This Week in VR Sports: The SuperBowl Goes Orbital & PlayStation VR Teams With The ATP

The weekend has always been about sport, at least in the UK. The BBC is well known for it’s sports programme coverage be it on football with Match of the Day or winter sports with Ski Sunday – a programme that has been going since 1978 on its own. It was always something of a tradition for the nation years back, with either BBC 1 or BBC 2 full of sports all corralled as part of BBC’s Grandstand. As such sport on a Saturday afternoon is an oddly appropriate, so let get on with this week’s offerings that combine the fields of sport and virtual reality (VR).

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Experience Welcomes PSVR Tie-In

First up we’re off the the world of tennis, with the ATP and ATP Media announcing yesterday that this weekend tennis fans enjoying the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals will be able to try out a special PlayStation VR experience at The O2 Fan Zone. A creation by way of a partnership with existing technology partner Infosys and part of Sony’s organisation (Sony Professional Solutions Europe) the immerses fans into the world of tennis.

Mixing virtual environments with court images and television footage and taking in tracking information from both the head-mounted display (HMD) and the controller and even taking in streams from social media the court environment adapts and evolves giving those able to try it a new insight into the match and current in-use technology such as the Hawk-Eye system.

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ATP Media’s Chief Operating Officer Stuart Watts said on the experience that “We are delighted to be demonstrating our continued commitment in advancing media and technology. We have created not only the potential for an exciting complimentary product for broadcasters but one that can easily be delivered on-venue at fan and sponsor activation sites.”

“Bringing virtual reality to tennis presents an opportunity to amplify human potential, not just in terms of seeing and understanding the game in a new dimension, but also arming players with the insight they need to elevate their performance,” added UB Pravin, Chief Operating Officer at Infosys.

Super Bowl LIVE Fan Festival Receives One-of-a-kind VR Ride

Elsewhere, a 90-foot drop tower that shares a dynamic journey into deep space is the one-of-a-kind experience visitors to the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee’s Super Bowl LIVE Fan Festival. A free event to be held in the downtown area of Houston the week of Super Bowl LI. Fans can expect to try out it out after it was revealed earlier in the week as part of the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition – aka SpaceCom.

Called Future Flight, the two minute experience of heading out into the solar system to Mars and back again uses footage from Mars accumulated by NASA. In keeping with the theme of ride’s location once you reach the pinnacle of your trip you fall 90-feet. Literally back down to Earth and into the NRG Stadium pumped up and ready to go with Super Bowl LI.

“The Host Committee has declared Super Bowl LI as the Super Bowl of the future in the City of the Future,” said Sallie Sargent, president and CEO of the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. “Nothing says future more than deep space travel. The Host Committee is thrilled to partner with NASA and the leading space industry companies to create the Future Flight Experience for people to enjoy during Super Bowl LIVE.”

Future Flight opens on January 28th next year until February 5th 2017. VRFocus will be back next Saturday with more sport-related stories.

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