NextVR specializes in live broadcasts of professional sports to be viewed in VR. NextVR used their unique platform to broadcast the Turner Sports Business Forum using virtual reality cameras.
According to an article in Fortune, NextVR worked with the NFL during the 2015-2016 season to broadcast several games in VR, including Jets vs. Titans, Ravens vs. Steelers, and Dolphins vs. Patriots. The culmination of this partnership will be a booth at Super Bowl L where they will be letting visitors experience these game from four to five different camera angles on the field at the NFL Experience booth at the Super Bowl.
NextVR executive chairman Brad Allen feels confident in his company’s ability to take on a more significant, and consistent, broadcast partnership with professional football.
“We’re ready to livestream any event today,” Allen said in the article. “If the NFL says yes, we could do it next season.”
Football is not the only sport that Next VR is interested in giving the VR treatment. The company has dabbled in MLB and professional soccer, but its greatest success has come from the NBA.
“The NBA is the leader in this space. We’ll see more regularly scheduled live VR events this fall. If people know there will be a whole slate of games and events they can watch, it will drive VR,” Allen said.
For NextVR, the key to driving greater adoption is providing an experience that is better than traditional broadcasting, not merely a novelty. They have seen this philosophy take hold already through their work with the NHL.
“The reaction on hockey has been amazing because the experience is so much better than a TV broadcast,” Allen said.
NextVR is working to improve VR broadcasting on the hardware side as well. They announced a partnership with Qualcomm to test the new A20 chip that will ship in new smartphones during Q1 of this year. These A20 equipped handsets will provide the head tracking, and 4k displays necessary to allow even the most basic VR systems (i.e. Google Cardboard) to become satisfactory platforms for Next VR’s immersive broadcasts.
“We’re still experimenting across the board with what the best virtual reality experience is for sports, whether it’s a produced experience with commentary or a more organic experience with sounds from the stadium,” Allen said in the Fortune article.
Correction: Article and headline updated NextVR will be presenting earlier NFL games at the NFL Experience booth during the Super Bowl.