Expect even more virtual reality content from FOX Sports.
“We have worked with FOX Sports for over a year to test live, virtual reality programming across several sports,” Brad Allen, NextVR executive chairman, said in a statement. “This wide-ranging agreement is proof that our technology provides an exciting and compelling option to witness great sporting events in virtual reality.”
The first official event in the partnership will be at this weekend’s Daytona 500 NASCAR race. NextVR will take fans to the starting line and with team racing crews for an up-close-and-personal view of the action, along with audio commentary and graphics that show the race leaders.
For now, NextVR streams live content to those with the Samsung Gear VR headset and the NextVR app installed on a compatible smartphone.
GeekWire had a chance to try out NextVR’s technology at the U.S. Open this past June while the company ran initial tests with FOX. NextVR set up five 180-degree stereoscopic rigs at vantage points around the Chambers Bay course in Washington, and each was equipped with Red Digital 6K cameras that were live-streaming the action. As I sat inside a hospitality tent hundreds of yards away, I was able to watch golfers tee off in real-time from the 16th hole and be completely immersed in the environment, despite not actually being there.
“It’s really a new medium and an entirely new way to experience live entertainment,” David Cramer, senior vice president of corporate strategy for NextVR, told me in June.
My colleague James Risley also watched a NextVR live broadcast of an NBA game this past fall in virtual reality — his experience was not perfect, but it was easy to see the potential of this new platform.
NextVR’s deal with FOX is another validation for the virtual reality industry, which continues to grow and could be an $80 billion market by 2025.