On-field advertisements distract viewers during the Bledisloe Cup

During the third test at the Bledisloe Cup – held in Japan this year between Australia and New Zealand – the on-field advertising was a major distraction, leaving fans concerned about what will happen to coverage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup when it arrives in the country in a year’s time.

The Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), which was supposed to cover the field at Yokohoma’s Nissan Stadium with advertisements, ended up concealing both the players and the ball as they moved through the areas on the field where the ads were placed.

During the 11th minute, the ads for Canon and AIG were pulled, despite the fact that the malfunction did not last long, many fans couldn’t seem to focus on anything but the ads during the game.

Fans may be concerned and annoyed as they might be if this had happened in any game, but as the 2019 Rugby World Cup final will be hosted at Nissan Stadium – and with the same on-pitch advertising pencilled in to be used during the tournament – those concerns will be heightened. Yet even though the difficulties with the CGI are clearly a problem, there is still plenty of time to work out technical issues to ensure that they are working properly during the broadcast when it comes to the World Cup itself.

Despite the distractions for the audiences – which were rectified very early into the first half of the game – the New Zealand All Blacks were able to beat out the Australian Wallabies 37-20. In the end, the rugby did the talking, but there’s work to do ahead of next year.

The issue is reminiscent of the problems that FIFA had with Video Assistant Referees (VAR) during the 2017 Confederations Cup, with fans decrying its use in the 2018 World Cup. However, this year’s bigger tournament was a roaring success and the use of VAR was seen as one of the major breakthroughs.

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Parker Sikes
Parker Sikes 34 posts

Parker Sikes is an American student studying advertising in London. Follow her on Twitter at @sikespar.

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