VR gets sports traction
Virtual reality could not only revolutionise the fan experience at sports events but also the way sports content will be broadcasted. “Beyond the advantages of being able to have the look and feel of a front row seat from anywhere in the world, fans will have much more flexibility and autonomy in their consumption of sporting events,” says PwC in its Sports Survey report.
And according to Steve Hellmuth, the NBA’s evp of media operations and technology, we are a mere five to six years away from a VR experience that will enable audiences to ‘sit’ wherever they want inside a stadium.
There have already been numerous trials, with many others in the pipeline. At this year’s French Open, tennis fans were able to watch live centre court matches from a virtual VIP box. And in the UK earlier this year, Premier League football club Manchester City launched a 360° cinematic virtual reality fan experience at its Etihad Stadium.
Intel has cut a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast live games, with audiences able to choose between different VR angles. For the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in 2018, a number of events will be broadcast live and on-demand in VR for the first time.
“While further technological improvements will be necessary for us to see the full potential of VR in sports broadcasting, the majority of [survey] respondents see it more as a question of when rather than if VR/AR will have an impact on traditional TV broadcasting,” says PwC.