The move towards bringing more sport to virtual reality (VR) is becoming an ever more desirable goal for tech companies and broadcasters. Just last month Intel announced at E3 its involvement in the Worldwide VR Challenger League for eSports as well as being announced as the technology partner for the next Olympic Games as it looks to build on work it began with this year’s Superbowl.
It was also at the very beginning of last month that Samsung announced that it would be offering fans of mixed martial arts the opportunity to get a front-row seat by broadcasting footage of the UFC as part of its Unframed series. Mentioned at the time was Samsung’s deal to also get involved with the X Games and with a week to go before the event in Minneapolis, Minnesota details have been released on exactly what this will entail.
Samsung is teaming up with ESPN who actually host the X Games, and who have revealed via a press release that three disciplines from the X Games have been chosen to be broadcast in VR throughout the first three days of the event. Which is taking place from 13th-16th July 2017.
- Skateboard Vert – tricks performed within a half-pipe, for the uninitiated – takes place on Thursday, July 13th 2017 with a live VR broadcast at 6:45 PM (ET).
- BMX Street – tricks performed across an urban area styled course – takes place on Friday, July 14th 2017 with a live VR broadcast at 6:00 PM (ET).
- Skateboard Street Amateurs – an invitational event featuring skateboarders from around the US – takes place on Saturday, July 15, 2017 with a VR broadcast again at 6:00 PM (ET)
Samsung are teaming with VR production house Digital Domain to produce the livestream which will utilize multiple 360 degree cameras and real-time graphics to keep viewers up to date on the competition standings. ESPN will also be producing its own broadcast and highlight packages as well for those not wanting to watch in VR.
Vice President of ESPN X Games Tim Reed sees the addition of VR as very much in-line with the X Games idea. HTC even showed off the HTC Vive at the event in 2016. “X Games has always been a laboratory for innovation and progression, both for the world’s top action sports athletes and for ESPN’s production of events and use of technology,” He explained. “We are always pushing to create new and better ways for fans to experience and interact with X Games. Working with Samsung to produce these three great events for Gear VR is an awesome example of that.”
You can see a trailer Samsung have released for the X Games below. For more sport related news why not check out this week’s edition of VRFocus’ regular Saturday feature, ‘This Week In VR Sport’.