The NBA is bringing its games into virtual reality as the league announced on Thursday it is teaming up with VR production company NextVR to live broadcast at least one game per week in virtual reality. Viewers that wish to watch those VR streams need to purchase a $200 NBA League Pass subscription, as well as a VR headset compatible with NextVR’s content portal. The NBA says there will be no ads in the VR broadcasts, but will eventually offer “branded VR experiences” that viewers can interact with during time-outs or commercial breaks.
What Brands Should Do
The NBA has experimented with live streaming games in VR before, but the viewing experience it offered with its season opener last year left a lot of room for improvement. The league is aiming for a more TV-style broadcast this time around, which will hopefully attract more basketball fans to try out VR viewing. As VR and 360-degree content continue to gain traction among consumers and media owners, brands need to start working with content creators to craft narratives that engage and resonate with their audiences.
The Lab currently has four VR headsets — an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive, and two Samsung Gear VRs — ready for demos. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood, so come by the Lab and ask for a VR demo to get a hands-on experience and figure out how your brand can use it to excite and engage with consumers.