nextvrVirtual Reality has the power to transport you to anywhere in the world, and NextVR has been one of the leaders of giving you a front row seat to live sporting events including hockey, boxing, NASCAR, basketball, soccer, and golf. NextVR recently signed a five-year deal with FOX Sports, who have the rights to broadcast the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the U.S. Open Golf Championship.

I caught up with NextVR’s VR evangelist Helen Situ at GDC talk about the highlights of the past year of their livestream VR broadcasts, and where they’re going next. They’ve been experimenting with a lot of different camera positions, broadcasting real-time binaural audio, augmenting the experience with graphical overlays, and exploring how to give the viewer more agency in choosing the different perspectives that are available.

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I think that live streaming is going to be one of the more compelling use cases for VR that will help bring it to the masses, and one indications of this is that there are more broadcasters starting to stream live sporting events. It was announced this week that the NCAA Final Four & championship games will be livestreamed to the Gear VR by NCAA March Madness Live, which is managed by Turner Sports, partnered with CBS and Oculus, and has sponsorship from Capital One. Here’s more instructions for installing the Gear VR app. These semi-final VR broadcasts happen on Saturday April 2nd, and the championship is Monday, April 4th.

NextVR has been a pioneer in VR livestreaming, and they expect that the content offerings will be compelling enough that sports fans will be willing to pay to have a front-row seat within virtual reality. David Nathanson is the head of business operations for FOX Sports, and he was quoted as saying, “For sponsors there will be naturally an opportunity to create immersive opportunities whether it’s pre-roll video, banners, VR commercial units, or integrating brands into the experiences we create. It’s uncharted territory.”

NextVR has been experimenting with VR livestream transmissions for over a year now, and had their first live sports broadcast to VIP tents during last year’s US Open Golf Tournament. Now that they have a five-year contract with FOX Sports, then you can expect to see a lot more premium content in the future delivered on all of the major VR platforms including Google Cardboard, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and even Sony PlayStationVR.

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