NBA Leads the VR Sports Application

One of the potential applications for virtual reality is watching sport events. In some cases, currently the sports fan can’t get close enough to the action or has no chance to get tickets for the game of his choice. VR may be the answer for many sports enthusiasts to see a game more like a spectator in the arena than a normal video stream. VR allows him to look where he wants and when he wants.

Source: NBA VR

The NBA was one of the first leagues to implement regular streaming of a basketball game for VR viewing. They are doing this together with NextVR which is responsible for the technical aspect of making the whole thing work. Here is a short overview.

  1. You need a Samsung VR headset with compatible Samsung smartphone.
  2. You need to download the NextVR app form the Oculus store.
  3. Get yourself a NBA League Pass subscription.
  4. Go to the Oculus Store’s library and NextVR/NBA League Pass VR and enjoy.

So far they support only one platform (Samsung VR) and when it comes to image quality, this is not necessarily the best.

Nevertheless, Sports Illustrated reviewed the whole set up and besides the pixelated imagery, they saw the presentation as a very positive experience that goes beyond watching a game on TV. They think it is the next best thing to actually sitting on the sideline during the game and so has a future on the court.

Such a review of a reputable sports magazine will certainly help to establish a reason for some people to actually use VR for their entertainment. Even with only showing one game a week, it is a first step in creating consumer interest in the VR field from outside of the actual VR hardware manufacturers. Even being based on one of the cheapest platforms available in the VR market today, the cost for the consumer is not cheap. The consumer may need to upgrade his phone and buy the Samsung VR headset and he also has to add $199 for the NBA League Pass. In total this will cost him a few hundred dollars. –NH