Fox Sports said it will use LiveLike’s VR platform to deliver a live stream of the September 17 non-conference football matchup between Ohio State and Oklahoma to a digitally-rendered, 360-degree virtual suite.
Fox Sports said it will offer it on the Fox Sports VR app for iOS and Android device to 95 million authenticated homes (those that get a pay TV service from an MVPD with digital rights to Fox Sports programming).
Notably, the VR experience will be available to authenticated users via an interactive, 360-degree viewing platform built specifically for mobile device, or on a mobile VR headset such as the Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard.
The experience centers on a “Virtual Suite” in the stadium, where users can watch the game or pick from several on-field perspectives that are closer to the on-field action. An in-stadium board will simulcast the broadcast, and users will have interactive access to additional elements such as team rosters and schedules and game stats on demand.
The Fox Sports VR app is powered by LiveLike, a startup that specializes in helping programming partners deliver sporting events in digital environments that replicate “VIP” rooms and luxury suites found at large stadiums and arenas.
Earlier this year, prior to commercial launch of LiveLike’s platform, company CEO Andre Lorenceau noted that the company was pushing ahead with several deployments in 2016 with partners in Europe and the U.S.
He explained that the live stream delivered to LiveLike’s platform doesn’t require any special 360-degree camera equipment because it can take the traditional 2D feed (as long as it’s captured using a fisheye/wide-angle lens) and stitch it into the VR experience. Lorenceau also discussed the sponsorship and advertising opportunities the platform could support, noting that “noninvasive” ads could be overlayed into the VR environment.
UPDATE: This weekend's game offered on the VR app is not being sponsored, though future opportuniies for sponsorships are being pursued, Fox Sports confirmed,
Fox Sports and LiveLike said they plan to team up for “multiple games” during the college football season.
“FOX Sports’ commitment to innovation makes them the perfect company for us to work with as we roll out a VR experience that allows today’s sports fan to lean-in and watch sports in an entirely new way,” Lorenceau said in a statement.
“LiveLike has a unique and compelling approach to the live-sports VR experience,” added Devin Poolman, Fox Sports SVP of digital platforms. “We are thrilled to work with them to bring this new technology to our viewers, and it is particularly meaningful that this experience requires only an iPhone or Android device, allowing us to bring VR to a larger audience than ever before.”