The two paired up to release a new iOS, Android, and Gear VR Fox Sports VR app that combines the sports broadcaster’s offerings with LiveLike’s live streaming tech. Users will be able to sign into the app with their television provider’s credentials and then enjoy games in a number of different ways. A Virtual Suite, for example, lets you watch matches from the comfort for a VIP-like suite, though you’ll also be able to head down into venues to enjoy 360-degree views from different perspectives. You can even watch the normal telecast simultaneously with VR content via a board in the stadium.
The first big match to be shown within the app will be coming up this weekend. Fox will show the No. 3 Ohio State and No. 14 Oklahoma college football game on Saturday, September 17th at 7:30 pm PST.
In an interview with Upload, LiveLike’s founder and CEO Andre Lorenceau discussed future programming beyond Saturday’s game.
“We can’t discuss all of the programming we have coming down the road but I can tell you that we do have many more games coming in the next few months from a variety of different sports,” Lorenceau said.
LiveLike is not the only VR company to have a deal like this with Fox Sports. NextVR, a major player in the VR streaming space with an $800 million valuation, is currently less than a year into a five-year deal with the network.
Lorenceau addressed his competitor by saying “what sets us apart from NextVR is that we feel broadcasters find value in being able to share content under their own umbrella. NextVR only publishes content in their own app. This is why we created Fox Sports VR, and not LiveLike VR.”
This commitment to playing in the sandbox of broadcast television providers also come with an obstacle: paywalls. Users need to log in with their cable account information in order to access any of LiveLike’s Fox Sports VR content.
“The reality is media rights for these sports are owned by certain organizations,”Lorenceau explains.
“People pay good money to show these events on TV, so if you want to access it online you need to prove you have it on TV as well.”
Fox Sports is hoping to draw more people toward its app by allowing fans to use it outside VR too. Anyone that downloads the iOS or Android version of the app doesn’t need to have a headset. This version is described as a “magic window” and will allow users to explore the games in a much less immersive style similar to Facebook’s 360 image/video sharing options.
This isn’t going to be the only place you see LiveLike’s tech put to work. In the past the company has worked with the likes of UK broadcaster Sky Sports. The platform offers features like player statistics, shopping opportunities and even online support for friends to watch the same games in virtual rooms together. Hopefully we’ll see more of that tech implemented into the Fox Sports app as time goes on.
Lorenceau says that the next steps for the young company following this launch will be to “ramp up” the number of games it broadcasts, and increase its European footprint.