Live VR broadcasts from the world’s biggest sporting leagues are steadily becoming easier to find. A major new three year partnership between Intel and MLB, America’s leading baseball league, will bring weekly live baseball games streamed in VR for free to Gear VR via Intel’s ‘True VR’ tech.

Hot off the heels of a deal to stream several golf rounds of the PGA Tour in VR, Intel has now announced a whopping three year partnership with MLB surrounding live streaming baseball games and highlights in VR.

Free Games Broadcast in VR, Weekly

Photo courtesy Intel

The start of the partnership will see Intel VR livestreaming one game every Tuesday during the 2017 MLB regular season for free. Each of those VR broadcasts will also be available for on-demand replays and post-game highlights delivered in VR. In the following seasons during the three year deal, we expect to see ramped up game coverage along with the introduction of paid packages.

The VR broadcasting is done via Intel’s ‘True VR’ platform which is currently only available on Samsung’s Gear VR headset. True VR employs panoramic stereoscopic cameras derived from Intel’s 2016 acquisition of VR broadcasting company Voke. The cameras offer a panoramic (but not completely 360) 3D view of the baseball stadium.

A standard broadcast feed embedded into the virtual view gives the feel of a jumbotron | Photo courtesy Intel

For the MLB games streamed during the 2017 season, Intel says there will be up to four camera angles available per game, which users can freely swap between, or choose to watch a produced version which can also include standard broadcast camera views embedded into the virtual view. The virtual view will also offer “up-to-the-moment player and team statistics throughout the game, including pitcher and batter data, and […] exclusive in-app commentary.”

“We are excited to bring the Intel True VR experience to fans around the country every week,” said Kenny Gersh, EVP, Business, MLBAM, in a joint press release. “Our partnership with Intel will keep MLB at the forefront of technological innovation for our fans, bringing them closer to the action.”

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June Schedule

Photo courtesy Intel

The schedule of June’s so-called ‘Intel True VR Game of the Week’ follows:

  • Cleveland Indians vs. Colorado Rockies
    • June 6 at 8:40PM ET / 5:40PM PT
  • Kansas City Royals vs. San Francisco Giants
    • June 13 at 10:15PM ET / 7:15PM PT
  • Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners
    • June 20 at 10:10PM ET / 7:10PM PT
  • St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
    • June 27 at 9:40PM ET / 6:40PM PT
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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Get Schwifty!

    Again, why the heck is this limited to Gear of all things and doesn’t act like a platform agnostic streaming service that could include Vive/Rift?

    • Xron

      Ye, thats annoying, some people bought oculus/vive to watch Nba/Baseball/Nhl streams and Intel still supports only gear vr -.-

    • johngrimoldy

      I’m as disappointed as you, but it’s pretty safe to bet that Samsung is bankrolling this. Where’s the incentive for them to make it platform agnostic? I’d sort of expect them to want to move more Gears. Going proprietary like they are better insures that.

  • Ethan James Trombley

    I’m so sick of these things only being for mobile VR.

  • Jeff Axline

    These are just panoramic videos right? Why is this considered VR? Maybe the interface?

    • johngrimoldy

      ‘Probably depends on what you consider VR to be. Certainly, a 2D panoramic video feed isn’t VR, it’s just panoramic. I found a better image of Intel’s camera at their site. The head has SIX sets of binocular cameras. This would result in panoramic with 3D binocular view. For some, 3D panoramic meets the minimum definition of VR (in the same way that, i guess, 720p meets the minimum definition of HD).

    • Tyler Moore

      It does say the video will be 3D, so I expect the multiple cameras capture stereoscopic video. Better than 360 video, not quite as good as volumetric video.

  • Wade Watts

    360 Video IS NOT Virtual Reality

  • Andrew

    I wonder if the quality is better if you wait for the on-demand replay rather than livestreaming. Not much point watching a VR video if the compression sucks.

  • Marc

    Why the fk are the Cameras in the nose bleeds?
    Jokes aside, we really need some amazing displays for this to do well. The current tech is amazing but for this type of adoption. I am going to say you need at a minimum 1000 ppi of pixel density.