PR Newswire

The NBA To Broadcast One Game Per Week In Virtual Reality

Friday, Oct 21, 2016

On Thursday, in a statement released by NBA Digital, the league announced that it will broadcast one basketball game per week in virtual reality -- a telecast that the audience can watch in 360 degrees with the proper technology installed.

Per Fortune's Jonathan Vanian:

The first custom broadcast will debut October 27 when the Sacramento Kings play against the San Antonio Spurs. During the broadcast, the NBA will stream the game in 180-degrees, in which viewers can turn their heads to follow the action, while a graphical display of the game’s statistics will be streamed in another 180-degrees to accompany the broadcast.

The requirements to access the virtual reality, however, are rather strict: at this time, only fans with an NBA League Pass subscription, Samsung Gear VR headset, and Samsung smartphone will be able to consume the content:

Eventually, the NBA will make 360-broadcasts available to the Daydream View virtual headset, says Jeff Marsilio, NBA vice president of global media distribution. Marsilio adds that it’s “likely” that other headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the Sony PlayStation VR will be supported.

The NBA is partnering with virtual reality startup NextVR, which will be doing a lot of the production legwork, such as setting up a broadcasting truck outside the arena and filming the game. NextVR will work with NBA producers on how the game will be presented, and the NBA will have dedicated announcers and sideline reporters who will narrate the game.

There's still some kinks to work out, but once again -- this announcement and product release proves that the NBA has a clear initiative to evolve, and not just in the technology field.


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