For this weeks run down of virtual reality (VR) in sports, NextVR and the NBA once again make their presence known, boxers Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr try their hand at some virtual boxing, and the NCAA March Madness will be returning to VR for 2017.
NextVR and NBA Presents Free Preview of Live Lakers vs. 76ers Game in VR on 12th March
NextVR has almost become a consistent staple in VRFocus’ Week in VR Sports, as the company has a long running partnership with the NBA. Tomorrow, 12th March, NBA fans can experience a free preview of NextVR’s immersive live NBA game broadcast when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers.
Then starting at 9:30 pm ET, the live VR broadcast will feature real-time integrated graphics, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary. To watch the content you’ll need a Google Daydream or Samsung Gear VR headset and compatible phone, then download the free NextVR app to access the NBA channel.
NextVR and the NBA have signed a multi-year partnership offering live regular-season games in 360-degrees to fans around the world, except for China. After watching the preview fans will either need a NBA LEAGUE PASS subscription to view the games, or purchase coverage for $6.99 USD per game.
Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr Experience HTC Vive Boxing Game Knockout League
On 6th May, Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr are scheduled to fight in Las Vegas. In the run up to the fight they both showed their skills on Univision TV show Republica Deportiva, playing Grab Games’ HTC Vive title Knockout League.
A single-player videogame which launched on Steam Early Access in January, Knockout League currently features four fighters with Alvarez and Chavez going against Tri-Tip, an opponent described by the developers as: ‘a Brazilian bruiser with tenderizing fists of fury.’
Naturally being professional boxers they both dispatched the computer opponent with ease, checkout the video below to see who was the most fluid.
NCAA March Madness Live App Set to Return in 2017
In March 2016 Oculus partnered with Turner Sports, CBS and NCAA Corporate Champion Capital One, to provide live game coverage of the NCAA Final Four Semifinals and National Championship in VR for the first time on Gear VR. This week Turner president David Levy has confirmed it’ll be making a return.
“There will be virtual reality again,” said Levy, Sport Techie reported. “We’re not announcing it today, but we are definitely going to be involved in virtual reality. We believe in it in a big, big way. Where I thought 3D honestly from the get-go was going to have challenges, I don’t feel the same way at all about virtual reality. I think that’s here to stay, here to grow, and I think it lets people get a front row seat and actually feel the action, which is going to be very unique.”
When asked about an expanded offering Levy said ‘yes.’ He went on to say: “The data that we have shows that people who did watch it enjoyed it. It’s just a small sample size right now relative to the size of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest. We have to keep investing and keep innovating, and I think we do a really good job of that in this organization.”
For the 2016 games the app provided a court side seat, virtual scoreboard with live stats, and in game commentary from Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson.