But you’ll need a $200 subscription to watch.
The NBA have always been early adopters when it comes to embracing virtual reality. Last year, the major sports league teamed up with NextVR to capture the 2015 All-Star Game and slam-dunk contest in 360° VR video.
Today, NBA Digital has once again teamed up with NextVR, announcing that they’ll be broadcasting at least one game every week during the season in VR, which tips off October 25th. The VR livestreamed games, will be complete with dedicated announcers, multiple camera angles, and VR-optimized graphics to keep track of the game. Game breaks will be filled with in-venue entertainment, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary.
This is a first of its kind deal for VR, boding well for the future of virtual reality as a sports and entertainment medium.
There is one catch though. You’ll need a $200 yearly subscription to NBA League Pass, a streaming service that lets you watch live and on-demand games with your smartphone, tablet, set-top box and the web. If you want to preview the experience before forking over the dough, the NBA will be offering a trial on October 27th during the game between the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings.
Fans with a Samsung Gear VR headset and a compatible Samsung smartphone can experience the free
preview by accessing the NBA Channel within the NextVR app. Later this season, the offering will be
expanded to support additional VR headset options.
A full schedule of weekly VR games will be announced at the end of this month, but we can expect 25 games this season, with all 30 teams appearing at least once.
Last month, the NBA teamed up with Oculus on a 25-minute long VR documentary, Follow My Lead: The Story of the 2016 NBA Finals, narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan. Although we might not be used to longer form VR content, the length of the film turned the focus on the story, not the technology. The creators also pushed what is typically seen in the length of cuts for VR, using quick cuts that averaged 6-8 seconds versus a more common approach of 10 seconds or more.