

        March 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        This is somewhat what Major League Baseball does for the World Series. Sportsnet (they use the international feed) is able to put up Canadian specific ads on the virtual board/green screen behind home plate that are different from Fox ads and different from ads seen in the rest of the world. I’ve noticed Canadian specific companies like Rogers and Canadian Tire have appeared on the board.

  4. Titus Pullo

    February 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I’m surprised this is the first time they have done this. Major League Baseball has been using this technology, or at least something similar, for advertising behind home plate for a number of years. Surprising because Europe is usually ahead of the US when it comes to technology.

    • jtm371

      February 29, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      yeah your right i forgot the I-phone and the i-pad were designed in Budapest.might not be your best post might want to rethink it.

      • Titus Pullo

        March 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm

        I meant that Europeans and other parts of the world are usually ahead of the US in adopting technology, not necessarily developing it. Or at least it seems like they have cooler/better stuff than we do (like real high-speed Internet at reasonable prices).

        But perhaps not.

        • jtm371

          March 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

          why don’t you go to Europe in the summer and tell me how the A/C is working.if it is so old and bad here in America i’m sure your free to leave.opinions are like noses we all have one.ENJOY!

    • Bishopville Red

      March 1, 2012 at 9:02 am

      It’s a little trickier when the camera moves, but the US has been using that to effect for a while too. American Football has all sorts of information – even ads in some cases – transposed on the pitch, while some teams in the NHL have put ads on the glass behind goalies.

      Some footy broadcasts have used this idea to put scores on the pitch, (I’m thinking Brazil) so to see it used for ads does seem a little late.

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