Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Virtual Anfield Experience

Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson checks out his team's facilities via VR.

 This appears in the Monday, October 3, 2016 edition of the Business Mirror

A Virtual Anfield Experience
by rick olivares

As a longtime Liverpool Football Club (LFC) fan (close to 40 years a fan), I have seen the team play in Europe, North America and Asia. Going to watch the Reds on their home field of Anfield was and will always be a memorable experience. And I have been there twice for some tremendous matches (against Everton and Arsenal) and I was lucky to come away with good memories. Both matches ended in thrilling draws. While not a win, it still isn’t a loss.

I got to tour Anfield (and Liverpool the city) where I was able to enter the team’s locker room, media area, the world-famous Kop where its most passionate supporters sit for every match, and the other famous part of the stadium. The last time I was there, in January of this year, I got to be part of the media team covering the match and had access to LFC and Arsenal managers Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger, respectively. The game itself was highly memorable, as Joe Allen scored an equalizer right before the end of extra time as the snow was falling!

Not every fan is able to step into that hallowed football field. Fortunately, LFC and Standard Chartered are bringing the spectacle to fans around the world through “Inside Anfield”—a unique virtual-reality (VR) experience.

“Inside Anfield” was launched ahead of the club’s first home game of the season against defending champions Leicester City, and it echoes Standard Chartered’s “Football Is Better Together” sponsorship theme.

The VR experience includes a never-before-seen view inside the players’ dressing room, allowing fans to experience through the eyes of a player what it feels like to be a part of a Jürgen Klopp team talk. The content puts the fan in the players’ shoes, giving them a unique insight into the team’s inner sanctum right all the way to walking out to the home crowd at Anfield.

“Inside Anfield” can be viewed on the Liverpool FC’s global Facebook page. Last opening day, match going fans enjoyed using VR headsets.

Liverpool FC has millions of fans all over the world and this virtual experience, shot using 360-degree cameras, will give fans who may never have the opportunity to visit Anfield the closest experience to really being there, including hearing fans sing the famous anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

“Liverpool FC fans from all over the world will now be able to hear from past players about their pride in playing at Anfield and witness the players step out onto the Anfield turf touching the iconic “This Is Anfield” sign along the way. With the virtual experience, Standard Chartered has also captured 360-degree vision of the iconic tunnel and locker room, which has seen changes since the development of the new main stand. This piece of history is available on demand for fans anywhere in the world to experience in virtual reality,” said Mai Sangalang, corporate affairs, brand and marketing head of Standard Chartered Philippines.

This is just one element of activity Liverpool FC and Standard Chartered will deliver throughout the year to bring Liverpool FC fans across the globe closer to the Club.

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