There has recently been a lot of speculation on how and if Virtual Reality (VR) will be used in the future of football, but Fox Sport Eredivisie put their money where their mouth was and were the first league in football history to Livestream the game in full VR.
Fox Sport Eredivisie collaborated with Beyond Sport, a Dutch sports science and technology company. This partnership was most likely formed due to Beyond Sport’s previous successful experience with VR in the Eredivisie. The match they chose to debut the new technology on was between first place Feyenoord and third place PSV Eindhoven on February 26th, 2017.
The result was a success for both Feyenoord, who secured a 2-1 victory, and Beyond Sport. The implementation of VR allowed the viewer to become more immersed in the match by allowing the game to be viewed at previously unreachable angles. The broadcast even allowed viewers to watch the match from the perspective of players, coaches, or even the referee, so fans can finally sympathies with them on controversial calls (most likely not). The broadcaster even took it one step more by having the presenters of Dit was het Weekend (Dutch Match of the Day) use the virtual environment to accurately depict and analyze key moments in the match.
The broadcast managed to achieve the previously impossible angles by working with data tracking company ChyronHego to fabricate the movements in VR. For those viewers who do not have access to Fox Sport Eredivisie the game was also streamed on Twitch, a web based streaming platform. The full match in VR can be seen for free here.
Although recreating the game in VR can be very useful to coaching staff and analyst’s, it still has some ways to go before it can solely be used to watch matches. While the portrayal of player’s movements and positions are accurate, the ball does tend to teleport throughout the broadcast, although future technological improvements could mend this.
Now that the next step of sports and technology has been taken, it is undeniable that the future of sports and an improved fan experience is now.
University Student studying International Business at Richmond, The American International University in London and Intern at WePlay Digital Sports Agency.