Glazers ‘want Man Utd players to wear cameras during games’ as part of potential money-making plan

The Glazer family wants to implement an Augmented Reality (AR) scheme that would see Manchester United players wear cameras during matches, according to a new report.

The Glazers have been the full owners of United since Malcolm Glazer completed a leveraged buyout of the club’s previous shareholders in 2005.

Six Glazer family members are on United’s board, with Joel and Avram Glazer serving as executive co-chairmen.

Throughout their ownership, the Glazer family have been the subject of heavy criticism from United fans, who were unimpressed by how they took over the club and their lack of engagement with supporters.

The current owners have agreed on a deal for Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS to acquire a 25 percent minority share in the club and take over footballing operations. However, that deal is still waiting for official ratification.

Man Utd co-owners Joel and Avram Glazer pictured (Credit: Getty)

ESPN reported in April that one of the key reasons behind Joel and Avram Glazer being keen to remain at the club is their belief that United has huge potential for ‘organic growth’ over the years ahead.

And a separate report from ESPN’s Mark Ogden claims that one idea that has been previously discussed by the ownership relates to Augmented Reality (AR).

A source familiar with the Glazers’ business model told the outlet: “The big idea, or maybe the big hope, that the Glazers have – and this was driven by Ed Woodward – is the emergence of Augmented Reality.

“The technology is already out there whereby a player could have an AR wearable on his body and a supporter anywhere in the world could pay a small fee to experience a game through the eyes of his favourite player.

“Just imagine how much United could generate from their huge global fanbase if supporters were able to pay to be Marcus Rashford or Bruno Fernandes for 90 minutes?”

The report adds that former United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who worked closely with the Glazers, told ESPN that AR had indeed been seen as a ‘huge opportunity’ that could potentially be monetised.

The Glazers also own NFL franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the league already partnering with other brands to deliver AR concepts.

In fact, in 2016, the Buccaneers becomethe first NFL franchise to utilise AR– with the technology forming part of two in-stadium interactive games.

But United have not been able to explore any potential opportunity to great lengths, as the use of bodycams in competitive matches is currently outlawed by IFAB.

But player bodycams were trialled in pre-season by several clubs to high acclaim, with Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo and Aston Villa’s Youri Tielemans among the players to wear them.

In November, Tottenham’s Brennan Johnson wore a bodycam during his side’s pre-match warm-up against Wolves,in a partnership between TNT Sports and the Premier League.

That success suggests that AR has a future place in competitive football – although when exactly it gets approved for use remains to be seen.

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