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Competitors clash as virtual advertising looks set for leap from experiment to ubiquity

  • Aim Sport and Supponor in bitter legal dispute with millions at stake
  • Switch to software-based service should remove gremlins plaguing digital replacement technology
  • Virtual overlays can mitigate club losses caused by domestic bans on betting advertising
After more than a decade of exaggerated promises and false starts, the market for virtual advertising appears to be on the cusp of going mainstream. The digital replacement technology underpinning it may now be just one or two rights cycles away from ubiquity, at which point it could be driving billions of dollars in additional sponsorship revenue for rights-holders across sport.

With so much money at stake, it is probably no surprise that two of the big players in the nascent market – Anglo-Finnish company Supponor and the Swiss-based Aim Sport – are involved in a legal battle over some of the patents behind the technology. It is a dispute that could go a long way to shaping the sector in the medium term and is being watched closely by sport.

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