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While virtual reality is more often than not associated with the world of computers and video games in recent years, the technology is becoming advanced enough for it to branch out into many other forms of entertainment. And now we can get ready for a world in which live sports will put VR fanatics right there in the action, as Fox Sports has entered into a multi-deal partnership with burgeoning tech company NextVR. This could be revolutionary, or at the very least, hella fun.
The goal at the top of this deal is to bring viewer immersion into a selection of different sporting events that Fox Sports airs and holds the rights to. The network and NextVR have worked together in the recent past, which led to the long-lasting agreement. Last month’s Premier Boxing Champions matches gave those with VR headsets a smashingly good time by virtually putting them ringside where they could watch and hear every landed punch with reportedly stunning clarity. (Does this mean Raging Bull VR is coming soon?) And the company’s next team-up is even bigger.
On Sunday, NextVR will take on the iconic Daytona 500 for Fox Sports, and VR-equipped audiences will apparently feel like they’re watching with everyone else at the track. The high-def telecast will also put audiences right there at the starting line, smack in the middle of the infield, and also around the various racing crews as they speedily change tires in the pit. The broadcast will also include audio commentary and specific graphics that highlight the leaders in the race. I’m nowhere near what one would call a fan of racing competitions, but I would get up in this immediately.
If this goes well, then the sky (or more likely some sports complex on the ground) is the limit for where Fox Sports and NextVR can go. Two of the companies’ test gigs were for the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race and the U.S. Open, and we can only hope that there are plans to bring in every other sport within Fox Sports’ power. Give us NCAA football, Major League Baseball, the World Cup, UFC fights and rugby. I can’t help but think that the Super Bowl is going to get some virtual reality love if this deal is a successful one, even if it’s just for the halftime show.
This marks the first time that anything like this has been put together, as TV viewers have basically been experiencing sports broadcasts in the same way ever since they began. Sure, there are 3D TVs that tried to change the game, and Xbox and Smart TVs have given viewers things to do as they watch, but it’s mostly been the basic act of sitting several feet away from a TV screen without any form of immersion. Are you guys excited about a future where even your living room will make you feel like you’re in the action?