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This Week In VR Sport: Cricket and UFC Go High-Tech

Athletes are always looking for ways to improve their performance, even by a fraction, and fans are always looking for a way to get closer to their preferred sport and learn more about what’s going on. Technology like virtual reality (VR) allows for both. So here at VRFocus we have a weekly look at how VR technology is affecting the world of sports.

Samsung Partner with UFC for VR Streams of Matches

Offering fans of UFC to opportunity to get a front-row seat of the American mixed martial arts promotion UFC as well as extreme sports contest X-Games is Samsung, who will be live-streaming certain UFC events to users of the Gear VR.

Customers can sign up for a VR Live Pass that allows them access to certain sporting events from UFC and X Games, the first of which is the UFC 212 event in Brazil, which will feature a match between Also and Holloway. The next event will be from X-Games Minneapolis on 13th-16th July. Other events will be added to the calendar over the next few months.

“We’ve always felt that the potential of combining UFC events with virtual reality would give our fans the ultimate enhanced experience,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein said in a statement.

“We are excited to offer Samsung Gear VR users the opportunity to experience their favourite live music and sporting events through our industry-leading VR ecosystem,” said Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President of Global Marketing at Samsung.

Technological Innovation Comes to Cricket

Cricket has not traditionally been associated with technological innovation, preferring to stick to tradition where possible. That might be about to change, however, with the introduction of some new technologies from Intel.

Cricket fans attending the International Cricket Champions (ICC) Trophy will have a chance to don a HTC Vive headset in some specially-designated areas of the ground at The Oval and Edgebaston, and try out their own batting skills against a virtual bowler. The experience shows a screen full of stats to display your performance after each stroke, with figures such as angle and speed displayed for users to gauge their performance, and perhaps compete against their friends.

Attendees aren’t the only one getting sophisticated sensor date, however. Specular are also deploying the BatSense sensor, a Cricket accessory that allows for data such as speed, back-lift and follow-through to be captured. In addition, a small drone will be deployed to do pitch fly-overs to scan pitch conditions, reporting back with data such as grass cover, health and topology. This information will be made available to commentators and pundits to add value to their evaluation of the match.

The ICC Trophy is running from 1st-18th June.