NBC Sports Group said it will enter the live virtual reality race Saturday (May 7) with special coverage of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in partnership with NextVR.
With NextVR, a company that specializes in live VR productions, NBC Sports’s coverage in the format is set to start at 4 p.m., starting with two races prior the main event, including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
The production will rely on seven VR cameras, -- five placed trackside to capture an uninterrupted view of the race (including one adjacent to the owners’ suites), and two cameras in the paddock area to cover the horses as they head to the starting gate. The VR audio feed will include the race call from NBC’s Larry Collmus, as well as commentary from Tom Hammond, Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss.
The VR presentation , available for free via the NBC channel on the NextVR portal and the NextVR app for the Samsung Gear VR platform, will include feature stories about the race, stats, race data and updated betting odds.
Saturday’s coverage will mark the first-ever horse racing in virtual reality, they said.
“We are excited to bring the pageantry and passion experienced annually by those at the Kentucky Derby even closer to viewers at home with the new medium of live virtual reality,” said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group’s Triple Crown horse racing coverage.
“We’re going to wire our viewers directly into one of the most exciting, spectacular experiences in sports,” added Dave Cole, co-founder of NextVR, which recently inked a five-year VR production pact with Fox Sports.