This Week In VR Sport: NBA and European Tour Golf Brings Sports into VR

It is the weekend, its also well in Autumn now, which means some sporting seasons are ending, while others are starting. As always, VRFocus brings you the latest on where sports and immersive technology intersect. This week sees golf and basketball bring the action into 360-degrees for fans to get a better view.

An Experiment With 8K 360-Degree Video For Golf

A proof-of-concept at the Sky Sports British Masters has demonstrated how 8K quality 360-degree video can be used to let fans of Golf follow their favourite players across the course.

The test was conducted by The European Tour and Tata Communications, which showed how fans could use a virtual reality (VR) headset to get a virtual tour of famous European Tour venues like Walton Heath or Valderrama.

“This proof-of-concept is part of our strategy to attract new fans to the sport by harnessing the latest digital technologies and introducing new, shorter and faster formats,” said Michael Cole, Chief Technology Officer, European Tour. “With Shotclock Masters, for example, players have just 40 or 50 seconds to play a shot. We’re also using more and more shot data to bring fans more engaging insights. We look forward to leveraging live 360° video in 8K to make each tournament more immersive for golf newbies and our core fan base.”

“Today’s sports fans are savvier than ever – they have an insatiable appetite for data and content that gives them deeper and higher quality viewing experiences,” said Mehul Kapadia, Global Head of Marketing, Tata Communications. “The adoption of the Video Assistant Referee at the recent FIFA World Cup is just one example of the transformational potential of digital technologies in global sports – which benefits the players, the fans and the entire sports ecosystem. In the same way, apps with live 360° video in 8K would redefine fan engagement in golf, and even have the potential to change how the sport is refereed.”

Oculus will Be Streaming NBA Games For Free

Fans of basketball have a chance to watch this season’s games in VR for free, thanks to efforts from Oculus and VR live-streaming service NextVR along with the Oculus Venues app.

Oculus Venues launched for Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR earlier this year as a social VR app that lets users share a virtual space to take in live events such as sports games or music performances.

Watching NBA games online usually requires the purchase of an NBA League Pass, but watching through Oculus Venues is free, though users watching through the NextVR app will need to pay.

“Now in our third NBA season, we continue to evolve our VR broadcast to provide the highest quality, most immersive NBA experience in VR,” said NextVR CEO David Cole in a statement. “Every night of the NBA season, NextVR is providing fans worldwide with multiple live VR viewing options, coupled with free on-demand highlights.”

Check back next week for some more This Week In VR Sport.