Fifa’s bigwigs are currently in Zurich listening to numerous bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. A sort of, “Please bring the World Cup to My Country because we have lots of stadiums and hotel rooms and we think Fifa is really awesome.” It’s truly the height of tedium. (The number of articles I’ve read over the past few weeks, particularly in British newspapers, along the lines of “But do we really want the World Cup?) But, there’s a fun tech story here, so allow me to waste two minutes of your day.
Japan is bidding for the 2022 spot (the favorite is actually Qatar), and it says that if it gets the World Cup, it’ll be the “first, next-generation World Cup.”
(One thing working against Japan is that it co-hosted the tournament only eight years ago, in 2002, with South Korea. Fifa typically doesn’t like having the World Cup in the same country so soon after hosting up. Plus, Fifa has this thing now where the World Cup is being used to promote nobler virtues, and that bringing it to off-the-beaten-path countries like South Korea, Brazil, and [maybe] Qatar seems to be a pretty strong impetus nowadays.)
Back to Japan. That country is promising “live relay[s] of World Cup matches, played out lifesize in 3-D.”
Visitors will also be handed tiny translation devices that will be able to instantly translate into some 50 different languages. I’m not sure if that’s audio translation or more like, point-the-device-at-a-sign-and-have-it-translated-to-your-laguage, but either way, nice. And I’m sure by 2022 machine translation will have gotten pretty good. Maybe it’ll be like Google Translate, it had built-in machine translation, then improves over time as a result of user submissions.
The decision happens tomorrow. The US is in the running for the 2022 World Cup, too, but I’d be shocked if we get it.
My money’s on Spain & Portugal for 2018 (it’s a joint-bid) and Qatar for 2022. Well, my theoretical money; I’m not a betting man.