NBA and NextVR Team Up to Stream Virtual Reality Basketball Games

Fans of professional basketball can look forward to watching weekly games on virtual reality headsets. The NBA recently announced a deal with NextVR to stream one game per week in virtual reality, making it the first the first professional sports league to take advantage of the emerging technology.

Rotating Games for the 2016-17 Season

The NBA and NextVR will stream the first virtual reality game on October 27 when the Sacramento Kinds play the San Antonio Spurs at the Golden 1 Center. Each week, the NBA will choose a different game to broadcast in virtual reality. The full schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but is expected to arrive within days. Check the NBA virtual reality page to find the whole schedule once it’s ready.

Since the NBA will only show one VR game per week, you may not have many options to watch your favorite team play. If this season goes well, though, the NBA may expand its offerings to give fans more options.

The Benefits of Watching Sports in VR

Virtual reality technology brings several important benefits to the world of professional sports. NextVR plans to use dedicated announcers, VR-optimized graphics, and multiple camera angles to give viewers an unprecedented look into games. It will also produce commentary and behind-the-scenes footage that you won’t find anywhere else.

Of course, there’s also the undeniable “cool factor” of watching games in VR. Few people have the resources to attend an NBA every week. The latest televisions may give you historically unprecedented views, but even a luxury TV like the Sony XBR-Z9D can’t compete with a virtual reality headset that gives you an up-close look at players.

How to Watch NBA VR Games

Like all new technologies, NBA VR isn’t cheap. You’ll need to purchase an NBA League Pass, which costs about $200, to access the NBA’s digital content. The pass also lets you view every NBA game in the season.

At the moment, you can only watch virtual reality NBA games on the Samsung Gear VR headset. NextVR, however, is working to get virtual reality content to more types of headsets before the season’s end.

You can also start an NBA League Pass free trial to view a small amount of content. Depending on how you time your trial, you could view up to two games in virtual reality for free.

NextVR Has Plenty of Experience With Sports VR

The NBA chose a good partner when it selected NextVR to handle its virtual reality games. NextVR streamed the world’s first live professional sports game on March 14, 2016, giving fans a chance to watch the Golden State Warriors play the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2015-16 NBA season opener.

NextVR has also streamed some college basketball games, the 2016 Kentucky Derby, boxing matches, and several other sporting events in virtual reality.

Several companies are pushing hard to make virtual reality the new standard for people who want the experience of live events without leaving their homes. If the NBA and NextVR can make this venture successful, you should find more VR live sports in the near future.

Image via Flickr by RMTip21