This Week in VR Sport: Virtual Vikings and Augmented Cricketers

It’s almost the end of 2017, a year that has seen many new developments in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) along with its related technologies. A dizzying number of sports teams covering a very wide variety of sports have taken to these technologies to engage with fans, train players and even help with rehabilitation after injury.

It’s going to be pretty interesting to see what 2018 will hold, but 2017 still has a couple more stories to tell.

Minnesota Vikings First NFL Team to Launch VR Oculus App

American football stadiums are gigantic, vast theatres of concrete and steel that tries to host the vast number of fans of the NFL. But even these giant edifices can’t hold all the fans of a given team, and even if that were possible, not all fans can travel.

As reported by Sport Techie, NFL team the Minnesota Vikings have come up with a solution to this by partnering with VR content company Zeality to create a VR app for the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR that lets users explore the Vikings’ home at U.S. Bank Stadium in 360-degrees, with footage from every home game played there since it opened in 2016 available to view through the app.

“Virtual reality and 360 content is very important to our organization,” said Scott Kegley, Vikings Executive Director of Digital Media and Innovation, in a statement. “We understand only a small percentage of our large fan base is able to attend a Vikings game or event. We want to bring experiences to them, and immersive technology is allowing us to do that.”

Said Zeality co-Founder and CEO Dipak M. Patel in a statement: “The Vikings are not only innovating new ways of creating content using immersive media, they are also one of the leaders in delivering these experiences to their fans.”

Legendary Moment in Cricket Recreated in AR

Some moments in sports have gone down in history, becoming indelibly seared into the memories of those fortunate enough to witness them live. One such moment was the day Steve Waugh stunned everyone at the Sydney Cricket Ground to achieve what he described as his ‘perfect day’.

Despite critics saying he was off his from, and rumours of impending retirement, Waugh scored a century and surpassed 10,000 Test runs. That achievement has gone down in cricketing history, and has now been lovingly recreated in AR.

Waugh donned a motion-capture suit to re-create his famous innings in a project commissioned by the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, and developed by technology partner Avanade. The app allows fans to use a mobile device to view an AR recreation of the moment. The experience will also be offered on HoloLens during the Ashes test in Sydney in January.

“It was actually a lot harder than I thought to recreate the shot because when you’re playing it’s just instinct, you don’t think about it. To mirror the exact trigger movements that accompany each shot was difficult to achieve as they were instinctive and not manufactured,” Waugh told CIO.

There will be more from This Week in VR Sport in the New Year.