The NBA plans to broadcast in virtual reality (VR), according to a league announcement on Oct. 20. In collaboration with NextVR, the NBA will offer at least one game per week in VR. NextVr first experimented with technology at Oracle Arena during the opening night of the Golden State Warriors’ 2015-2016 season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Fans will be able to access these VR broadcasts through a subscription to NBA league Pass and a Samsung VR headset, NBC Sports reports. The Oct. 27 game between the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs will be offered in VR free of charge for fans. All 30 teams will have at least one game in VR in this upcoming season
According to the released NBA statement, the weekly games will be produced with “optimized graphics” and “in-venue entertainment” with “behind-the-scenes footage from the arena”. Furthermore, the VR experience will include exclusive commentary and replays, according to USA Today. With great global fan support, the NBA will look to benefit from adding the VR technology for fans who will likely never have the chance to attend NBA games. According to NextVR executive chairman Brad Allen, the goal is to create “goose bumps material.”
VR has been tested and is being actively used in video gaming experience, providing enhanced interactive experiences for gamers throughout the world. VR technologies manipulate human senses into experiencing a different world than the real world. Using a headset and specialized goggles, VR significantly enhances the gaming experience for users. Furthermore, VR is used in to enhance watching movies.
Wearing a headset strapped on the user’s head, NBA fans will look through specialized Samsung VR headsets, which is then transferred into a three dimensional view. This technology’s main goal for the NBA fan is to enhance the game watching experience. Fans will be watching the game as though they are in an NBA arena, without the limits of a two-dimensional TV screen. When users move their head in different directions during the game, the VR headset moves as well. This will allow fans to look at different parts of the game in a 3D view–whether that involves the arena’s seating, players’ movements, or different camera angles to enhance the NBA game experience.
What if fans had caught a sideline view of Kyrie Irving’s Game 7 dagger jump shot over MVP Stephen Curry with less than a minute to go in Game 7 of the 2015 Finals at Oracle Arena? What if had fans caught a behind-the-basket view of Curry’s 32-foot 3-point game winner at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Arena in February 2016? Those are all still questions, but will soon become a reality. Although still in its infant stages, VR will add a valuable viewing experience for NBA fans unable to attend the games in-person.