This Week in VR Sport: A Sporting Circle Of News

The weekend is here once more and we’re already over half way through the month of February. Valentine’s Day has been and gone and we now begin the march towards Easter.  Of course, before we get to any of that at all there’s the little matter of this week’s stories revolving around sports, and this week there’s a distinct leaning towards videogame representation of sports, as well as eSports.   There’s also a familiar name at it again in a couple of the stories this week too, so let’s start with that as we check in with This Week In VR Sport.

The All-Star Game Goes Virtual Next Week

It’s a story we’ve mentioned before, but with the NBA All-Star game just around the corner it is well worth reminding people that this is when you’ll be able to begin experiencing virtual reality (VR) coverage courtesy of Intel and brought to you via the newly launched Turner Networks app NBA on TNT.  As mentioned in previous articles on VRFocus, including here on This Week In VR Sport, Intel’s coverage seems to have come at the expense of the likes of NextVR who provided coverage previously.

As well as the much-vaunted All-Star game, one NBA game will be made available every week on the app, including select titles from TNT’s coverage of the playoffs and the finals of the Western Conference. The app is available on both Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR at this time and can be found on their appropriate stores.

The current announced regular schedule is below, with all times E.T.

Thursday 22nd February LA Clippers at Golden State, 10:30PM
Thursday 1st March Philadelphia at Cleveland, 8:00PM
Thursday 8th March Boston at Minnesota, 8:00PM
Tuesday 20th March Houston at Portland, 10:30PM
Thursday 29th March Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:00PM
Thursday 5th April Washington at Cleveland, 8:00PM.
Tuesday 10th April Boston at Washington, 8:00PM.


NBA on TNTMagic Leap Eyes Up NBA Content

And speaking of the NBA…

Now that Magic Leap have revealed their headset/goggles – the Magic Leap One, (in pictures at least) the company is also partnering up with the NBA to bring basketball games to fans “like never before”.

“At Magic Leap, we are introducing a new kind of human-computer interactivity, starting with a lightweight wearable computer that enriches real-world experiences with digital content. We make this possible with spatial computing, seamlessly blending the digital and physical worlds to deliver new forms of engagement for consumers” Explains Managing Director, Jeff Ruediger on the Magic Leap website blog. “As part of this mission, we’ve set out to work with the best sports partners in the world to help us move entertainment viewing from a “flat,” two-dimensional experience into a vivid, three-dimensional experience. Today, we are proud to announce our first sports partnership with the NBA and Turner, ushering in the next generation of sports viewing and interactivity through the power of Magic Leap One and a newly created NBA App that will be available through the platform.”

Magic Leap have also been involved with NBA great Shaquille O’Neill, who appeared in a video at a recent event by Recode. O’Neill was suitably impressed by the lightfield-display technology.  “When I went to Magic Leap, I watched a full court game right here, Lebron was right [next to me]. Then I went over here and watched Orlando play the L.A. Lakers.”

Obviously this story will be developing as the situation with the Magic Leap One becomes more clear. It will also be interesting to see how things play out, especially given the existing Intel deal mentioned above.  VRFocus will bring you more news as we get it.

NBA Magic Leap

Global eSports Forum Launched By Intel & ESL

Which neatly brings us full circle back to Intel for some eSports news, namely the announcement that the tech giant is teaming up once again with ESL, but this time they’re looking to continue development of the platform itself with their inaugural Global eSports Forum conference. The event will look to bring together brands, sponsors, analysts, investors and the media related to eSports to discuss where the brand will be headed next. The event is scheduled to take place on March 1st 2018 – the day before the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship playoffs in Katowice, Poland – and VR will certainly be discussed.

GLOBAL ESPORTS FORUMFour tracks have been confirmed for the event:

Main Track

Featuring panels and keynotes that address the most current themes in the eSports industry, including the future of eSports structures, marketing strategies, and technology that will help unlock esports for the next generation of fans and players.

Speakers featured will include: John Bonini (VP/GM of VR, Esports and Gaming, Intel), Ralf Reichert (CEO, ESL), Nicola Piggott (The Story Mob), Victor Goossens (Co-CEO, Team Liquid), and Luis Correia (CEO, Polaris Sport).

Deep Dive Sessions

Featuring workshops and presentations from industry experts in the fields of investment, branding, communications & public relations and eSports infrastructure development.

Presenters featured will include Michal Blicharz (VP Pro Gaming, ESL), Arnd Benninghof (CEO, MTGx), Vera Wessolek (Mercedes-Benz), and Viktor Wanli (CEO, Kinguin).

Data Track

Featuring international research firm Newzoo, who will present the latest findings from the Global Esports Report. Delegates will be able to review the latest data and demo Newzoo’s proprietary Data Explorer for more insights into the eSports market.

Invite Only Expert Discussion

To be led by the head of UK’s Women in Gaming initiative, David Smith, this will be a workshop focused on reviewing existing and planned initiatives for increasing and maintaining female participation in careers in tech, gaming and eSports.

You can find out more about the event at http://globalesportsforum.com/.

We’ll have more immersive sport news on VRFocus next week at the same time.