The use of Virtual Reality (VR) in sport has increased significantly within the last year. The most recent VR initiative comes from the NBA and the VR broadcasting company NextVR.
The two organisations have agreed on a partnership where one weekly NBA game will be live-streamed in VR. The deal is the first of its kind and will enable fans to enjoy games in a new way.
The deal will commence this season and the first game to be streamed through VR will be the match between the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs.
To be able to watch the VR games, fans will need to have an NBA League Pass which currently costs $200 yearly. Additionally, a VR headset will be required.
The live action will, for now, mainly be streamed in an 180-degree field view. Nevertheless, some content will also be available in 360-degrees.
Fans will be able to switch camera angles and the broadcast will include dedicated announcers.
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) October 20, 2016
The partnership between the NBA and NextVR has been ongoing for some time. The two companies also united to stream the first live professional sports game in virtual reality last season when the Golden State Warriors played the New Orleans Pelicans.
NextVR are committed to make virtual reality mainstream and the partnership with the NBA is a great step towards this.
Furthermore, Danny Keens, the VP of Content and Partnerships at NextVR said that the Laguna Beach-based company are in active conversations with many of the world’s top sports leagues in making similar deals as the NBA VR deal.
Kieran is an assistant Content Editor at Future Sport specialising in sports business and economics.