10:14am PT by Carolyn Giardina
Fox Sports, NextVR Ink Multiyear Virtual Reality Deal
In a first of its kind deal, Fox Sports and Laguna Beach, Calif.-based virtual reality startup NextVR have entered into a five-year partnership aimed at offering live, virtual reality coverage of sporting events.
The pact will apply to events for which Fox Sports holds the broadcast rights, including Sunday’s Daytona 500, which will be televised nationally on Fox and available for free in virtual reality through the NextVR portal for Samsung Gear VR headset owners. Plans are to include audio commentary and graphics highlighting the race leaders in the VR broadcast.
In January, NextVR and Fox Sports offered Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) matches in virtual reality. The companies also previously tested VR broadcasts of the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race and the U.S. Open Golf Championship.
“Virtual reality is the next great frontier in immersive experiences for fans across a wide variety of sports," Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, COO and executive producer, said Wednesday in a statement. "It’s a rapidly changing technology, and this deal with NextVR positions us to be on the front lines for years to come.”
The Fox organization is bullish about VR, and recently debuted its The Martian VR Experience, based on Fox film The Martian.