It’s that time of year again—when people pretend to care about horse racing by putting on ridiculous hats and getting drunk during the daytime. Yes, it’s the Kentucky Derby, and this time you can watch it live in your Gear VR headset starting Saturday.
The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved (according to the late author Hunter S. Thompson), but up until now far-flung fanatics of the annual spectacle always had to rely on TV coverage to get a glimpse of the historical race, of course played out to the lovably tacky backdrop of seersucker suits and over-sized floppy hats.
NextVR, the livestreaming immersive video platform, has partnered with NBC Sports Group to give Gear VR users the sort of ‘up close and personal’ look that only VR headsets can provide.
Coverage will feature surrounding views of everything from the paddock to the track, and finishing in the winner’s circle. A total of seven NextVR cameras will be used for the presentation from Churchill Downs, five of which will allow users different trackside views of the race.
NextVR is gearing up to cover even more events in the coming months, no doubt a result of their recent $30.5M seed funding round. The VR video platform has had previous partnerships that allowed them to film NBA, NHL, and NASCAR events—not to mention the U.S. Democratic debates—and the firm is currently poised to livestream 360 concerts and festivals from some of the biggest names in showbiz.
Gear VR-accessible coverage of the 142nd Kentucky Derby begins at 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 7, and will be available for free through the NBC channel on the NextVR app. If you’re a bit early, you’ll be able to catch two races prior to the official derby, including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
Make sure to keep your head on a swivel though, because like attending the event in the flesh, people watching is half the fun.