Fox Sports and NextVR said they are teaming up to broadcast several latter-stage games in the virtual reality/360-degree format of the 2016 Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The companies, on the heels of a new five-year VR partnership, said they will offer live VR streams of the tournament’s quarterfinal semifinal and championship games from New York’s Madison Square Garden.
In all, seven games and more than 15 hours of live VR coverage will be streamed over three days, they said. The live VR streams will feature audio and graphics highlighting player stats, scores and game updates.They said this will mark the first time a college basketball tournament will be broadcast live to a global audience in VR.
The VR broadcasts are slated to start March 10 -- games will also be broadcast live on regular TV via FS1, with the March 12 championship game set to tip-off on Fox at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The free VR broadcasts will be offered via the Fox Sports Section on the NextVR portal. Samsung Gear VR owners can access it by first downloading the NextVR app on any smartphone that’s compatible with the headset.
“Our pipeline for premiere sports content keeps building and we're excited to deliver virtual reality programing with broad appeal to college sports fans, well-known early adopters of technology,” said Brad Allen, NextVR chairman, in a statement.
“Fans want to be a part of the action and virtual reality takes the fan experience to the next level,” added Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, COO & executive producer. “Our relationship with NextVR comes at a time as the demand to enjoy these amazing ‘like being there’ experiences expands.”
Last month, NextVR and Fox Sports offered some VR coverage of the Daytona 500, which followed a broadcast of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) bout and last year’s trial at the U.S. Open from Chambers Bay.