NBA fans are getting a whole new perspective on games, thanks to virtual reality technology.
With a subscription to NBA League Pass and a VR headset, basketball buffs can view games as if they were in the stands, or courtside.
“Traditionally, sport has been watched on a flat screen and now for the first time in history, we take you inside the screen in a way that you’ve never been able to stream content,” said vice president of content at NextVR Danny Keens.
“We can’t just be different from traditional television; we have be better than television and we can’t just be different from being at the game,” Keens said. “We have to be better than being at the game.”
“It’s not enough to simply put the camera down and walk away,” the NBA’s Jeff Marsilio said. “What we’ve discovered is you really do need the context that you get from some of the more traditional things that we see in television.”
Eight unmanned cameras with 180-degree views are set up throughout the arena, including one on the stanchion of each basket and one center court on the scorers’ table.
“Just in last week’s game, there was a moment when LeBron [James] was running down the court right at you and you feel like, ‘Oh man, he’s coming at me.’ And the hair raises on your arms. It’s pretty exciting,” Marsilio said.
Marsilio said the system is designed to keep fans engaged and has a designated announce team.
“There is no multi-tasking, there is no Facebook, no Twitter, there’s no checking emails, there’s no sending a text message,” Keens said. “So you become fully engaged in the content in a way that you’ve never been engaged. So you’re 100 percent committed to watching the game.”
Although no specific numbers have been released by the NBA, they told CBS News people are watching the VR games and the technology is rapidly improving. They expect the quality of games and the numbers of broadcasts to grow.