March Madness in 2017 is going to be a different experience for those watching at home thanks to Fox Sports and LiveLike. The two companies, with the help of Jeep as a sponsor, have teamed up to deliver a virtual-reality (VR) experience for the popular college basketball tournament. The offering is technically a part of the Fox Sports Lab initiative and will premiere for the first four quarterfinal games.
Fox Sports and LiveLike are using VR technology to create a virtual suite of sorts, akin to something you might find at a high-end stadium. The suite will provide users with access to multiple feeds of the game from four different cameras. Two of the cameras will be focused on the baskets and two on the foul lines. Those cameras, in combination with a 360-degree viewing option, will provide users with never before seen perspectives for these big games.
For those users who are concerned with manually switching between different views, the service will offer what it is calling director’s cut mode. In director’s cut mode viewers will have their vantage points automatically switched to best follow the on-court action.
For those who are thinking that this sounds a bit familiar, you’re right! This is not the first time Fox Sports and LiveLike have teamed up to deliver a service like that. Most recently, they offered a unique perspective Super Bowl LI. They’ve also teamed up for a few high-profile soccer games and college football bowls.
Viewers will be able to access the March Madness VR suite without special glasses via a mobile app, or they can pair up to smartphones for cardboard viewers. The VR suite will also support Samsung Gear VR headsets.
“This blend of virtual reality provides the promise of the second screen in a way that has not been delivered before,” Michael Davies, SVP of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, said, in a statement. “With the ongoing refinement of virtual reality and support from Jeep, FOX Sports now offers a unique blend of presence and interactivity that has not been available previously.”
Virtual-reality technology is changing the way we consume all kinds of visual media, but it may be the most exciting to see how it changes how we consume sports. Fox Sports and LiveLike are paving the way with features like this March Madness VR suite.