Fox Sports streaming Big East NCAA basketball tournament in VR

Samsung VR headset

Fox Sports is continuing its aggressive experimentation with virtual reality and is now planning to live broadcast in VR parts of the NCAA Big East men’s basketball tournament.

The Fox Sports Lab initiative is partnering with live VR broadcasting company LiveLike to offer in VR the Big East tournament's four quarterfinal games on Thursday, March 9.

The companies are using four VR cameras to provide user-selected views with two basket and two foul line cameras as well as original 360-degree tournament content, all managed from the Fox Sports VR app’s “Virtual Suite.” There also will be a live “director’s cut” which automatically moves viewer’s vantage points around the court to keep them on top of the action. After the game, viewers can tune in and watch a tournament highlight package where users can choose replays from multiple vantage points, according to a news release.

“This blend of virtual reality provides the promise of the second screen in a way that has not been delivered before,” said Michael Davies, Fox Sports senior vice president of Field & Technical Operations, 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.”

The Fox Sports VR app doesn’t require VR goggles for 360-degree viewing experience on iOS and Android devices but viewers can use a Gear VR or cardboard headset. Access to the Fox Sports VR app requires signing in with television-provider credentials.

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Fox Sports in January worked with LiveLike on a VR livestream for the Super Bowl. That broadcast also centered around the VR suite and allowed viewers to “teleport” down to several on-the-field VR camera positions.