Virtual Reality (VR) has been penetrating the sports industry by providing many useful applications from entertainment to serious training. At OmniVirt, we work with brands and agencies in various industries to help them leverage VR/AR technology to increase brand engagement and drive more sales. We’re excited by how the NBA has adopted Virtual Reality technology to enhance the fan experience and optimize athlete performance.
Getting a good seat in an arena will no longer be the best way to watch NBA games when fans can now experience live matches from their couches through Virtual Reality (VR). NBA has already partnered with NextVR and Turner to broadcast NBA matches directly to Virtual Reality (VR) headsets such as Daydream, Gear VR, and Playstation VR. The partnerships will allow fans who were unable to see live matches to sit courtside at NBA games just like celebrities thanks to multiple cameras that are placed in different locations in arenas. Moreover, with Intel’s FreeD technology, fans can freeze a moment in a live game and see it from a player’s point of view. We expect this immersive broadcasting format to gain popularity as headset adoption are increasing while NBA tickets are getting more expensive.
One of the first possible applications of Virtual Reality (VR) in sports was gaming, and there are a few companies like 2K who develop basketball VR games that enable casual gamers to play basketball with their friends in a virtual environment. However, NBA industry has taken Virtual Reality technology to another level as many NBA teams now use VR technology to help them train their athletes. Physical training may help improve athlete’s strength, but VR training can help athletes to train their mind without affecting their bodies. The Philadelphia 76ers has been using Virtual Reality to help its number one player, Markelle Fultz, improve his shots and gain confidence in real matches after he experienced injury. Virtual Reality is a useful technique that NBA teams can use with athletes who are not in perfect physical condition but want to maintain their skills.