NextVR has been forging ahead with their plans to make immersive, live VR broadcasting a reality. Today, the company has announced a multi-year deal with FOX Sports to bring “virtual reality coverage of the nation’s top sporting events” to VR headsets.
We first encountered NextVR way back at CES 2014 prior to their re-christening and re-branding, then known as Next3D. The company had already been heavily involved in stereoscopic content production but were about to pivot into the world of immersive, virtual reality broadcasting. Co-founders David Cole and D.J. Roller showed us their latest, 180 degree, stereoscopic court-side recording of a basketball game, complete with binaural audio, all shown on the then cutting edge Oculus Rift 1080p HD prototype. It was impressive stuff.
Fast forward a mere 2 years and today the company has announced a five year deal with broadcasters FOX Sports, to begin bringing their sporting events to virtual reality, starting with the 58th DAYTONA 500 to be broadcast live to both traditional TVs and via NextVR’s Samsung GearVR portal app.
“We have worked with FOX Sports for over a year to test live, virtual reality programming across several sports,” said Brad Allen, executive chairman, NextVR. “This wide-ranging agreement is proof that our technology provides an exciting and compelling option to witness great sporting events in virtual reality.”
Those paying attention may have seen NextVR’s earlier test in this field, when it brought the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race in Fontana, California to VR, following that with coverage of the United States Open Golf Championship from Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.
As to what other events we can expect from this new partnership, we’ll have to wait and see, but keep your eyes on NextVR’s FOX Sports section within their GearVR app for updates.
NextVR seems to be riding high currently, after raising over $30M in order to accelerate that technology pivot to virtual reality broadcasting. Their most recent coverage brought the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2016 Youth Olympic Games to VR.