For millions of Americans, Sunday was a great day to lounge around on the couch and watch the opening weekend of NFL football. For the 70,000 fans in attendance at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., there was a lot more to enjoy than just a Carolina Panthers win over the New York Jets.
Panthers fans got to see a gigantic mixed-reality panther leap throughout the stands and tear up a virtual Jets banner in a presentation on the in-stadium video screens. The big cat was apparently rendered using the Unreal Engine by a company called The Famous Group, a “fan experience” organization with clients in the world of live sports.
In fact, you may have seen something like this before from the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. The Famous Group also created the mixed-reality raven that swooped through M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. CEO Greg Harvey explained at the time that they used lasers to scan the physical features of the stadium and field to make the virtual bird believably interact with them.
Good thing the big cat and bird weren’t actually real.