The Kentucky Derby is taking place this Saturday (May 7) at 6:34 pm. This will be the 142nd running of the historic horse race. This year, however, things will be a bit different. For the first time ever, the race will be broadcast live in virtual reality thanks to a recent partnership between NBC Sports and NextVR.
NextVR will be placing seven of its dual-lens stereoscopic 3D VR cameras around the historic Churchill Downs racetrack in order to capture all of the equestrian action. These cameras will relay the immersive video live to Samsung Gear VR headsets. Gear VR owners can access the content by downloading the NextVR app and opening the NBC Sports portal within.
The VR stream will incorporate the traditional broadcast’s audio including commentary from NBC’s Larry Collmus. It will also feature a few pieces of “specially created content” from NBC, according to an official statement. These will include “feature stories, as well as statistics, race data, and updated betting odds.”
The VR specific information will be realized in the stream as a digital scoreboard of sorts that is meant to mimic its actual Churchill Downs counterpart.
What makes this deal somewhat surprising is that earlier this year NextVR announced a multi year partnership with FOX Sports to broadcast a myriad of live sporting events throughout the year.
NBC has the Kentucky Derby broadcasting rights through 2025 so there is no way the FOX partnership would allow NextVR to broadcast this particular event. However, it is notable that NextVR seems free to play in other kids sandboxes to create VR sports content for more than just FOX.
This is NextVR’s third recent partnership revelation. The young company announced earlier this week that it would be working with TIME inc. to create virtual reality content for its 100 major brands. The popular ticketing site LiveNation was also revealed this week to be a NextVR partner.