Turner to deliver Sweet 16 in 360 VR in multiyear deal with Intel, CBS, NCAA

March Madness
Those with the necessary Samsung hardware and the NCAA March Madness Live VR app will be able to view games for $2.99 each or $7.99 for a package of six. Image: Phil Roeder/Wikimedia Commons

Turner Networks will stream select games from the final rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 360-degree virtual reality on Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR headsets, the broadcaster announced. 

Those with the necessary Samsung hardware and the NCAA March Madness Live VR app will be able to view games from the tournament’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds, as well as the Final Four National Semifinals and the National Championship. They can choose to pay $2.99 a game or $7.99 for a package of six. 

Coverage will include multiple court side cameras and exclusive commentary from former Lakers play-by-play man Spero Dedes, as well as veteran color commentators Steve Smith and Lisa Byington.

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Turner is also offering a $1.99 tier, which delivers 180-degree VR and the same broadcast commentary feed from Jim Nantz that everyone else gets. 

RELATED: March Madness ratings soar following dips for Super Bowl, Oscars

Last year, Turner and its March Madness partner, CBS Corp., teamed with Oculus to stream the Final Four and the Championship game in VR, free to consumer. 

That early livestreamed effort was powered by startup Voke, which has since been acquired by Intel. The technology giant has rebranded Voke’s technology as Intel True VR, and it remains the backbone of Turner’s newly introduced VR Premium Ticket. 

In fact, the announcement of this year’s Sweet 16 livestream also included news of a multiyear VR partnership between Turner, CBS, Intel and the NCAA. Expect even more games to get the 360 treatment next March. 

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