The NBA is often on the forefront of technology, utilizing new technologies to give fans the best experience possible. With the recent rise in virtual reality technology, it was only a matter of time before the league got involved.
On Thursday, NBA Digital announced that it will be broadcasting one game a week specifically for virtual reality. This will allow fans with virtual reality devices to view the game front a full 360 degree perspective. Via Fortune.com:
“NBA Digital, a joint venture between Turner Sports and the NBA that manages the league’s online properties, said that it will broadcast one basketball game a week that viewers can watch in 360 degrees. 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 league is partnering with NextVR, and will have dedicated commentators and announcers for the broadcasts. The set up will require a subscription to NBA League Pass, as well as a Samsung Gear VR and Samsung Smartphone combo.
The technology will roll out next week with a 180 degree field of view, which will eventually be upgraded to full 360 degrees some time during the season.
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.”
If the implementation is effective, this could change the way fans watch sports in the future.