What was the first practical use of AR?

There’s a strong argument that the first piece of AR in live television was the yellow ‘must reach here’ line in American Football. With four goes to move the ball at least ten years, the yellow line on the screen showed where the ball had to reach… even if the camera was moving, and of course it couldn’t obscure the players.

A digital line, on the ground, and everyone able to stand on top of it. Sports Illustrated looks at the line:

Everything started with a simple yellow line. On September 27, 1998, Sportvision debuted its yellow first down marker on the ESPN broadcast of the Week 4 game between the Ravens and Bengals. For the first time fans watching at home could see the exact moment the ball crossed the plane.

Sixteen years later, Sportvision can now weave almost anything into a football broadcast, from down and distance arrows to virtual video screens; it can even reveal the yard lines completely obscured by snow during winter games.

There’s going to be a lot more graphics on the AR field this weekend at the Superbowl, but it’s still Sportsvision leading the AR charge!