Football: Who is John Textor, the virtual pioneer who will make Olympique Lyonnais a reality?

A businessman with a thousand people lands in Lyon. Wealthy American John Textor, on his way to becoming the largest shareholder in Olympique Lyon As announced by the club on Monday 20 June -, in fact, above all, a pioneer in virtual reality. In 2016, Forbes magazine portrayed John Textor as Hollywood’s Virtual Reality Expert, a title that came after that to devote the activity of the American businessman in this market. But who is this American, former skater, pioneer of holograms and a passion for soccer? painting.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the former computer programmer puzzled viewers in the cinema. From 2006 to 2012, the entrepreneur chaired the board of directors of Digital Domain, a big-screen special effects studio created by Canadian director James Cameron. In addition to his participation in films such as transformersAnd the Tron: Legacy And part of the saga Pirates of the CaribbeanThe studio has made a name for itself by aging Brad Pitt The strange case of Benjamin Buttonin 2008.

After the company went bankrupt in 2012, John Textor then launched Pulse Evolution, which develops holograms, particularly for deceased stars. In 2012, she managed to bring the American rapper Tupac Shakur, who died in 1996, to the Coachella Festival (California), under the amazing eyes of the public. In 2014, Michael Jackson’s role was to be reborn at the Billboard Music Awards. These two shows are viewed millions of times on Youtube, which contributes to the development of this technology.

After his quest to recreate the stars, the Missouri-born entrepreneur has taken it a step further by embarking on artificial intelligence. He created EvolutionAI and announced on his website that he would dedicate his career to him “Creating digital humans who help improve humanity.”

The 56-year-old American was a A recognized professional skater in the late 1970s. After his sporting achievements and a career in cinema, he co-founded FuboTv, a streaming service focused on live broadcasting of sporting events. Which prompted him to turn to football. In July 2021, he first tried to take over Benfica, but to no avail. The following month, he took refuge in England, acquiring shares in a club Crystal Palace in the southern suburbs of London playing in the English Premier League.

John Textor then took over the historic Brazilian club Botafogo by seizing 90% of its capital. He then returned to Europe and acquired 80% of the shares of RWD Molenbeek aiming to return to the Belgian football elite. “John Textor is a football fan and also wants to invest in our youth”to me newly Thierry Delle, the club’s president, explained.

His fiery tweets on the Botafogo website testify to his commitment, even if the American is first and foremost a businessman. “Football is no different than any other business. You have to win to be profitable”, he told CNN last March. Poised to become Olympique Lyonnais’ majority shareholder, John Textor has taken over a club whose glorious past appears to have been just a hologram in recent seasons as OL’s sporting results have proven disappointing. His new mission will be to make it a reality.

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