When one imagines what the future of virtual reality will hold within the entertainment industry, they likely envision a time when anyone, anywhere can get front row seats to their favorite rock concert or sporting event. Imagine plugging in your virtual reality headset and instantly transporting yourself to the 50-yard line of the Super Bowl, or the front row of the NBA Finals. That’s just what one company called NextVR aims to accomplish, and through a partnership with Fox Sports they are getting pretty close.
This week during the 2016 BIG EAST men’s basketball championship today and tomorrow, Fox Sports will be live streaming the games via the NextVR app for Samsung Gear VR owners. The best part is that the access to the live stream is absolutely free and there are several games one can watch.
“Our job as a broadcaster is to create the most engaging entertainment experiences for the sports fan,” said Fox Sports head of business operations David Nathanson. “Anytime we have an opportunity to bring our fans closer to the teams they care about and the sports they care about, the better for us. This represents an opportunity for us not only to do this for our viewers, but opportunities for our sponsors.”
The games, which will air today at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and tomorrow, March 12 at 5:30 p.m., will be available globally. While we aren’t quite yet at a point which allows this stream to use 360 degree views, the game is being filmed with a dual-lens VR camera from some of the best seats in the house. Users will feel as if they are sitting in the stands and will see the game in three dimensions.
“Providing compelling content will encourage more people to purchase VR headsets, whether that’s sports, concerts or films,” said NextVR co-founder DJ Roller. “The number of consumers with headsets is clearly in its infancy yet we believe the next two years will see incredible growth in the adoption of virtual reality as a new medium. Phone makers and carriers will offer headsets as an incentive to buy new flagship mobile phones — as Samsung is doing now with the Galaxy S7 — with chipsets specifically designed for viewing virtual reality content. And as more gaming systems add access to virtual reality content, we will see adoption take off.”
It will be interesting to see if Fox Sports will be announcing how many viewers they have for each game, as this could certainly be content which could drive users to purchases a VR headset. As more and more content becomes available, the market for such headsets will certainly expand. Let us know if you plan on live streaming any of these virtual reality events in the Live Stream VR Big East Tournament forum thread on VRTalk.com.