TECHNOLOGY

NFL Teams Up With Meta for Custom Super Bowl Avatars

Facebook, IG, and Messenger users can now take their football fandom into virtual worlds in the run up to Super Bowl LVI via profile pictures, posts, stickers, and more.

Now that we know who’s playing in Super Bowl LVI following a thrilling conference championship weekend, football fans will now have the opportunity to take their fandom all the way to the metaverse.

Thanks to a partnership between the NFL and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, football fans will be able to outfit their on-platform 3D avatars with digital t-shirts featuring the Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, or the Super Bowl LVI logo on Facebook, IG, Messenger, or on VR, Meta announced Monday.

“This represents real momentum on the road to the metaverse,” said Rob Shaw, Meta’s Director of Sports Partnerships. “It enables the NFL to drive engagement with its next generation of fans in a unified way across our technologies, which is a step toward an interconnected digital world. And while we don’t have anything to share on monetization opportunities yet, we’re also moving closer to our ultimate vision of a future where fans can buy digital merchandise for their avatars – which will only increase the business opportunity for us and our partners.”

It’s part of a broader rollout of updated 3D avatars for Facebook, Messenger, and for the first time, Instagram Stories, and DMs.

Starting Monday, users in the United States, Canada, and Mexico can also use their metaverse avatars in Facebook profile pictures, posts, and stickers across the organization’s apps.

“We’re updating Meta avatars with a lot more expressions, faces, and skin tones, as well as wheelchairs and hearing aids,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post released Monday. “We’re starting to experiment with digital clothing too, including official NFL shirts you can wear for the Super Bowl. You can use your avatar across Quest, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. One day, you’ll have multiple avatars ranging from expressive to photorealistic. Looking forward to sharing more soon.”

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