For the first time in the Big East Tournament’s history, viewers will be able to watch the games in VR. Fox Sports teamed up with NextVR in 2015 with the hopes of streaming live sports in VR,; having streamed NASCAR, boxing and the US Open (golf), the network has turned its attention to basketball. Starting March 10 (the first two games of the tournament, DePaul vs Georgetown and St. John’s vs Marquette, won’t be available in VR) viewers can watch the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game in a more immersive way than ever before.
To watch in VR, viewers will need a Samsung smartphone (any of their 2015-or-later Galaxy line will do), NextVR’s app and the Gear VR headset. If users already own the hardware, they’re set, since the live stream is free and available worldwide. The live virtual streams will, according to the press release from Fox Sports, give fans views from center court, alongside the teams’ benches and under the basket. Also, similar to watching the game on TV, graphics of player stats, scores and other game updates will appear on the VR screen.
If Fox Sports and NextVR’s coverage is consistent with their recent coverage of the Daytona 500, the tournament will be streamed in true VR — meaning it covers 360 degrees rather that just 180-degree. For true basketball fans focused on the game, this doesn’t matter. But for those who go to these types of spectacles to “people-watch,” this offers a whole new way to experience the drunken fan who happens to be sitting behind you and throwing popcorn onto the court.