Virtual Reality Could Forever Change The Way Sports Fans Watch Games
You want to sit courtside at the NBA Finals, right?
Duh. But, most of us don't have $25,000 to throw down for a seat.
Well, what if I told you that within the next 10 years, you'll be able to have the experience of not only sitting courtside at the NBA Finals, but you'll be able to sit center ice for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and front row for the Big Sean concert?
Is that something you might be interested in?
Oculus Rift, acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, is a virtual reality headset primarily focused in video gaming -- because who wouldn't want to feel like they're on the goddamn front lines of battle while playing Call of Duty? -- but is now being looked at as a game-changer in terms of how fans will experience sporting events.
Think about it: You throw a pizza in the oven, crack open a beer and this virtual reality headset has you dodging LeBron's sweat in the fourth quarter of Game 7.
My mind is blown just imagining this.
Oculus Rift isn't the only VR merchant looking to take this space by storm, which is definitely good for us, the consumer.
According to US investment bank Piper Jaffray, Rift and others will look to provide fans with "virtual courtside and rinkside seats."
And lest you think this is all just a bunch of techies theorizing about the possibility of a virtual sports ticket, Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim already spoke about how this will change the way fans experience a sporting event, as well as which sports will be best for virtual reality.
I may not use my Oculus Rift headset for watching golf like Coach Boeheim, but to each his own, right?
Adam Silver is also jumping into the VR pool.
The commissioner and the NBA captured the All-Star game, a three-point contest and slam-dunk practices in virtual reality, and that footage will soon be made available to fans.
Yeah, you'll need Samsung's $199.99 Gear VR Innovator Edition headset and $299.99 Galaxy Note 4 in order to watch, but these are still the early days.
The NHL is all in, too. The league partnered with graphics startup OTOY in order to provide fans with the same type of experience.
The duo recently captured the NHL Stadium Series game between the LA Kings and San Jose Sharks, and using Rift's headset or the Samsung Gear VR, fans were able to do more than just watch the hockey; they could also “attend” the tailgates and change views of the game.
So, if I pick up a girl's number at Levi's Stadium, is it real? Is she real? More research is definitely needed.
At the moment, it looks as if the price of a VR ticket is $200, but in about eight to 10 years, which is when Jaffray thinks we'll be able to regularly watch live events, who knows what that price will look like.
I know this: $200 sounds a whole lot better than $25,000.