If any sector could have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic for its definitive takeoff, these were live sports in virtual reality. With the rise of the metaverse, everything indicates that 2022 could be the year. You want to know how and where to watch live sports in virtual reality? We tell you what are the alternatives currently available.
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Although in the past there have been attempts to transmit sports content through virtual reality, the experiences have not been entirely successful, as happened with the Fox Sports VR projects, the NASCAR circuit or the WWE fights, which finally they were abandoned.
Even the NexVR platform – which promised to be the Netflix of virtual reality – changed its focus after being acquired by Apple, which is preparing its landing in the world of virtual reality and the metaverse.
The persistence of the pandemic, which has forced to reduce capacity or even hold sporting events without an audience, added to the development of a more “realistic” virtual reality and growing competition between technology giants, seems to be changing the scenario.
In fact, basketball with the NBA, American football with the NFL and football (soccer) with the English Premier League, are taking the first steps to give this form of transmission the boost it needs. But where and how can you see them?
The NBA is taking things seriously and has partnered with Horizon Venues, Meta’s (ex-Facebook) virtual reality event platform, to start broadcasting select games from America’s top basketball league for free via of virtual reality.
What exactly does it offer you? Enjoy the atmosphere of a live event from the comfort of your home, and you can even hang out with other NBA fans before, during and after the game.
To access this service you need to have the NBA League Pass service and have a compatible Horizon Venus viewer. Additionally, matches are only available in the United States and outside of a 50-mile radius of the two teams facing each other.
Another sport available in virtual reality is the English Premier League, thanks to Sky Worlds, a virtual reality initiative of the British network Sky.
Although there is no official schedule, since the platform is in beta, Sky Worlds offers some matches through an application available for Oculus Quest and Quest 2.
Sky Worlds creates a 180 degree live stadium experience that places viewers in the stadium and allows them to select unique camera positions to follow the action.
In 2021, the platform also extended its test coverage for Extreme E car circuit races and netball matches, a sport similar to basketball.
Users can also watch linear Sky Sports channels through the virtual reality environment in what Sky calls a ‘virtual living room’. Currently only available to Sky VIP customers.
Strictly speaking, it is not a virtual reality sports content streaming platform, but it is one of the best options if you want to watch sports – or any other event – from the comfort of your home, but as if you were with other friends.
The user is presented as an avatar in a virtual space, such as a living room or a cinema, and can interact with those who are also watching the sporting event. According to the platform, it offers realistic communication, thanks to the combination of virtual reality and spatial audio.
One of the advantages of the platform is that it is compatible with most of the major virtual reality glasses and headsets, such as those from Oculus (Quest, Rift, Rift S), Valve and Vive, as well as those for mixed reality for computers. .