TNT’s NBA VR livestreams begin February 16th.
The NBA and TNT are launching a VR experience that is powered by Intel True VR and promises to not only bring fans even closer to the game, but serve as a portal into all available programming through on-demand VR coverage of the upcoming NBA All-Star weekend.
The NBA on TNT VR app is intended to change the viewing experience from, “passive to immersive’” said David Aufhauser, Managing Director, Strategy and Product for Intel Sports, during an interview with VRScout.
“Watching a game is great, but it is a relativity passive experience – no matter how large your television screen is, you’re still just watching a game,” said Aufhauser. “ But with this VR experience, fans will be able to interact and engage with the game as well as have a personalized experience through game recaps, highlights, stats, as well as be able to access live NBA on TNT content.”
This isn’t the first NBA All-Star weekend to use VR for fan engagement. In 2017, the NBA gave fans the ability to switch between multiple 360° courtside views.
For this year’s game, fans will be transported into a virtual version of the NBA on TNT’s Studio J, where they will be able to interact and explore the room in VR.
“Who gets to go to Studio J? No one. Unless you work for TNT or if you’re, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber or Grant Hill,” said Aufhauser.
Through the app, you will have the ability to be courtside during the games, or up in the stands. Each camera will have at least four angles of the game that you can control.
“Fans will be able to choose which angle to view – we want them to have a choice to either take control of how they watch a game by putting the controls into the hands of the fans…or they can lean back and let the producer do the storytelling,” said Aufhauser.
Aufhauser cautions that, The NBA on TNT VR app is not meant to replace the traditional NBA viewing experience on a TV.
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s an immersive virtual world that includes all types of content, data, scores, stats, along with other ways for fans to experience the game.”
The NBA seems to be making a concerted effort to embrace immersive viewing.
Just this week, Magic Leap announced the company’s first sports partnership with the NBA and Turner, to bring in what they are calling, “the next generation of sports viewing and interactivity.”
Looking down the road, Intel is hoping to increase the popularity of its TruView technology. “Imagine watching Kevin Durant driving down the lane, but be able to experience that from multiple levels – with access to player, team and game stats – all live in real-time – it’s all about giving the fans something more,” said Aufhauser.
The NBA All-Star Weekend begins on February 16th in Los Angeles.
Fans will also be able to access NBA on TNT VR content during the regular season, during the following games:
- Thursday, February 22 – LA Clippers @ Golden State
- Thursday, March 1 – Philadelphia @ Cleveland
- Thursday, March 8 – Boston @ Minnesota
- Thursday, March 20 – Houston @ Portland
- Thursday, March 29 – Oklahoma City @ San Antonio
- Thursday, April 5 – Washington @ Cleveland
- Tuesday, April 10 – Boston @ Washington
The NBA on TNT VR app will also be a part of the playoff games, through the 2018 Western Conference Finals. It’s currently available for Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus, and Google Play.