Fox Sports remains up-to-date with evolving technologies. And sometimes, probably, even one step ahead. Now Fox Sports has decided to stream college football match in virtual reality. What does it bring to the corporation and what comes next?

Saturday, 17 September, became the day when football fans got an opportunity to stay home, but still experience the match between No 3. Ohio State and No 4. Oklahoma. How? In virtual reality. Viewers could simply install the Fox Sports VR application, which is available on IOS, Android, Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR devices, and enjoy a 360-degree broadcasting with five various views of the game. What is more, viewers can have a chance to watch the TV presentation and, at the same time, explore the sport world in virtual reality.

 

Find the right partner

Implementation became possible because of a partnership with LiveLike, VR platform company focused on live sport broadcasting and virtual reality media content. Nearly a year ago LiveLike’s founders decided to build a virtual stadium and now they provide its clients with a chance to watch live college football from a VIP suite (but don’t count on luxury hotels ;)) and enjoy additional features, such as statistics, schedules and comments from other users.

 

Fox Sports. LiveLike

 

“Sport is not about being ‘on the field’ for the whole game, it’s about being able to hang out with your friends, doing stuff while there’s a two-minute timeout, seeing replays, stats, and more”, – says Andre Lorenceau, CEO and founder of LiveLike.

And we agree. The startup has already collaborated with Sky Sports (English Premier League games), Roland Garros (French Open), Manchester City (Manchester vs. Arsenal), Sky Germany and El Clasico. Hopefully, the partnership with Fox Sports is not going to disappoint neither viewers or companies’ management.

 

Exciting? Sure. Cost-effective? Let’s discuss

With regard to live broadcasting, the virtual reality does not considerably increase expenditures for a content production – state the management of Fox Sports. Unfortunately, they refuse to provide specific figures relating to costs, however Davies argues, that VR is cost-effective. After all, unlike 3D or other entertainments, VR doesn’t require operators to be standing by the cameras.

“There are some economies that you can count on with VR. I won’t say it’s cheap, but it makes for a fairly cost-effective production,” – he said.

All in all, the VR industry seems to be not only perspective and attracting for investors, but also cost-effective and even profitable in the long term. According to Deloitte Executive Sumary 2016, VR is “a billion dollar niche” and even if the content is not so widespread today, the opportunities, as well as possible experiments, seem endless.

 

Does Fox Sports plan to continue the VR experience?

The future, definitely, belongs to VR. Tech companies, which are competing for broadcasting one or another league, are the direct evidence. The NBA has mastered the most in adopting and using virtual reality, but other leagues stay the space. Today even media giants, such as Twitter, tend to invest in live videos. Reasoning from this, the level of competition is significantly high, however there is still a niche for those who focus on research and aim at the development of virtual reality and new VR techniques.

As for Fox Sports, in the past two years it has done eight VR productions, but the number of viewers was inadequate for the expired efforts.

“While the immersive bit is important to us, we acknowledge that there aren’t many of these devices out there”, – said Davies and his working team. “We wanted to figure out a way to bring this to a larger audience.”

However, the opportunities for development are numerous. For instance, some companies, such as Spanish startup FirstV1sion, develop player-perspective VR cameras for a stronger interactivity and emotions. Some of clients, in their turn, do not appeal to computer-generated graphics, which is also a sphere for further improvements.

 

FirstV1sion. VR

 

“It’s important for us to go and spend time, effort and money to understand what this is and what it could mean for our business,” said Davies. “Using this knowledge, we can be there and be successful when people do start watching.”

Therefore, Fox Sports needs a way to expand the audience and overcome the competitors. To conclude, it is beyond argument that the VR could become a “gold mine”, however efforts and experiments are required.

Subscribe to WM Daily. Be In Touch With Rebellious Voices